The tie clip is experiencing a recent return to favour, spotted on the ties of discerning gentlemen during the last season of menswear fashion shows. The return to such a traditional accessory is part of a youthful reinvention of formalwear. This is but the latest turn in the 90 year history of the tie-clip. Entwined with the role of the tie, the tie clip's relevance has adjusted with social movements and the progressive style changes which accompany them.
Tie clips also known as tie pins or tie bars slide horizontally to aid the placement of the tie. Fixing to the shirt it restricts movement and ensures the thinner portion remains within the shirt. The tie clip was a complimentary development to the modern 'Langsdorf' tie patented by Jesse Langsdorf, a New York Tailor in 1924.
Designed with a bias cut and 3-point construction, the ‘Langsdorf’ tie offered more control and predictable tie behaviour. The tie clip further controlled the tie, a necessity to avoid any unfortunate incidents as the tie became de rigueur for work wear. This prevalence allowed it becomes an identity badge of the wearer, were a subtle mark of personality within a standardised sea of suits. They also denoted membership presented to scouts and freemasons. They were also used as gifts to soldiers and presidential supporters in the USA as a distinguished presentation of thanks.
The post-war style of the 1950s and 1960s saw a rebellion against the confines of formalwear and the rejection of the tie clip. The relaxation of clothing rations and the move to mass-production led to a growth in casualwear. Relaxed printed shirts became popular weekend-wear and city dressing no longer required the rigidity of a jacket over a shirt and tie. Tie clips became staid, a representation of war-time sobriety and were the preserve of a minority of distinguished gentlemen until today.
The tie clip has received a return to favour, spotted on ties in the street style images of Tommy Ton during the latest season of fashion shows. The post-punk generation requiring a new uniform of rebellion and youth have opted for solid style re-inventing traditional designs. The tie clips offers the young a point of distinction from schoolboy attire and is worn higher than tradition dictates, one or two buttons down from the collar rather than two up from the waist. Simple detailed clips are the preferred choice of the young more suited to relaxed clothing combinations including a wool-knit tie with a chambray shirt.
While the tie clip is no less functional, its return relies upon its styling credentials rather than its role a rigid accessory of control from which it originates.