How to Wear a Tie Tack

by Dan Ketchum

Actor Justin Theroux sports a well-placed tie tack that goes perfectly with his pocket square.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In some ways, the tie tack is a relic of 1800s England, an accessory rarely seen after the suit-and-tie died out as daily wear in the 1960s. This dip into obscurity has, however, only strengthened the tie tack's ability to make a statement; the accessory's subtle exterior belies a strong sense of swaggering poise. All at once, donning a tack says that you're carefree enough to pierce your tie, but savvy enough to embrace an outside-of-the-box detail.

In Comparison

Get a bearing on your surroundings before you delve into the world of tie tacks. Like the tie bar and tie clip, the tie tack -- also known as the tie pin -- serves the utilitarian purpose of keeping your neck tie in place, while also lending your ensemble a bit of pop. While the bar slides or clips on, the tack pins onto the tie and anchors to your dress shirt via a chain. The tie bar, though dashing and detail-oriented in its own right, makes a more conservative statement compared to the almost whimsical vibe of the tie tack.

Tie It Together

The tie tack offers a wealth of options; you've got your metal and precious metal button-shaped tacks, as well as pearls, gems and jewels. Monogrammed or personalized pins are also prominent, as well as tacks that signify allegiance to an organization. Fleur-de-lis designs, etchings, crosses, ship's wheels and dozens more styles make bolder statements. No matter what you choose, consider your suit and accessories. Warm metals such as gold and bronze complement neutral-hued suits in shades like brown, taupe and cream. Silver-toned tacks flatter colder colors, like black, gray and navy. If you opt for a colored tack, coordinate it with another detail, such as your cufflinks or pocket square.

Tacked, Not Tacky

To wear a tie tack, aim for the direct center of the tie. In terms of height, it should be pinned just at one of your shirt buttons on the mid-section of the shirt or higher. The vicinity of the second and third buttons works best. Remove the protective back of the tack and pin it to your selected area, then replace the back to secure the tack. Unbutton the nearest button on your dress shirt and insert the bar connected to the chain, then re-button the button to keep your tie neatly in place.

More to Know

Don your tie pin last to ensure a balanced look. You don't want it too close to your knot or hanging so low it brushes your jacket or vest once you're all layered up. For a daring look that really sells a sense of sprezzatura, give your tie a bit of a bunched look, almost resembling an ascot, between the pin and the knot. This works especially well if you've gone with a thick tie and a brave knot, such as a Windsor or Pratt.

Photo Credits

  • Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.