Here’s another update on a Dressiquette post that is now over 7 years old – Not that the ruling on where to wear your tie bar has changed but it would seem, however, that either A: No one read the original post or B: Everyone has read it but is choosing to ignore it.
Tie bars seem to be the kind of fashion accessory that never really go away – much like shoulder pads they just seem to reinvent themselves in different eras of fashion. These little accessories were quite hot a few years ago and although the trend may have died down a little they still have their time and place. Now, if you can find the time, I’ll be happy to show you the place. Literally.
With so many guys still getting their tie bars wrong, I thought it time we update this post with a simple illustrated step by step guide.
Rules like this are great, they make suiting up simple and pretty much fail-safe. Well, clearly not fail-safe I guess. In this case, it couldn’t be more cut and dried. Your shirt has buttons, make sure your tie bar sits between the 3rd and the 4th button of that shirt. It’s that simple. Kinda.
Now, to be fair, the above rule is a contemporary approach to wearing your tie bar as traditionally a tie bar was worn lower down between the 4th and 5th shirt button – So if you learned about tie bars from your Pop Pops, then all is forgiven. In all honesty, a little higher or lower, either way, won’t be a disaster. The cut of your suit, the placement of your shirt buttons or even the width of your tie will all play a part in the perfect tie bar placement. If you’re really lost, just go for somewhere around your sternum and below your pectorals muscles – if you don’t know where either of these is, maybe tie bars aren’t for you.
There are of course a few more details that you might want to know before you start sliding that tie bar between the third and fourth button.
Firstly, size matters and in this case, bigger isn’t better. Your tie bar should never exceed the length of your tie. EVER!!! No matter how badly you want to wear your Pop Pop’s antique tie bar with your new skinny tie DONT! Your tie bar should be no bigger than 70% of your tie width. The skinnier the tie, the shorter the tie bar. If you need some different lengths I’ve found The Tie Bar to have the biggest variety – It’s where 80% of my tie bars and ties are from.
Now that you have the size right, make sure you do the same with the color. If you’re going metallic then your tie bar should match all your other metal accessories: watch, cufflinks, belt buckle, etc – you can read more about matching metals here. If you want a more contemporary look, then pick a color that matches your shirt or pocket square. For a bonus look, go ‘invisible’ and pick a tie bar that matches the color of your tie… it’s very GQ!
Now, I feel like I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but keep it straight. As in perpendicular to your tie. That quirky angle you have going on doesn’t look funky it just looks sloppy.
Last but not least, don’t forget that your tie bar puts the fun into functional. That’s right. it ain’t there just to bring bling to your chest, but also to keep your tie in place. So, if you want to stop your tie smacking you in the face on a windy day or taking a lunchtime dip in your ramen make sure you attach it to the placket of your shirt! I know this seems obvious…and it should be…but I’ve seen far too many men just pointlessly attach the back and front of the tie together!
Now that you know exactly where and how to wear a tie bar, let me tell you when not to wear a tie bar. Bearing in mind that its purpose is to keep your tie from moving around so never wear it with a waistcoat or cardigan, it’s just overkill. I know this because I did it on Instagram once…and a couple of you weren’t shy to point it out… As you shouldn’t be.
Now please feel free to share this post with any gents out there who need to read it! I know there’s a lot of ’em.