Tie pins, also known as stick pins, are neckwear accessories used to secure the folds of a tie's neckband (or cravat).
Tie clips, also known as tie bars, are used to clip a tie to an underlying shirt front, stopping it from swinging or shifting, and ensuring that the tie hangs straight at all times.
History of tie fashion
They first became popular with English gentlemen in the 19th century, when cravats were made of expensive fabrics such as silk, satin and lace which needed to be held in place.
Tie pins commonly used pearls and other precious gemstones set in gold or other precious metals, and were specially designed. By the 1870s Americans had embraced tie pins, and as such they were mass-produced with motifs such as animal heads, wishbones, flowers and horse shoes. And by the 1890s pins were even being used by women, particularly those who wore sporting uniforms for cycling, boating, horse riding, golf and tennis.
Tie clips have a much shorter history, first becoming popular in the 1920s. US president Herbert Hoover was a fan, and was the first to give a signed tie clip to his supporters, a gesture which went on to be emulated by other leaders.
Both accessories began to lose their popularity at the beginning of the 1970s, as wide kipper ties and flyaway collars became more prevalent.
Modern tie pins
The fabric, structure, and cut of the cravats of earlier eras meant that tie pins served a more practical function, pinning the arrangement in place. But while there's no longer a practical need for tie pins, fashion trends are bringing decorative pins back into the mainstream.
Although tie pins are still quite rare, jewellers have reporting a higher demand for them in recent years, and several independent brands were set up to produce the accessories last year. Tie pins come in a range of materials, from classic silver to onyx and rhodium – and luxury pins can fetch anything up to $4,000.
Modern tie clips
Tie clips (or bars) are far more common than pins in today's apparel. They have tended to go in and out of fashion regularly since they first became available.
Although safety pins can be used to fix the tie to a shirt from the back, tie clips have come back into fashion, particularly with younger men, and are seen to add a touch of class to an outfit if the metals are matching.
Tie clips come in a range of styles. Business-appropriate clips will be small, restrained pieces in a single-color metal, usually either gold or silver. Handmade, crafted and vintage styles are frequently seen in mismatched 'hipster' menswear, while the mainstream has readopted tie clips in a more restrained way. Abstract modern art styles are also seen.
Tie clips are normally worn just above the center button of a shirt, but can be worn comfortably anywhere as long as they keep at least a couple of inches distance from either the top or the bottom of the shirt.
Tie fashion is making a comeback as style-conscious men continue to devote more time to the 'finishing touches' of an outfit.
Use of tie pins and clips over the past decades has been influenced by the designs of ties and shirts. While there are other more discreet and invisible ways to tame unruly ties, many men are now opting for these accessories to add some extra class to their look.