Groom & Groomsmen
Everything You Need to Know About Tie Bars
The wonderful folks over at The Gentlemanual are back today with another must read for any soon to be groom! Last time they helped us with that wedding attire staple, the pocket square. Well today we’re turning our attention to the tie bar. An accessory oft forgotten, but no less important (unless of course you’re wearing bow ties!) for creating a polished look for your big day…..
“Gentlemen, the tie bar, tie clip, tie clasp, tie slide–call it what you will–is your ode to style and class. You (or your bride) have already picked out the perfect tie, so why wouldn’t you take it one step further? A tie bar will not only add some refined flair, it’ll also keep your necktie out of your dinner when you’re rushing to eat between greeting guests and the first dance at your reception. And trust us, there’s so much more to that piece of metal than you think!”
Men’s tie bars date back to the days of tie chains, tie pins, and collar pins; back to the days when men’s fashion meant being authentic and classy, not ‘baller’ and ‘swagged out’; back when people communicated with sentences, not acronyms. And even before the tie bar, it’s predecessor was the tie pin. It conquered the ties of hundreds of Victorian Era gentlemen. With the introduction of the tie pin, ties could no longer fly with the wind, nor could they ruin soup dinners. The issue with said tie pins, however, was the perforated aftermath. The pins punctured neckwear, reducing their lifespan. A dapper 1900’s era gentleman acknowledged this and revolutionized the tie accessory that we know and love today. The spring-loaded tie bar was born as a solution, so that ties no longer needed to be punctured in order to be kept in check. Soon after, a more simple slide version of this bar came into existence. Even if the style of your wedding vintage, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some 21st-century technology.
Much like cufflinks, tie bars speak volumes about one’s personality. The right tie bar is ultimately the one that you feel the most comfortable and confident wearing, especially since all eyes will be on you. Whether you’re going for the classic penguin look (read: black and white) or are going a little more relaxed in your wedding getup, the tie bar will vastly improve any ensemble you’re planning to don. However, to help you along with with the ever-so-important choice, we have a couple of suggestions.
Slide and clasp bars are generally the same (when seen from the front, at least). The choice then comes down to preference.
The tie clasp operates on a hinge and essentially clips onto your tie to secure it in place. The slide bar, on the other hand, works like its namesake implies–you simply push and slide it into place. Whatever you prefer, either one gets the job done, and is sure to stay put throughout the celebration.
Then comes tie bar dimension. Do you want yours flat or, well, voluminous? A flat tie bar is for the minimalist gentleman. It shows that you are aware of your fashion sense but you do not advertise it; you are letting it speak for itself. A tie bar with dimension is for the gentleman who appreciates a second degree of detail (that is, detail on detail). Be prepared for action within your personal space–people will want to come in for a closer look.
Think of the finish on your tie bar like the finish on your car. It can be matte, semi-gloss, or gloss. A matte finish is more subtle without any sheen at all. This look is great for ceremonies that have a rustic or boho vibe. This finish will not blind anyone but it will glow with style-y goodness. Glossy or metallic finishes are more standard for tie bars. They will provide you with a classic look, much like the look of those Mad Men fellas, and who wouldn’t want to be that suave? The high gloss sheen also lends itself nicely to the opulence of a 1920s themed wedding.
There was a point in the bar’s history when colors were essentially limited. You had gold or you had silver.
Glossy silver works well with practically any tie combination. Gold, on the other hand, will certainly stand out, and thus it does not work well with all color combinations. Gold will work best against a darker blue or red hue. However, it can most definitely add a pop of flair. And of course, both colors would pair perfectly with any black tie, the eternal neckwear staple. If you’ve used a metallic as one of your wedding colors, make sure your tie bar (and the rest of your accessories) fall in line with that color scheme.
The color options for tie bars have grown in recent years as menswear is making a comeback. Colors now range from neutrals to neons and everything in between. Though these do stray from a classic look and are significantly more fashion-forward, when worn with gusto, their effect is great. Do proceed with caution, though. As the colors get more bold, their ability to complement decreases, and they will ultimately steal the show as opposed to simply adding to your overall outfit.
If you will be wearing other accessories on your wedding day, be mindful of their colors as they can potentially clash with the tie bar. If you want to play it safe, match your tie bar and cufflinks. If you’re feeling bold, go forth and pair how you will – here are some ideas!
The first rule of tie bar sizing is… well, that you don’t talk about tie bar size. No, that’s not true. There is one caveat to tie bar sizing, and that is to keep it smaller than the width of your tie. Sizes range from half an inch to three inches. Generally, skinny ties will be worn with tie bars under an inch, while wider ties will work better bars greater than an inch. Work it out visually–if the bar extends further than the tie, something is wrong.
Now that you have a color-coordinated and properly sized bar, it’s time to determine its position. There is a general area between the third and fourth button on your dress shirt that we dubbed “the sweet spot,” but if you want to get a little more specific, the sweetest spot is right below the third button. This is where the bar can truly shine in all its glory while retaining its impeccable functionality. If you position it too high, you’re basically choking your tie and losing your bar’s functionality (it will no longer work well at holding your tie in place). Too low, and you are getting into a weird asymmetric zone. Stick to the sweet spot; you’ll know when you’ve found it.
“There you have it! Everything you need to know about this dapper (and diminutive) accent. While it may not be the bar most of your guests are concerned with, this little accessory will certainly put your wedding day ensemble over the top.”
A huge thankyou to writer Jacob Sigala and the lovely peeps over at The Gentlemanual for sharing their expert knowledge on tie bars – who knew you could get so many different styles! If you loved this post, you should definitely have a look of their top style tips for a dapper groom, or for more Groom & Groomsmen inspiration click here.
And be sure to check back here for more from The Gentlemanual. Next up, those all important accessories for any vintage loving groom – suspenders!