Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hit the Bar: Tie Bars and How to Wear Them

If you're knotting up for any occasion, I highly recommend that you dress up your tie a bit. You may have used a tie pin before, and while there are many fine tie pins on the market, a tie bar is an undeniably more sophisticated look than the pin.  The bar is both functional and aesthetic, holding your tie back from flying all over the place but also breaking up the silhouette of your tie.  Today I'd like to give you some recommendations on what kind of tie bar you should buy and how you should wear it.

Keep it Simple, Stupid

There are thousands of tie bars on the market, plenty of them having embellishments from sports team logos to diamonds.  I recommend keeping yours fairly toned down.  That doesn't mean you can't get something to set your tie bar apart from others, there are a great variety of tie bars with different finishes, subtle striping, textures and so on.  Bottom line is that you should look for something that won't overpower your tie.

Calvin Klein Skinny Tie with Tie Bar

Bigger isn't Always Better

One tie bar isn't going to work for every tie in your ensemble, sorry it's just not going to happen.  Get one too short and you're going to look you misused a paper clip, too long and it will look like you put your pen on your tie.  I like to think that a tie bar should extend across your tie anywhere from halfway to 3/4 of the width of the tie where you are clipping it.  For skinny ties, a one inch tie bar will be perfect for most situations.  For standard width ties, I would recommend getting out to 2 inches.  See below how Jake Gyllenhaal rocks the one inch tie bar perfectly with a skinny tie.

Jake Gyllenhaal on GQ's May 2010 Cover

Where to Wear It

There really is no standard in my opinion of where to put your tie bar, but Glenn O'Brien from GQ has put it best: "Think of it as the needle on a meter or the mercury in a thermometer. Imagine the tie knot as the top of the scale, which we shall call 'ridiculous,' and the bottom of the tie as the bottom of the scale, which we shall call 'stolid.' Measure bar wearers accordingly."  I don't think much more needs to be said here.  With that, clink on the link below and head to to get your next tie bar, they have great stuff and most of it is reasonably priced.

Feel free to experiment with different colors on your tie bars. Silver will be the most versatile choice, but you can find gold, black or white tie bars that will work with select colors and patterns. Even some bolder colors might be appropriate if you're looking to make a splash, just keep in mind that you don't want the tie bar to overpower the rest of your ensemble. Are you already wearing a tie bar? Do you have one that you love? Let me know!

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.


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