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Tying a serviceable necktie knot is not always easy, but many school and professional uniforms require presentable neck wear. One popular solution to the necktie knot dilemma is known as a clip-on tie. A clip-on tie features a perfect four-in-hand or bow tie knot, but it does not have to wrapped around the neck or cinched tightly. Instead, a small metal clip behind the knot is affixed to the front of the wearer's dress shirt and closed behind the top of the neckline.
A clip-on tie is especially helpful for those who have difficulty mastering the standard tie knots such as the half-Windsor, full Windsor and the Pratt knot. The four-in-hand knot is one of the easiest to learn, and provides a presentable if somewhat informal knot and dimple. This is why the designers of the original clip-on ties selected the simplest knot design, since most wearers of a clip-on tie employ them for less formal situations.
When the tabs of a clip-on tie are properly secured behind the wearer's shirt collar and a tie pin or tie tack is added for additional security, a clip-on tie is nearly indistinguishable from its traditional cousin. Because there is no cloth around the wearer's neck, the shirt collar may fit slightly tighter, but that may be the only outward indication of a clip-on tie.
Some occupations require the use of clip-on ties for safety reasons. Police officers and emergency medical personnel routinely wear clip-on ties to avoid accidental strangulation, for example. Factory managers who must visit the factory floor wear clip-on ties to avoid getting a standard tie caught in dangerous machinery.
Many parents enjoy the benefits of a clip-on tie when dressing smaller children for school or other activities. A clip-on tie is not as restrictive as a traditional necktie, and does not present a hazard if worn during recess or physical education classes.
There can be a social stigma against the regular use of a clip-on tie, especially in the white-collar corporate world. Mastering the art of necktie knot tying is considered by many to be a good skill to possess, so the use of a clip-on tie in the office is often viewed as laziness or a lack of cultural appreciation. Clip-on ties are also seen as limited in style compared to traditional neckties.
I graduated from a Military College where black clip on neck ties were verboten. If I charged a nickel for every windsor knot I tied and retied in my four years not just for myself but for other cadets, I could have retired a millionaire. Clip-ons have come a long way since those days but I still usually can tell if it's been tied or its a clip on. Some clip ons, the knot is too perfect.
I was always flattered when at inspection sometimes I was accused of wearing a clip on. I always knew that meant my knot was particularly good that day.
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