The tiepin ( “tie pin,” “stickpin,” “stick pin”) dates from the early 1800s and was used to secure the folds of a cravat. By the 1870s, when long-ties emerged onto the fashion scene and men’s shirts were being designed with button-up fronts, tiepins were used to decoratively secure the tie to the placket of the shirt, preventing the tie from blowing about in windy environs such as onboard yachts and at outdoor sporting and social events.
The Tie Clip
By the 1920s, however, when long-ties of very delicate silk fabrics became popular, tiepins were succeeded by tie clips (“tie bar,” “tie slide,” “tie clasp”). Tiepins, because of their design, pierce the fabric of the tie in the process of securing the tie. And with repeated use, they may cause damage to a delicate tie. A tie clip, on the other hand, clips the long-tie to the placket of the shirt without penetrating or damaging the tie in any way. Both would remain a part of menswear accessories until the end of the 1960s, when both fell out of fashion favor—partly because ties went somewhat out of fashion in the ’70s with mod fashion of the Hippie Movement and the leisure suits of the disco era. But since the beginning of the 21st century, tie claps (but not tiepins) have made a triumphant return.
Like all masculine jewelry, less is more. A simple, understated tie clip of silver, gold, or some other precious metal is recommended. A tie clip remains one of the few items of jewelry permissible while in military dress.