Clip-On Ties: Acceptable or Tacky?
Should a Man Ever Wear a Clip-on Tie?
Clip-on ties: Not just a myth in men’s fashion, but an actual reality. Who wears them? From a sartorialist’s point of view, are they an acceptable fashion accessory? What are the benefits of these pre-tied neckties? In this brief article I am exploring the pros and cons of the pre-tied clip on neckties.
The Pros & Cons
Because I enjoy styling my neckties with different tie knots, I would never consider even wearing a clip-on tie. But there are some benefits to these pre-tied pieces. First of all, they may be considered to be more convenient since no tie a tie knowledge is needed. They always end at the same length, the knot always looks the same, and the clip-on tie attaches quickly and easily onto the collar. Another, and maybe even more important benefit is comfort and safety. Clip-on ties are not worn around the neck which reduces any risk of choking accidents when operating dangerous machinery for instance – just think about the picture of getting your necktie stuck in a paper shredder… =)
Speaking against using clip-on ties is their tacky reputation. In short, fashion and tie aficionados would never opt for a pre-tied necktie or bow tie. In fact, tying your own tie offers many benefits. First of all you can adjust the length of the tie to compliment your height and neck size. Second, tying your own tie is fun and it allows for personal styling. You can choose knots to match your shirt collar and tie design, and you can even dimple your tie knot to add more volume and a better drape. Last but not least, the selection of clip-on ties is very limited. Designer ties and brand name ties for instance are simply not available as a clip-on.
When Acceptable & When Considered a Faux Pas
Now that you have read the pros and cons of clip-on ties, you will most likely think that clip-on ties don’t have a place in a man’s wardrobe. Well, you may be surprised to hear me say that they still do! Some men are unable to tie a tie. Men that have suffered a severe stroke for instance often loose movement in their left arm, making it almost impossible to tie a necktie. Also, clip-on ties are popular in certain industries. Security companies for instance often outfit their staff with clip-on ties. They are perfect for a consistent “uniform look” (all the knots look to be tied the same), they are convenient, and most importantly they eliminate choking accidents.
Another popular event where clip-on bow ties are worn are school proms and (unfortunately so) also weddings. Although commonly worn, I suggest you don’t wear a pre-tied bow tie past the years of high school. Learn to tie your own bow tie. A self tied bow tie is instantly noticeable and a sign for a man’s good taste, sophistication, and undisputed elegance. Don’t know how to tie a bow tie? Then check out my tutorial on tying a bow tie.
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18 thoughts on “Clip-On Ties: Acceptable or Tacky?”
Yes, when you say that security companies use clip-on ties, you mention to eliminate choking accidents. The number one reason law enforcement people wear clip-on ties is to prevent an adversary from having a convenient place to grab and attempt to incapacitate you.
Thanks for the input. Much appreciated.
Yes, in a similar vein: I work in acute mental health, and the last thing you want is somebody choking you. Also, it provides a momentary surprise to the person assaulting you, as the thing comes off in their hand.
Thanks Kal for the input! Clip-on ties do serve a purpose!
Is polyester microfiber a good material for a tie or should I just go for the silk tie? I found a really low priced polyester microfiber tie, but I want to make sure that it’s not a fluke.
Thanks in advance!
Hi Sam, great question. My suggestion is to not spend more than $10 on a synthetic fabric tie. If you like the design, then give it a try! If you like the tie and the quality, then please share the source with me.
Clip on ties are great, I wear a tie every few years and majority of the time I don’t wear a tie. So they are great for me. Clip the shirt once, the event is done, the tie comes off, and I’m on my way. So they still have a place.
Since there are safety concerns about ties then why aren’t they made to break away? That should be a simple thing to do. Just cut the tie, sew the cut portion so it doesn’t fray, then attach them together as a weak link. Rarely do I have to resort to wearing a tie but if in that unfortunate predicament then it might be an option to consider. To me, ties look stupid.
Hi John, thanks for the input. That’s why certain professions/industries use clip-on ties. Sounds like you are a bit of an inventor. Maybe you are on to something with your invention… Keep me posted.
Clip on ties are a must for me for a dress up occasion like funerals, and other events when a tie is needed, because in my job I don’t need a tie. A clip on tie works for me when I need wear more formal clothes.
My husband has Alzheimer’s and tying his tie is not possible where can I get clip on ties.
Hi Carolyn, you will be surprised how often I get this question. Check out Bows-N-Ties.com – they might be able to help you. Also, if you sign up to their newsletter you will get $10 off on your first order with them.
You men must be insane to wear a tie around your neck. If you must wear the thing, at least respect yourself enough to wear a clip on as my husband does. After all, the tie is just a status or power symbol in our society, ergo the color red on conservative older males in power and of course college colors and other marking devices. But be smart and be safe until this dumb fad fades away. We see from old photographs (ca. 1700’s, 1800’s) that the tie was originally a thing to keep your neck warm and cover a scraggly neck in polite society.
Hi Nancy, thanks for the comment but I have to disagree with you. In my opinion, although the shape, size and way we wear them might change slightly over time, I am convinced that the tie will not go away over the next 500 years.
I want a regimental tie of the Royal Norfolks as a clip on tie but am unable to find anyone that do these ties can you help many thanks
You are better off looking for someone that will convert your necktie into a clip on for you. So, buy the regular tie and then send it so a “clip on conversion” service like this one here: http://www.meechs.co.uk/tie-conv/tie-conversion.html (please copy/paste link into your address bar)
I had polio at a very young age and have little to no strength in my left arm. I used to be able to tie a regular tie but no more. I look for ‘Clip-on’s in regular clothing stores but cannot find them. I either use my older clip-ons or just don’t wear a tie. Will shop online for ties next week (week of 2/8/2016. I hope I can find a few, just need to know the quality of the ties before purchasing.
I agree that clip on ties for uniform safety are good, although I have a better option I like. The Velcro tie. This is a pre tied tie that is cut in the back of the neck and had Velcro added as a fastener. It is still a beak away tie for safety, but looks better than a clip on and has two key benefits. First it is adjustable, I can slide the narrow end through the knot to loosen or tighten it. Second there is zero chance of the metal points popping out of the collar.
That being said the choices are far less than the clip on ties so they are of almost no use other than with a uniform. I do have two that are patterned silk ties, they are made by the 5.11 uniform company. I rarely wear them now but those ones are real ties that were split and had the Velcro added so that they can be tied in any knot I choose but can still breakaway for safety.
Neither is suitable for normal civilian wear in my opinion.