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Tie clips seem popular these days – are they a must for this fall?

The question

Tie bars are everywhere in fashion spreads right now. Are they a must this fall?

The answer

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Tie bars or clips, which pin your tie to your shirt and are visible mid-chest when you're wearing a suit, are more decorative than practical, like any metal hardware on display.

They were in fashion in the 1950s as a show of wealth (sometimes they were gold, sometimes they had a jewel on them) and then faded – until of course the massively mimicked Mad Men began to exert a seismic influence on 21st-century fashion.

Now fashion editors are issuing directives that tie bars are a necessary element of every suit.

You can happily resist them, though. Tie bars are a fad that will fade and, I would add, should fade. They are absolutely not necessary to a respectable ensemble. To me, they look fussy, occluding the colourful expanse of silk that is the only expression of softness in a stern, dark, semi-formal uniform.

And jewellery for jewellery's sake is generally dicey for men. You don't want to go about bedecked in metal; you are not a medieval sultan – or, for that matter, a 1961 American ad exec with a lot of Brylcreem in your hair and the odour of cigarettes clinging to you.

Russell Smith is a novelist. His recent memoir, Blindsided , is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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