Men’s accessory choices are limited, but those that are acceptable can make or break an outfit. In the world of menswear, an accessory is a standout that is simple but makes a big impression. Case in point: the tie bar. It’s one of the smallest accessories in your arsenal, and it can be the trickiest to get right. The tie bar has been picking up steam in recent years, most likely due to the return of the gentlemanly suit. Here is your Cheat Sheet guide to mastering the oh-so-elegant tie bar.
Purpose of the tie bar
Besides being a small statement piece, the tie bar serves as more than just a visual purpose. The main function of the tie bar is to keep your tie in place. It should be fastened to both the placket of your shirt and, of course, your tie. This way, no matter what happens throughout your day, your tie will stay in place and you won’t have to worry about it getting in your food or unexpectedly smacking you in the face.
Style and size
According to He Spoke Style, tie bars come in two styles: pinch clasp and slide clasp. Brian Sacawa of He Spoke Style recommends a pinch clasp as it holds the tie more securely and stays in place better. “However, if you have a thin tie, a slide clasp may be more appropriate as many pinch clasps are made to secure thicker fabrics and may not lay flat in that situation, making the clasp visible,” Sacawa says. As for the size, your tie bar should never be wider than your tie. The ideal size ranges between 1 inch and the width of your tie, but ¾ the width of the tie is suggested.
When it comes to the color of the tie bar, you can’t go wrong with silver, as it’s not only a classic but it matches almost everything and looks great on almost every man. That said, if gold is your thing, and you’re into wearing gold accessories, wear it. Just make sure all your metals match, especially if you’re wearing a watch or bracelet. Avoid colorful or wooden tie bars, Sacawa warns. It should be an accent to your outfit, not the topic of conversation.
Placement is key
Men’s Fitness instructs that the tie bar should be placed between the third and fourth shirt button, just below your pecs. Never place it too high or too low. When fastening the tie bar, make sure to pull your tie upward to blouse it slightly. Doing this adds a bit of depth and visual appeal and keeps you from feeling constricted, Sacawa says. The tie clip should always sit perpendicular to you tie, never at an angle.
When and how to wear it
After reading this, you’re probably excited to wear a tie bar whenever the occasion calls for a tie, but hold on just one second — they shouldn’t be worn everywhere. “Tie bars should be reserved for both fun and formal,” says style blogger Chris Law to Men’s Fitness. Think of them as a savvy addition for both work and fun formal events. Tie bars tend to look better with slimmer ties, and they look great with a colorful or printed tie or even with a Repp stripe.