How do you wear a tie bar? When I say how to wear a tie bar or tie clip, I am not referring to styles, to which there are literally thousands upon thousands, or to what length to wear with which tie. Though I am very passionate about all the matters of tie bar selection, I'm not going to be addressing the many simple but important style considerations you must make to ensure your tie bar is complimenting your outfit and not doing it a disservice. All of these are of utmost importance when it comes to the full scope of tie bar selection, but there is one thing that, when done wrong, you not only run the risk of turning the most dapper outfit your mind and closet can muster into a dumpster fire, you will also look like a complete amateur.
Harsh words I know, and maybe it is just my pet peevish opinion taking over and making this sound worse than most people feel it is, and hey, that’s just fine… but one thing I know is that those in the know will automatically see what’s wrong and discredit all your hard work. No matter the effort put into the outfit, those who are outside of the dapper fashion world may not be able to point out what is wrong but they will know something is just not right. So what is this knowledge that is powerful enough to stir such distasteful human emotion? Before I let you in on the secret let’s look at a little basic history behind the tie bar, so you can understand why it is what it is when the answer is revealed.


In the 1870’s when long ties had begun to show their beautiful faces, along with front button shirts, the tie bar’s predecessor, the tie clip, was more than sufficient at securing the heavier material that was popular for tie construction at that time. However, by the 1920's tie materials had become much more delicate and prone to damage by the repeated stick that is necessary with the use of the tie pin. The tie clip, and later the tie bar, came into popularity due to the higher level of stability and damage free application.
It's important to note that, up until the 1970’s, most men both in the “professional” and even labor fields of work wore ties. Imagine factory workers, and mechanics wearing ties around dangerous moving parts. While OSHA would put a swift end to that today, our forefathers of fashion did not appear to have the same safety oriented mindset that we have in our modern time. Another thing to consider is, having no cell phones, any man that had the luxury of owning an automobile had the great privilege of doing his own roadside repairs when breakdowns and flats took place. As you can see there was a great need for the tie clip or tie bar. Without it you may have found yourself in a wrestling match with the engine of a '34 Pontiac that you were most likely going to lose.


So what is it then? What is so important that it could ruin even the most fire of outfits? One word… placement. Placement is everything. As we saw historically, placement was of utmost importance for safety reasons. Too high and the tie bar is rendered completely useless. Too low and you ran the risk of the center bowing and catching on something.
In our modern times we are far less likely to be put in these type of situations. Personally, I remove my tie on the rare occasion that I find myself around moving parts while wearing clothes that I don't want ruined. Still placement is important, and can make or break any look. Too high and it still defeats the purpose of the accessory. Too low and it just looks awkward. We are looking for the area between the middle and bottom of the center chest bone known as the sternum.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you will be wearing a jacket. If you are, then go higher. Higher is also said to give a slimming look while lower is more true to the classic or vintage style. Now the exact placement is completely up to you, but these are the steps to finding the perfect spot.
- Starting from the top of the shirt, count to the 3rd button. Decide where in between the 3rd and 4th button you would like to place the tie bar.

- Secure the tie with your left thumb on the tie and index finger inside of the shirt button seam in a straight vertical fashion.

- With your right hand, open the tie bar and slide it straight across horizontally until the tie material is touching the most inside portion of the tie bar.

- Using a mirror for reference, grab the tie bar and shirt and pull the top of the tie up slightly. This can give the illusion of a more prominent chest.

- Do one last mirror check to fix up anything you don’t like.

While the tie bar is a small component in the overall scheme of an outfit, its placement can make or break the higher class image that is associated with more formal attire. Trust me on this, I was once the guy that knew virtually nothing about dapper fashion. I wore the strangest clothes and at one point only had black basketball shorts and white V neck t-shirts. By the grace of God I grew up, matured and wanted my style to match. So, I did the research. I found what I like and what looks good on me. I pray you are able to turn this little piece of knowledge into style wisdom that will serve you for years to come in your own quest to "always be reforming".


Creed is a Barber and a Co-Founder of Reformed Man as well as a worship leader at Community Baptist Church in Victoria, Tx. He and his wife have been married for ten years and have three children.