The tie clip has become one of my favorite accessories. Well, ties are probably my favorite accessory, and a tie clip just helps a good tie pack and even more potent punch (you’re welcome for that alliteration). It drives me crazy when my ties don’t hang straight or follow my placket just right (yep, I’m a bit OCD), and short of a vest or a cardigan (in which case a tie clip is just superfluous) a tie clip is the solution to keeping your neckwear in place. Additionally, the wide variety of colors, textures and lengths available today (I’m looking at you, TheTieBar.com) give the tie clip the versatility to dress-up or dress-down any outfit according to your needs.
BUT, as with most tools of the sartorial trade, a tie clip only works well when worn correctly. I mentioned in my previous post how much it bugs me that Pete Campbell wears his tie clip so ridiculously low on Mad Men (now, that may just be an accurate representation of 60’s style, but in todays day and age I think it makes a classy piece look silly). Same as finding the right tie length, this pet peeve of mine is just exacerbated by the fact that this is so easy to get right!
So what’s the trick? Find a balance between style and functionality and you’ll be all set. This means wearing your clip high enough that it looks fashionable, but low enough that it is actually serving a purpose. There are a few easy guidelines to follow. If you are wearing a blazer or jacket, you want to position your clip as low as you can before it begins to be obscured by your lapels.
Without a jacket, just pick a good spot between the third and fourth buttons of your shirt.
You do have a little flexibility, and I tend to exercise this based on my activity. If I’m rolling my sleeves up and moving around, I put it a tad lower to hold the tie in place a bit better. If I’m just sitting at my desk, I’ll cinch that bad boy up a few centimeters to accentuate the stylish aspect of the piece.
The only other solid rule is to NEVER wear a tie clip wider than your tie. Beyond that, feel free to experiment and find out what fits your style. I find that wider tie clips look a bit more formal, where a short (and potentially colorful) one inch clip adds some casual pizzazz. Likewise, shiny silver or gold clips = more formal, while matte and colored clips lend to casual. Remember to not only clip both ends of your tie but also the placket of your shirt (I always thought this was pretty intuitive, but I see so many other bloggers pointing this out that I guess it must be an issue). I wear my clips straight across, but other people set theirs at an angle, and really it’s a matter of personal preference. So go forth and clip!