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The Tie Bar Behind the Man

My husband knows how to wear a suit.  And oh, how I love him in one.

There’s just something about a man in a suit.  I swoon over Daniel Craig’s modern James Bond, Ryan Gosling on the January cover of GQ, and Don Draper in any episode of Mad Men.  This last show has spawned an obsession with 60’s fashion – the fall window displays at Banana Republic are overrun with skinny ties and pencil skirts.  While the black cigarette pant is the only women’s trend I’ve enjoyed, my husband has embraced the men’s clothing details from the show – the pocket square, the vest, and the tie bar.

And oh, how I love the tie bar.  The purpose of this little item is to secure the tie to the shirt front underneath in order to A) keep the tie straight, B) prevent the tie from slipping into a Chipotle burrito, and C) add intrigue.  Nothing is more attractive than a tailored cotton suit with a modern tie bar.  Add a vest to the mix – jacket or no jacket – and I’m smitten.  I love the itty-bitty tie bar to the right from thetiebar.com; at only 1″ wide, it looks fantastic with super-skinny ties.

Before going further, I must insist that we call it the tie bar – while it is also sometimes called a tie clip, tie pin, tie clasp, or tie slide, these lesser names belie the strength of the object and the man who wears it.  A bar is solid, simple, and unaffected; clips, pins, clasps and slides are delicate and yielding.   Said aloud these words are trite – clip!  pin!  clasp!  (nothing in men’s fashion should be pronounced with an inflection at the end).  The first object, however, wants to be said in a rich baritone – baaaar.

My favorite tie bar witnessed recently was the one worn by the father of the groom at my friends’ wedding this summer. In the last few years, my husband and I have been to the groom’s parents’ house several times.  At least once during these visits, Mr. Johnson would mention his gun collection.  Though I do not have an interest in guns, my father was also a gun collector, and so I enjoyed Mr. Johnson’s passion for the stories behind each one: precise replicas of rifles used in WWI, shotguns that had belonged to his ancestors, and small-scale pellet guns for the tiny hands of his two boys. So at his oldest son’s wedding, when he finally unbuttoned his jacket at the reception, I was delighted to see a miniature gold rifle holding his tie in place (example below – sadly I was not able to find a wedding photo of it).  It was perfect, a light-hearted wink at the end of an emotional day.

As another example of how a tie bar can be a reflection of the wit behind the man wearing it, I stumbled upon this mustache tie bar…and I may have just found my next gift for my husband.  I adore it.

The website is cheeky and fun to read.  The designers may have based the spelling of “Moustache” on stodgy British English, but their product statement is mock-serious, just like their tie bar:

“We were inspired by the magical world of moustaches and wanted to incorporate this into a stylish and functional product to save us from everyday neckwear related disasters.”

At the bottom of the website, their question widget asks “Would you wear a moustache tip clip to a fashion gala?” .  ABSOLUTELY I WOULD.  If only there were a female equivalent (of the tie bar, not the mustache).

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