As men, developing an effective formal style can be difficult.
Furthermore, there is a plethora of not-so-good style advice coming from many different sources. So yeah, there’s always a lot to consider when putting together an effective outfit.
Overwhelming? I’d say.
But I got some good news in today’s post for you: this post will be a very simple, touching on a very absolute, black and white topic that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.
More specifically, why you’re better off avoiding clip-ons.
I am talking about the clip-on ties, the clip-on braces or the clip-on collar bars. Let’s take an objective look at why they shouldn’t be part of any gentleman’s wardrobe.
Are Clip-Ons Really That Bad?
Yes, I firmly believe cip-ons are a really bad alternative to the real deal. Not only do they look like cheap (not necessarily in a monetary way) versions, but they can even end up damaging your clothes.
What’s so terrible about them? Let’s look at each of them in detail.
Okay, this is the top offender without question.
Clip-on ties usually come with three plastic or metal clips that get attached to your collar band to keep them in place. Crazy as it sounds, you can certainly find clip-on ties for adult men.
Even crazier, there are adult men who do wear them. *shudders*
Let’s look at some reasons why it shouldn’t be acceptable for fully grown-up men to wear clip-on ties:
- They are usually made of terrible fabrics.
- They come with pre-tied, flat and lifeless knots.
- You cannot really play with different knots for different collars.
- The clips can damage your collar band (specially the metal clips variations).
- Most people can tell you are wearing a clip-on and it’s not a very flattering look on an adult man.
- There’s the risk that one of the clips will show without you noticing.
In short, unless you are a kid who can’t dress himself, you shouldn’t even consider owning a clip-on tie. They are really horrible and inexcusable.
Oh, and there are also clip-on, pretied bow ties available. C’mon, do we really need more negative myths around bow ties?
Next on the list we have clip-on braces. Clip-on braces are actually more common than clip-on ties, even among men who take pride in how they present themselves. You might be thinking they’re a good alternative to button-up braces, after all it’s much easier to clip on than to button up, but there are a lot of valid reasons to lean more towards button-up braces:
- Clip-on braces damage your trousers’ waistband.
- They can easily unclip – and if it happens that you’re also wearing a waistcoat, clippin your braces on again will be a pain.
- Clip-on braces don’t look as elegant as button-up braces.
- They can look unbalanced if they’re not clipped on equidistantly.
- They usually have less quality than their button-up counterparts.
If you care so much about coming up with a smart ensemble to wear braces, why not go all the way and wear button-ups? They look much more sleek, elegant and even more balanced. Most importantly, your trousers’ waistbands won’t have to suffer from all that clipping and un-clipping.
So no clip-on braces, deal?
Clip-on Collar Bars
Frankly, collar bars are not that common, but they exist and you’ll find many sharp dressers do enjoy the look of them, so they definitely have a place in this list. So let’s enlist the reasons why your clip-on collar bars are not ideal:
- They will unquestionably damage your collars.
- They are more difficult to put on, specially if you are wearing anything else than a point collar. Anyone who has ever tried to put a clip-on collar bar on can attest to this.
- They can slip down your collar, making you lose that sharp look it provides.
If you are really interested in the original look a collar bar gives to your collar and tie, why not give collar pins a try? They look clean, stay in their place and won’t damage your collars. The only downside to collar pins is that they do require collars with eyelets that allow the pin to go through, so you might not be bothered to go through all the hassle. If that’s the case, you can safely live without wearing any collar decorations and keep a clean, dapper look.
I won’t deny it might be a bit more difficult to tie a tie than just clipping it on, or buttoning your braces, but the end result of going for the “real deal” is worth it and can take your suit and tie ensembles to a higher level of elegance.
Not to mention you will actually be expanding the lifespan of your clothes, which should be reason enough to make you think twice the next time you are about to clip things on them.
So tell me, do you wear clip-ons? If so, what’s the reason? I might be seeing things from a very personal perspective, so I would love to know the reasoning behind your choice.