Tie clips: How to keep it together in interviews

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Dear Lily,

Are tie clips an unnecessary fashion accessory or do they make you stand out from all the other two-/three-piece suits in the room?

-Martin Hsu


Dear Martin,

For some, a tie clip is merely an accessory, just as cuff links or a signet ring are. For others, it is a necessity. For these people, keeping their ties out of food or out of the way of their patients is essential in day-to-day work.

If you are a doctor, you spend your day leaning over when observing patients, so a tie clip is a necessary accessory to prevent ties from going into patients’ faces. Keeping your tie out of your meal is also obviously essential for tie cleanliness.

If you are wearing a vest, wearing a tie clip as well is overkill, as the vest fulfills the purpose of the tie clip already. However, three-piece suits are not always a necessity either. If you are looking to stand out, a three-piece suit can do the trick, provided that it’s tasteful, clean and pressed. It is not going to be the difference between you getting the job or not, however.

If you don’t like wearing vests and would rather wear a tie clip, go for it! Tie clips look polished — when worn correctly — and can complete the look.

A tie clip is not the deciding factor in an interview, but it can certainly make someone look more put together, which is never a bad thing.

If you are going to opt for a tie clip, please don’t make it goofy or funky. Things that are sports-inspired or have a big logo are tacky and will take away from your attempt to look professional. Keep it simple. Plain silver or gold will do the trick. You don’t want to stand out in a negative way.

For starters, never wear a tie clip that is longer than the width of your tie or wear one that is too short. Both look very silly. If yours is too long, you might try angling it, but this is usually only acceptable with more casual outfits. Polished business outfits are better worn with a horizontal tie clip. Also, the clip is typically worn just above the jacket’s closing button.

I’d say that tie clips are not an unnecessary fashion accessory because accessories are, by nature, supplemental items to an outfit. They are neither necessary nor unnecessary; they are simply a personal preference. A three-piece suit might make you stand out in a room more than a tie clip will, but they will both make you look polished and professional.

Your smile is an accessory, too. If you have a professional attitude, a good handshake and a smile, whether you are wearing a tie clip, a vest or neither will not matter. If you are looking to physically stand out, both work just fine. But don’t stress too much over it; just because you look snazzy, doesn’t mean you are more qualified for the job than anyone else.

ArtsLily RansomComment