The tie bar has been a staple in men’s fashion for many years, but has recently seen a revival due to the popularity of classical styles. Wearing one can have a big impact on your outfit, and elevate it to another level. However, it is easy to wear them wrong, and this can have the opposite effect. This article is designed to help you know how to wear a tie bar correctly, and the right sort of outfits to pair it with.
How to Wear a Tie Bar
What is the purpose of a tie bar?
A tie bar is more than just a stylish accessory. Its primary purpose is to hold your tie down so it doesn’t blow around in the wind. This might seem obvious, but an all too common mistake is for people to just clip it to their tie, which is then still free to flap around. It’s designed to be fastened to the placket of your shirt (the double layer of fabric that holds your buttons in place).
Tie bars come in two types: pinch clasps and slide clasps. Pinch clasps do a better job generally because they hold a tie in place more securely. They’re also better suited for heavier fabrics such as wool and silk, mainly because they have more weight behind them. A slide clasp is more appropriate for skinny ties, as pinch clasps are bulkier and so would show up more.
How to wear a tie bar properly
As mentioned, a tie bar is designed to fix your tie to the placket of your shirt. When you clasp it on, make sure you attach both the thick and thin parts of your tie to your shirt; otherwise the tie bar isn’t doing its job properly. It should be worn perpendicular to your tie, and never at an angle. If it does get tugged out of place during the day be sure to put it straight. This attention to detail makes all the difference.
As a general rule, a tie bar is worn between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt. It should be attached around the level of your sternum, and just below your pectoral muscles. If it’s too high it’ll look odd, and if it’s too low it likely won’t hold your tie in place properly.
Make sure you pull your tie up just a little bit before you clip it in place. Not so much that it starts to look more like a cravat, but just enough to allow you to continue moving around. Restricting yourself with a tie bar definitely isn’t a cool look.
As with any other metal accessories, gold is better with warmer colors (tweed, burgundy, creams, reds, etc.), and silver is better with colder colors (grays, black, etc.). However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and how your coordinate colors is down to your own personal preference. For example, a navy suit/burgundy tie combination can be taken to another level with a simple gold tie bar and coordinated accessories.
The most important rule to remember is that a tie bar should never be wider than the tie it’s holding in place. This is a very common mistake, and one that makes it obvious that you’re new to the world of tie bars. Around ¾ of the width of your tie is an ideal size, and usually accepted as the standard. If you prefer to wear skinny ties bear this in mind when you go to buy one; most tie bars are designed for thicker, more traditional sized ties.
When to wear a tie bar
Although a tie bar smartens up any outfit, it can be worn with more casual looks. It’s ideal if you’re choosing not to wear a blazer, or are going for a more laid-back shirt and jeans look. These kinds of outfits are crying out for something to hold your tie in place, and if everything else is relatively neutral in color it can be a great chance to go for a more vibrant tie bar.
When not to wear a tie bar
You might jump at the chance to wear a tie bar at every opportunity, but make sure you don’t overdo it. As its purpose is to hold your tie in place, you don’t need one if you’re wearing a “middle layer” to your suit, such as a waistcoat, cardigan, sweater vest, jumper, etc. Not only is your tie already held in place, you likely wouldn’t be able to see it either.
The most important things to remember with a tie bar is correct placement, and to make sure it’s actually holding your tie in place. A rookie mistake with tie bars is to attach it to the tie and not to the shirt, and then it serves no purpose at all. Once you’ve figured out your look it can help to buy several different tie bars, as they can be varied in the same way as other functional accessories. Bear in mind not to overdo it with the statement accessories though, this can instantly ruin an otherwise stylish outfit.