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Should You Wear Tie Clips And Bars With Waistcoats?

It can be difficult to know if wearing a tie clip or bar with a waistcoat is universally acceptable. So, should you wear a tie clip or bar with a waistcoat?

Do not wear tie clips or bars with a waistcoat. The purpose of a tie clip or bar is to fix your tie to your shirt. A waistcoat already does this, and wearing both makes you look cluttered, making the tie clips or bars redundant.

This is a great rule of thumb and a good start to understanding why you shouldn’t combine tie clips and bars with a waistcoat. 

However, there’s much more to it, so keep reading to find out more.

man in black 3 piece suit
Image From Deposit Photos

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Tie Clips Or Bars With Waistcoats

There are a few general principles that should always be followed when it comes to fashion, and these are some you should definitely consider. 

1. It Serves No Purpose

The primary reason you shouldn’t wear a tie clip or bar with your vest is that it’s’ pointless.  They both hold your tie in place, so you should only wear one or the other. 

Think of wearing both at once, like wearing a watch on each arm; one is redundant.

Remember that nothing contradicts a sophisticated and formal look like wardrobe redundancies because it is such a big fashion faux-pax. 

Even though tie clips and bars are quite different, their function is the same, so this point applies to both of them. 

The choice is yours when deciding between the two, and it should largely hinge on which you prefer. 

3 piece suit
Image From Deposit Photos

Although, you should keep in mind that the waistcoat is probably the safer choice for more formal occasions.  

2. It Looks Cluttered

The second biggest criticism of wearing a tie clip or bar alongside a waistcoat is that it looks cluttered. 

This is unavoidable because tie clips, bars, and waistcoats center on your tie to hold it in place. 

Although tie clips and bars are technically different, they are placed in similar positions on the tie and will both contribute to the cluttered look.

This is something that you should definitely aim to avoid. 

3. It’ll Be Worn Incorrectly

Tie pins and bars are supposed to sit quite low on a tie. To show it off when wearing a waistcoat, you’d need to wear it higher than it is traditionally supposed to sit.

This is so that it isn’t obscured or awkwardly brushing against your waistcoat. Once again, this contributes to it having a cluttered appearance and, overall, being pointless. Therefore, you shouldn’t wear them together.

3 Exceptions When A Tie Clip Or Bar Might Be OK With A Waistcoat

As mentioned, wearing these pieces together can be a major fashion faux-pax that should generally be avoided in a business or formal setting.

However, when these circumstances don’t apply, you may be able to wear them together, and this is how.

As A Fashion Statement

If you have a unique or highly stylized tie clip or bar that complements your suit, it could be acceptable to wear either with a vest. 

However, it can be risky, particularly if the event you’re dressing for is of significant importance. Such events could include interviews or business meetings.

Another acceptable situation is if the tie clip or bar is necessary for your outfit.

For example, at some weddings, the best man will have engraved tie bars given to him to wear. 

When It’s Safe To Experiment

An occasion where you could wear a tie clip or bar with a vest is one that requires formal dress but is more lenient on what’s acceptable.

Such occasions could include formal but upbeat occasions among family or friends or at a wedding.

At these events or similar ones,  obsessing over whether or not your tie clip/bar and vest combo is appropriate isn’t necessary.

Although,  this depends on how traditional your family and friends are. If in any doubt, you can contact the event hosts to ask what the dress code is.

For Safety Reasons

This one primarily applies to dinners or workplaces, and it’s best explained through an example. 

If you’re attending a work or business dinner, you’ll understandably want to look your best. Consequently, you may decide to wear a three-piece suit (which would include your vest). 

However, once the meal commences or partway through the evening, you may choose to remove your blazer and waistcoat. 

If you decided not to bring your tie clip or bar, your tie would hang free and dangle over your food. 

Nothing will ruin that sophisticated, professional look you’ve worked so hard to achieve than your tie getting a taste of your soup, main, or dessert.

Similarly, suppose you work in an environment where a tie could easily become caught on something (especially machinery). 

In that case, you should wear a tie clip or bar under any waistcoat you wear in case you become separated from it, and your tie becomes connected with something else.

If you’re going for a business meal or your tie may present a danger to you, wearing your tie clip or bar is always recommended.

3 Tips For Wearing Tie Clips And Bars With Waistcoats

If you have found some situations where wearing tie clips and bars with waistcoats is applicable, there are some rules you should follow to do it right. 

Make It Subtle

The biggest obstacle to pulling off the daunting tie clip/bar vest combination is the pointless and cluttered nature of wearing both at once.

So, one way to minimize these negatives is to pick a very subtle tie clip or tie bar to wear alongside your vest. 

Since most designs are pretty small and come in almost every color imaginable, picking a small one the same color as your waistcoat is recommended.

This will make it a subtle and synchronized part of your outfit. 

Furthermore, subtlety and synchronicity are evidence of a good fashion sense compared to the clutter and pointlessness typically associated with being scruffy. 

So, if you’re set on this fashion choice, make sure you bring order to what could easily have been chaos. 

Given the accessibility of different tie clips and bars, it should be easy to do.

Coordinate It Jewelry And Accessories 

An excellent way to make your tie clip or bar feel like a less redundant part of your formal attire is to coordinate it with jewelry and accessories.

This will make it seem less out of place and give it a purpose, albeit a purely aesthetic one. 

An example of appropriate aesthetically matching accessories would be pairing a silver tie clip or bar with a classy silver ring.

However, you should keep in mind that some people who hold functionality over aesthetics won’t approve of you wearing a tie clip or bar as a piece of jewelry. 

Therefore, if you attend an important meeting and want to make a good impression, taking this approach may be risky. 

Hide it Completely

Don’t forget that your tie clip (or bar) can be attached to your tie underneath your waistcoat. 

This will hide it from everyone around you and avoid negative judgments about your dress etiquette. 

Furthermore, this is easy to do because your tie clip should be attached at the top of your vest.

This means that you can move it slightly lower to a position where its visibility is reduced. Remember that this is only appropriate when you absolutely cannot avoid wearing both at once.

Conclusion

You shouldn’t wear a tie clip or bar with a waistcoat unless in a casual setting. 

These casual settings are generally where you don’t need to make or maintain an impression. If wearing the two together, it should be a stylized choice that fits your outfit or is incredibly subtle.