I was recently at a wedding and noticed a nicely dressed chap. The suit was properly tailored, wearing a nice set of brogues, elegant pocket square and a great silver tie bar. I thought to myself, this is a guy who gets it. Later on I noticed that his tie was moving about rather freely, and I went in for a closer look. A tie bar is actually the easiest accessory to wear, but a lot of elements come in to play for it to be a successful look. First and foremost, the tie bar serves a functional purpose.
A tie bar is meant to hold your tie and shirt together. Placing the tie bar into the placket of your shirt is an absolute must. Please guys, don’t forget this most important step.
Now that we have gotten that detail out of the way, what next?
How wide do I go?
There are traditionalists and style of the Mad Men era that wear a tie bar that matches the width of your tie. But, for a modern/fresher approach, choose a tie bar that lands between ½ and ¾ of the width of your tie. Lastly, for the love of all that is fashionable, NEVER choose a tie bar that goes beyond the width of your tie. Consider this the Tie Bar Golden Rule.
Where the heck does this thing go?
If your tie bar is too low or too high, you can end up looking awkward and sloppy. You sir, are neither, so get the perfect placement by placing the tie bar at the base of your sternum. (This should be between the 3rd and 4th button of your shirt.) As long as you fit within this zone, you can adjust the tie bar to your preference. The modern take is to place the tie bar higher in the zone to achieve a slimming look, while classic enthusiasts will tell you to keep the tie bar placed relatively low within the zone.
Alright, now which color?
This is really where your personal preference comes into play, as there are no right or wrong answers. If you’re confident enough to go bold, consider a tie bar with a color, pattern, novelty, or theme. A small pop of color on the tie can really elevate your look. For those with more classic tastes, a good rule to follow is to match the metal accents on your other accessories. As long as you feel confident in your selection, you have no need to worry.
Ok, now when do I wear one?
A better question should be when shouldn’t you wear one? Any time you’re sporting a tie, slap on a tie bar. Now, you’re stylish. Our only suggestion on when not to wear one would simply be to not over accessorize. I love Mr. T, I wanted to be best friends with B.A. Baracus, but an accessory icon he is not. Cufflinks, tie bar, pocket square and lapel pins all are items that indicate that you are a man who cares about details. With that said, we suggest no more than 3 of these items at once.