Written by Wesley Kang
Whether you're dressing up for a formal event, a job interview, or a special occasion, a tie clip can be that subtle yet powerful accessory that takes your outfit to the next level. However, the seemingly simple act of placing a tie clip can be more intricate than you might think. To ensure you make a style statement while maintaining a professional and polished appearance, this article will guide you through the art of tie clip placement. The tie clip is like a more modern (and more casual) version of the tie pin. In this article, we'll explore the possibilities of tie clips and how to wear them. Be sure to check out our other guide on best men's ties.
The History of the Tie Clip
While the tie clip is now a popular accessory in modern men's fashion, its history dates back to the early 20th century. The tie clip, also known as a tie bar or tie slide, was born out of the necessity to keep neckties neatly in place while adding a touch of sophistication to men's attire.
The tie clip first gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. During this period, neckties were becoming narrower, and the traditional tie pin, which punctured the tie and the dress shirt, was no longer a viable option. Fashion-conscious gentlemen sought a more practical and less damaging solution to keep their ties in place.
Understanding Tie Clips
Before diving into the details of tie clip placement, let's understand what a tie clip is and why it's worth the investment. A tie clip, also known as a tie bar or tie slide, is a small, decorative accessory designed to hold your tie in place by fastening it to your dress shirt.
Apart from their practical purpose, tie clips add a touch of elegance, enhancing your overall appearance. In modern fashion, the tie bar is used as an accessory and comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, lengths, and designs. Tie bars are often seen with a skinny tie, but can be worn with any type of necktie.
The Proper Placement of a Tie Clip
Choosing the appropriate length of your tie clip is crucial for a well-balanced look. Ideally, the tie clip should be around three-fourths the width of your tie. A clip that's too short or too long can throw off the visual balance, so be mindful of the dimensions.
When in doubt, it's better for the tie bar to be short, rather than too long. Remember, NEVER have a tie bar that exceeds the width of your tie—this is considered a fashion faux pas.
The next step is positioning the tie clip correctly. It should be secured between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt. This ensures that the tie stays in place and prevents it from swinging around, which can be distracting and untidy. For a quick and fast rule, imagine placing the tie bar in the middle of your chest.
Parallel to the Tie Knot
To achieve a polished appearance, the tie clip should always be parallel to the tie knot. Align the tie clip carefully with the knot to maintain a sharp and sophisticated look. The tie bar should act as an accent piece, but if the clip is misaligned, then it could look unprofessional or untidy.
This is our favorite solid matte black tie bar from Nimble Made.
Straighten the Tie Bar
Similar to tie bars, your tie should also be straight before you lock it in place with a tie bar. Before clipping your tie in place, ensure it is straight and properly aligned. A crooked tie will not only look disheveled but also impact the overall effect of the tie clip.
Avoid Clipping too Tight
While securing your tie with a clip is essential, avoid fastening it too tightly. Doing so may create unattractive creases in your tie and restrict movement, making it uncomfortable to wear.
Complementing Your Outfit
Consider the color and design of your tie clip in relation to your outfit. Wear tie clips that complement your tie and shirt, adding a touch of sophistication without overpowering the ensemble. Be careful not to mismatch tie bars that may not be appropriate for the occasion. When in doubt, wear this classic black and gold tie clip with a solid navy blue tie.
Tie Bar and Suit Jacket
When wearing a jacket or a blazer, the tie clip should be placed between the third and fourth buttons of your white dress shirt, as mentioned earlier. However, the jacket should never cover the tie clip entirely; it should be slightly visible to maintain the overall aesthetics.
Also, it's important to note that if you are wearing a 3-piece suit, meaning you're also wearing a vest, generally you should not be wearing a tie bar. The vest will already act as a utility item for securing your tie and adding a tie bar on top of that can be distracting and redundant. Only wear a tie bar if you are not also wearing a vest.
This is our favorite collection men's ties to select from when pairing with your tie bar.
Tie Bars and Tie Width
It's essential to match the width of your tie clip with the width of your tie. A wider tie requires a broader tie clip, while a slimmer tie demands a narrower clip.
Wear a tie bar that matches the width and style of your tie. It's important to also consider the design and colors of your tie. This may seem obvious, but not every tie bar is suited for every tie. For example, a skinny tie would likely be too narrow for some tie bars. Avoid having your tie bar exceed the width of your tie.
Formal vs. Casual Tie Bars
The style of tie clip you choose should be in sync with the occasion. For business professional events, opt for classic, understated designs, while you can experiment with more playful styles for casual gatherings. Tie clips serve as an accessory and in more casual settings, you can find modern tie bars in non-traditional shapes, like animals.
- Tie Clip and Body Type: Believe it or not, your body type can influence the tie clip placement. For taller individuals, positioning the clip slightly higher can create a more balanced look.
- Maintaining the Tie Clip: To ensure your tie clip lasts for a long time, store it properly and clean it regularly. Avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals or moisture, as this can cause damage.
- The Versatility of Tie Clips: Tie clips can be used for more than just securing your tie. You can also use them on scarves or pocket squares to add a touch of flair to your outfit.
- When to Avoid Tie Clips: While tie clips are versatile accessories, there are specific occasions when you should refrain from wearing them, such as informal gatherings, funerals, or events with strict dress codes that require no accessories.
- Tie Clips as Gifts: Tie clips make excellent gifts for men who appreciate style and refinement. When selecting a tie clip as a gift, consider the recipient's personal taste and style preferences.
- Elevating Your Style: In conclusion, mastering the art of tie clip placement can elevate your style and make you stand out in a crowd.
Frequently asked questions about proper tie clip placement
Where should a tie clip be placed on a tie?
The tie clip should be placed between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt and clipped onto both the tie and your shirt placket. Another way to remember is that the tie clip should generally clip where the middle of your chest is.
Are tie clips fashionable?
Tie clips are a great way to express your fashion sense since they come in a variety of sizes, colors, materials, and designs! Be sure to match your tie bar to the occasion. Don't wear a tie bar that is too casual for the occasion.
Where does tie clip go with vest?
If you are wearing a vest, don't wear a tie clip. Usually, the vest is already serving the function of the tie clip, by keeping the tie in place. If you also wear a tie clip, you may convey that you don't know fashion rules.
How low should a tie hang?
A tie should end right where your belt begins. If you wear a tie at an improper length, it can look very unprofessional. Be sure to tie your tie in the correct way and adjust it to the right length.