Raising the Bar

On the question of the collar bar — old fashioned, but a nice touch for those who wear a tie and like the look of a tab collar.

The collar bar has long been a favourite of those who like to dress; it keeps the collar points in place and lifts the knot of the tie so that it arches nicely — just one of those little aesthetic moments that is pleasing to the eye. Fred Astaire was devotee, going so far as to wear a bar with his buttondown collar on at least one occasion. Not for amateurs. Nor particularly recommended.

They come in three basic styles: the pin, the bar, and the barbell. In the photo above, I’m wearing a collar bar from the 1930’s. The advantage to the collar bar is that it won’t have any lasting impact on your collar the way that a pin can, and doesn’t require sewn in holes like a barbell. Pins, which are like long safety pins, look great, can be used as a tie pin in a pinch (see photos of Beppe at The Sartorialist.) The barbell is very understated and chic, but does require a special shirt. I found one at Ben Silver a few years ago, nowadays, I’d have to have it made.

Just remember, no starch to the collar and avoid the collar stays (collar bones.)

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