• SumoMe

Ever lean forward while you are eating and get food on your tie? Ever go outside and have your tie flap around like a dog ear? Ever feel like just another guy in a tie, where you’re lost in a crowd? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must not know how simple the problem is to solve.

Two words: tie clip. A tie clip is a (usually metal) accessory men have used for ages. While there are many styles and shapes of the tie clip, they all serve the same function―to prevent your tie from going nuts. They keep your tie from leaving your chest when you lean forward, they prevent the wind from taking over, and they add a unique little sliver of metal that will surely cause people to notice how well put together you are.

Having a tie clip is one thing, but knowing how to wear it takes skill in the art of subtlety. There are a few golden rules for tie clips that, once learned, will turn your everyday tie outfit into James Bond weekend wear.

Top: Yes. Bottom: No.

1. The tie clip should never be longer than your tie is wide.

The most important rule is never have your clip poking out into no-man’s land longer than the edge of your tie. This will ruin the lines of your suit, and will look clumsy, rather than suave. Having a clip that is shorter than the width of your tie is perfectly fine, and in most cases looks great. Shorter clips won’t chop your tie in half, and they preserve the lines of the suit. Maintaining these principles will make your suit look whole.

2. If possible, don’t mix metals.

Similar to the rule with leathers (don’t use black and brown leather together), you don’t want to mix metals with your clip. If you are wearing a gold watch or a gold bracelet/necklace, you probably want a gold tie clip to maintain the flow. Mixing metals, again, will prevent the suit from looking whole, and will rather look like a hodge-podge mix of menswear. The only exception to this is your wedding ring. This is the case because your wedding ring is so small that it won’t throw off the eye, and because there’s really no changing the ring out―choosing a gold wedding ring shouldn’t prevent you from wearing silver the rest of your life!

3. Avoid overly-ornate tie clips.

The key here is subtlety. If you walk in a room with a tie clip with a huge picture of a baseball or a sports team logo, your tie clip will look like a novelty item and will often distract those who you present yourself to. When in doubt, go for less: less metal, less design, and less distraction. The tie clip serves mainly a functional purpose, and any stylistic purpose should always come secondary. As such, you don’t want the judge zoning out in your closing argument because he or she can’t avoid staring at Mickey Mouse on your tie clip, or you don’t want someone lowballing you on a deal because they don’t take you seriously because of your tie clip. Avoid these problems and just go subtle.

4. Place the clip higher when you’ve got a jacket, and lower when you don’t.

This is the last and least important piece of advice for tie clips. The whole purpose for this is for the look. I prefer to have a little bit of metal showing inside my jacket at all times. For that reason, I bring up the tie clip closer to the knot when I have a jacket on. Other than look, there’s no real reason to do this. However, the positioning of your tie clip will depend on how much tie flops around; the closer the tie clip is to the knot, the more tie you’ll have freed up. Inversely, move the clip down to keep the tie closer to your chest.

If you can remember these four simple rules you will soon master the subtle art of wearing a tie clip which will result in great functional and style advantages that will have people taking notice to your tie―in a great way.

Do you have any experience wearing tie clips? When and how do you prefer to wear them? Spread your knowledge in the comments below.