Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tie Bar

If you wear a tie often, you know that that they face many‘hazards’: soup, sauce, dressing,  low candles on a table or buffet, just to name a few.
You also know that every time you stand up to shake someone’s hand you have to ‘smooth’ it into your jacket or it will “flap” around. And of course the ever irritating pick-a-boo game that the skinny part of the tie plays with you.
The solution is as old as the tie wearing fashion itself (late 17th century). A tie clip, also known as a tie bar or a tie clasp or a tie slide. 
It clips horizontally across the tie and holds the two parts together and to your shirt.  
During the late 1800's men affixed their ties ( known then as a cravat) with a pin or tie stick, a very elegant solution but one the requires puncturing your tie. While I would not recommend puncturing a tie you liked, a knit tie will sustain minimal damage and the tie pin may look great with it.  Also, on a ascot (a wide tie worn for a wedding or a very formal affair) a tie pin is the only way to affix the tie to your shit.

Beginning in the 1930’s tie clips became an important part of dressing up in corporate America and very prominent (still) in the political world.  They became a kind of identity badge. Showing off your company or beliefs. President’s  (up through Clinton and Bush W ) gave them as fancy “campaign buttons”.  

A quick browsing at the latest fashion magazines or runways shows that the tie clip  is “back”!
As we are emerging from a casual decade and embracing well-made, tailored stylized garments, men have become more aware of their appearance, are paying much more attention to details and are using fashion to convey a personal style and personality.
The tie clip is an essential part of that. It puts a finishing touch on an outfit that evokes an era previously thought gone by.

Two questions come up frequently when talking about a tie clip;
1.    should it cover the full length of the tie ( skinny or wide)
2.    where should it be worn?
The truth is that some men like their tie clip to go across the entire tie and some like it to just clasp one side; there are no hard and fast rules to this.
As to how high to wear it, it should be worn halfway between the line of your belt and the end point of your collar.
Also it is important to match hardware, that is, a silver belt buckle should be worn with a silver tie bar and a silver watch etc…

The best tie clips at the moment can be found in wide variety at Their products have been featured in countless fashion editorials and magazines. 
At the very affordable price of $15, treat yourself to a selection of tie clips with different styles, finishes, and lengths. I particularly like the ‘silver shot’ in a 1.5 inch and 2 inch and the standard gold one.  Of course ruffling through vintage and antique shops  can also yield some great finds...

Paul Smith stores often offer some vintage pieces, costing usually around $45.

And if you want splurge, Tiffany’s offers a beautifully marked tie clip in sterling silver called 183 for $85. Just be sure to wear this one with standard silk or woven ties because if the tie is too thick it will stretch the clip.

I'll end with some verses from T.S Eliot’s “Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock” as the tie pin mentioned there evokes a certain style and confidence that i like…
Keep Shopping I

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).  Prufrock and Other Observations.  1917.

1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo…

…And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse….

1 comment:

  1. "While a tie holder is by no means required businesswear, it adds to a clean, neat overall appearance. But the accessory shouldn't dominate the tie. Choose a simple gold bar or a small clip and place it at the lower end of the tie at a downward forty-five-degree angle."