(Inspired by a post on my company's blog at Hendricks Park. Click here to see the original article: Tie Bars, Tie Clips - All You Need to Know)
Want a quick way to step it up a notch? Wear a tie bar. (a.k.a.: Tie clip. Pin? Tack?)
In April, the LA Times suggested the tie bar is enjoying a new “renaissance” in men's style. I give this two big thumbs up, as this is one of the easiest ways for men to instantly take their appearance from "yawn" to "yowza." But why are there so many names for these objects — and what's the difference?
Here are the answers to what tie bars are and why you’ll love them. And if you’re a business traveler, like easy ways to "step it up," or have suddenly become Mr. Popular Wedding-Invitation-Guy... you may want to bookmark this post.
Tie Bar, Tie Clip, Tie Pin and Tie Tack... What's the difference?
While minor distinctions exist, these words are used interchangeably today for two main types of tie hardware:
Tie Bar / Tie Clip (Sometimes called “Tie pin”): Clips the entire tie to the underlying shirt, to hold everything neatly in place. A "clip" opens like a jaw, while a "bar" simply slides over the tie and shirt.
- Functional Style: Holds your tie neatly in place and prevents it from swinging around. (Excellent for business travelers and men who live in windy cities.)
- Instant Polish: Adds personality, class and sophistication to your look. Plus, not as many men wear tie bars today, giving you an easy way to stand out.
- Formal affairs: Helps shape a tie for added height and decorum (See this image from a previous post for a great example.)
When to Wear
- Tie Bar / Clip:
Great for adding polish to business and formal affairs — or anytime you want to step it up. (Easy extra points at work.) Also excellent when traveling for business, to hold things neatly in place amidst mad airport dashes and taxi hailing.
- Tie Pin / Tack:
Best of formal and/or celebrational events (ie: weddings, opening ceremonies, etc.).
How to Wear
Proper placement is key.
If wearing a vest, place the tie bar in the upper third of the tie (generally between the 3rd and 4th button of your shirt). Otherwise, you can position the ba r about 2/3 of the way down — though the modern look is to keep it in the upper third. (This makes you look taller and slimmer.)
- Tall men: Opt for a lower placement (2/3 of the way down) for a more balanced look.
- Style: Choose tie bars and clips that cover no more than 3/4 of the width of your tie. (It’s an accent; not a roller coaster safety mechanism.)
- Add Color: If your suit, shirt and tie are gray, white and black, your personality appears equally colorless. Mix in some color (ie: blue shirt or a red tie) to breathe life back into your appearance.
3 Notes of Caution
- Tie tacks permanently pierce the tie and leave a visible hole, so only wear with ties you only plan to continue wearing with a tack each time.
- If you affix a tie tack improperly, you’ll end up with a “tie tacky.” Be sure you know what you’re doing. (See royal wedding image for reference.)
- Never wear a tie bar with a chain... unless you like the nickname “Grandpa."
Whatever you call your tie-hardware, adding polish to your look doesn't get much easier than this. Enjoy!
Lisa, co-Founder and CEO, Hendricks Park