My first experience with tie bars was seeing some corporate Don Juan wear one with an undimpled skinny pink tie as he caressed my face. I was of course very uncomfortable with my dad’s best friend pinching my cheek like that as a chubby four-year-old.

Tie bars are a functional American invention that came around the turn of the 20th century to keep a four-in-hand at bay during a gale, cyclone, or mildly windy days. They were also popular as clasping the tie to the shirt front promotes the natural arch in the necktie by keeping it held up, producing a seemingly larger chest and thus a more masculine appearance.

_MG_2892Nowadays that thinner ties are back in, tie bars are considered not just a functional item, but also a piece of understated jewellery. Despite their simple mechanics, their extreme popularity has produced rather nasty results. Who knew that a such pesky tiny piece of metal could cause so much commotion and discord? (Spoiler: I did.)

_MG_2880In order to produce the most complimentary results from wearing a tie bar, the general gist of vectors should be understood. The reason why European/Neapolitan/British tailoring is generally favoured over large, baggy American sack suiting nowadays is because of its masculine silhouette; the chest being emphasised by either padded shoulders, a properly tapered waist, or both at the same time. Vectors should generally follow this masculine silhouette, pointing towards the fulcrum of a buttoned-up jacket. So to put it straight (or not really) tie bars should be worn crooked.

A crooked tie bar also carries an air of “sprezzatura”, an Italian word which translates to nonchalance. It basically says to the world, “I dress well but ultimately don’t give a shit” but in a more gentlemanly tone. After all a man who cares too much about what he wears probably cares too little about you.

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I’ve had people come up to me and try to straighten my tie bar, thinking that they’ve saved another man from looking like a slob. While perhaps they did it with the kindest of intentions, I unfortunately “don’t give a shit”.

Please, no more touchy feely.

 

(Photos by: Tanjim Islam)