A Beginner’s Guide to Unconventional Ties and Accessories – Everything You Need to Know


When you’re just starting to branch out from the classic tie, it might be hard to know what you’re doing. The first time I wore a tie clip, I felt like I was wearing a huge sign on my forehead that said “look at me!” But with practice, it gets easier. Here are some tips to make tie accessories work for you – from tie pins to bolo ties.

Tie Clips, Tie Bars, and Tie Pins

tie clip tie bar tie pin tie accessories comparison image

Tie Clip

Tie clips open like a jaw on a spring. The jaws are meant to close around the tie and the shirt to secure them together. They serve a practical purpose, but they can also be decorative. Basic tie clips are flat and rectangular, but they also come in a variety of decorated styles. You can find tie clips shaped like cars, your country’s flag, or any other design imaginable.

Tie Bar

Tie bars, also called tie slides, slide over the tie and shirt to help secure the tie to the shirt. This keeps it from slipping.

Tie Pin

Similar to tie clips and bars, tie pins are made of a t-bar, chain, and fastener. A lot of men prefer wearing tie pins because they’re usually more discreet, so they serve as a subtle accent. 

How to Choose and Wear Your First Tie Accessory

  1. Color of your Tie Clip
Gold Tie clip silver tie clip and black tie clip how to wear a tie clip mens accessories

I recommend starting with the basics before you branch out too far. Start with silver and gold tie accessories first; they’re easiest to match with other clothes. After you have the basics, you can branch out into light and dark colors to add dimension to your look. But your neutral-color and metallic clips will probably get the most use, since they’ll go with most outfits.

     2. Material of your Tie Clip
different material of tie clip for mens accessories

 

Most tie accessories are made of metal, but you’ll also be able to find more elaborate selections made of wood, fabric, gemstones, pearls, enamel, plastic, resin, and even glass.

   3. The correct size of your Tie Clip

how to wear a tie clip the correct size to wear it

Your tie clip should never be wider than your tie. If you wear a skinny tie, you’ll need a smaller tie clip. They’re not one-size-fits-all. Always wear your tie clip perpendicular to the tie, between the third and fourth buttons on your dress shirt.

 

Other Tie Accessories 

  • Bolo Ties

4 types of bolo ties how to wear a bolo tie guide
What’s a bolo tie?

Bolo ties are strongly associated with the country-Western style. They’re a piece of cord or braided leather, metal-tipped on the ends, with a decorative slide or clasp holding it together at the throat. 

Are bolo ties formalwear?

Wearing a bolo tie to a formal event will make you stand out from the crowd. They’re quite popular, but don’t often show up in formalwear. 

Reasons to incorporate bolo ties in your formalwear

If you’re a fan of the classic American Western look, a classic bolo tie is a no-brainer. But bolo ties can add variety and an eye-catching detail to a boho or alternative outfit. Because bolo ties aren’t classic formalwear, you have a lot of freedom to experiment. They’re also more laidback and offbeat than traditional ties.

How to wear a bolo tie

how to wear a bolo tie step by step

Bolo ties are easy to wear, which is another one of their assets. Wrap the cord around your neck and tuck it under your collar, just like you would with a traditional tie. Then tighten the clasp to a comfortable fit at your throat. If you’re going for a more relaxed look, you can keep it a little loose.

Types of Bolo Ties

Classic bolo ties are generally simple, with a reserved color palette and minimal decoration on the clasp. They’re intrinsically a casual accessory, so they can be used to dress up a casual outfit or dress down a more formal one.

tie accessories 4 different types of bolo ties designs

There are plenty of alternative bolo ties out there. Some have huge statement clasps, others have braided and elaborate cords. They’re a great way to play with classic styles and make a splash with your outfit. If you’re a fan of the offbeat, an out-there bolo tie can be the perfect thing to finish an outfit. 

Bow Ties

bolo ties for mens tie accessories different colors and design of bolo ties

When should you wear a bow tie?

Bow ties are a perfect alternative to classic ties because you can dress them up or down. I probably wouldn’t wear a bow tie to a Board meeting, but in most other situations that call for a tie, you can easily swap out a regular one for a bow tie. They add a bit of playfulness and style to a look. Just make sure you tie yours immaculately and symmetrically. A bow tie will always stand out, so you want your look to be spotless.

Different styles of bow tie

james bond style bow tie

The most obvious way to wear a bow tie is the classic James Bond style – narrow, black, and simple. This gives a sleek, timeless look. If you’re not dressing for a black-tie affair (but still a formal one), you can branch out into different colors for a classic look that’s a little bit more relaxed, but still fits the occasion.

casual style outfit with bolo tie as mens accessory

But bow ties are also a perfect option for more casual occasions like an outdoor wedding. In that kind of setting, you can play with print, color, and tie your tie a little wider to make a bit more of a statement.

 

Different colors of bow tie
multiple color of bow ties for mens tie accessories

Of course, there are as many colors of bow tie as there are fabrics in the world, but as with any accessory, I recommend starting with three basics: black, white, and the staple color of your wardrobe. Having all three options will let you stay ready for any kind of occasion at a moment’s notice.

 

basic color of bow ties black white and dark blue bow tie for mens tie accessories

 

Ties get a bad rap for being boring and stuffy. But if you accessorize right and plan your wardrobe with enough variety, you can dress for any occasion without falling into the monotonous “tie and suit jacket” combo. It all comes down to finding options that work well with your personality, your wardrobe, and the types of occasions you usually find yourself at.

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