Complimenting your dress shirt with the right accessories can take you from ordinary to elegant. I’m not talking about glistening rings on your knuckles or earrings dangling from an earlobe. Clean, classic and understated, cufflinks, tie bars and collar pins is what it takes to elevate your game.
Cufflinks have a long history in men’s style, going back to the days of kings and queens. Modern convenience (or laziness) has diminished their prominence so use this to your advantage. You won’t be following a trend but leading the way. No longer just for formal occasions, feel free on a night out or the office to add a bit of elegance. There are several cufflink designs to choose from, ranging from high end cufflinks to affordable so it depends on your needs and budget. I’d recommend keeping the designs simple so they can work with most of your shirts, but keep in mind your personal style as well.
Tie bars have had a renaissance thanks to the folks over at Sterling Cooper. Besides being understated and classic, they also have the functional purpose of preventing your tie from landing in your soup. Keeping your tie in check with a touch of silver discreetly improves any look. Have at least one unadorned, silver tie bar made of quality which works with any tie and shirt combination. If you prefer narrow ties, get a shorter tie bar as well.
During the early and mid 20th century, soft shirt collars would often curl up of their own accord. Collar pins were used to keep them at bay while adding a subtle touch of elegance by lifting the tie knot to prominence. Soft collars are no longer an issue, but adding a collar pin hasn’t lost its discreet visual appeal. They’re available in three forms, depending on your preference.
- A barbell whose ends screw off and pass through eyelets designed in the ends of the collar
- A pin, similar to a safety pin, that pierces the ends of the collar
- A bar with clips on both ends that takes hold of the collar ends
A small profile collar and a tight, small knot with your tie, as seen below, works the best with your collar pin.
Another great accessory, though, not for a dress shirt but sports coat, is a pocket square, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s a quick, affordable method of adding pop to a casual sports coat and dark jeans.
Cufflinks, a collar pin and tie bar shouldn’t all be worn at once, unless it’s a formal occasion such as a wedding. Mix and match as appropriate. It should enhance your appearance, adding to your dress shirt but not taking anything away from it. Trust yourself and wear these pieces with an understated and clean design. Simply wearing them will be enough.
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