Simple Guide to Men’s Shirts and Tie Combinations

Shirts & Ties

Not all men have the best taste in style. Take time and look around your workplace, and you’ll realize that some men just don’t know how to match their shirts to their ties.

Choosing the right shirt and tie can be a hassle, especially if you are confined to wear the same dull, and traditional corporate suit every weekday. By changing up your shirt and tie combination, you add more style to your wardrobe, while still maintaining work place formality.

It can become difficult to mix and match the right shirts and ties because there are many different patterns and colors, which can look great, or turn into a mess. By learning how to match both shirt and ties, it can give you a confidence boost, because when you look great, you feel great!

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The Color Wheel


Color matching is probably one of the most confusing aspects of fashion. One of the problems when combining shirts and ties arises when you don’t understand the colors. The right color combinations can make or break your wardrobe. Your shirts and ties can either become dull or trendy.

By introducing yourself to the color wheel, you get a visual representation of all the color shades. Understanding the color wheel is easy: each section on either side of the color are similar, and if you look opposite of the color, you’ll find it’s complementary. The contrasting colors are separated by 3 sections of the color wheel.

For example, the color green is opposite of red, making it a complementary color. The yellow and blue colors are on either side of green which make them similar colors. And lastly, purple and orange are 3 sections away from green making them contrasting colors.

When pairing shirts and ties it’s better to use contrasting colors rather than complementary. One combination that is fool proof is a mid-blue shirt, and a burgundy tie with a navy suit.

It becomes difficult to match complementary colors because the strong shades are too much for the eyes. However, if you still want to try it out it’s best that you vary the shades, that means having a light blue shirt with a burnt orange tie. tip: your tie should be darker than your shirt!

If you’re still unsure about the colors, the best option is to match a bold colored tie with a white shirt. But mixing up and becoming creative with colors and patterns will help you learn what works and what doesn’t.

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Choosing Your Tie

When buying a new tie, expensive doesn’t mean it’s tasteful, or trendy. However, if you have horrible taste at picking our ties, than you’re out of luck here. But we do have a couple tips for picking out a nice one.

  1. Don’t go for one that is shiny or smooth. Instead, go for a matte or textured tie because they’re easier to work with and look classier.
  2. When deciding on a standard or skinny width tie, you should remember this rule: your tie should be as close as possible to the width of your suit lapel. Ties

Plain Shirts

Every man needs a few essential shirt colors in his wardrobe. These essentially colors include white, sky blue and pink. 

Note: While going through this guide, we’re considering shirt and tie combinations that aren’t related to your choice of suit. However, we believe the majority will have plain, neutral suits in navy, grey or charcoal.

White shirts give you the maximum versatility when choosing a tie to match. Regardless of any tie patterns or texture, you can combine it with any plain, white shirt. Make sure when you’re going down the white shirt route that your tie is full of character, from any where between colors, patters or interesting textures.

White Shirt Look Book: Plain Shirts 10 Plain Shirts 1Plain Shirts 5 Plain Shirts 7

Blue/Pink Shirt Guidelines

Blue or pink shirts are a great way to get creative with your color matching skills! Here we have a few combinations for both blue and pink shirts.

Sky Blue Shirts:

  1. Opt to go for a patterned or textured tie, a knitted navy style or navy polka dot tie is a great combination.
  2. Since green is a similar color to blue – Go for for a dark green tie, to give you that effortless style.
  3. Orange is a complement for blue.  Try going for a burnt orange color since it works well with a sky blue shirt.
  4. Try going for ties in the shades of burgundy, or mustard color. These colors look great with sky blue shirts, and the ties can be solid or mixed with some navy.

Pale Pink Shirts:

  1. Purple and mauve are similar colors to pink, these deep shades work well with the pale pink shirts.
  2. A contrasting color to pink is blue, so try going for a more navy tie, (solid or patterned) for a really nice look.
  3. The color green is a complementary color, and a matte khaki shade is bold, but you’ll definitely stand out.

Pink/Blue Look book: 

Example Combinations: 

 Pale Pink & Sky BluePale Pink Shirt 2 Pale Pink Shirt 1Pale Pink Shirt 4Sky Blue Shirts 3Sky Blue shirt 7Sky Blue Shirts 1

Striped Shirts

Striped or printed shirts can make any wardrobe a little more interesting. Since you have a patterned shirt already, it’s best to go for a tie that is a bit more considerate.

When wearing printed shirts, your go-to option is block color ties. It can have similar, contrasting or complementary shades – however, if you’re going for a tie that already has a patter, remember to always vary the size of the patters you are combining.

An example is, if you are wearing a thin striped shirt,  than it should be combined with larger pattered ties. If you’re wearing wide striped shirts, than it should be combined with smaller patterns.

One thing that you should remember is that stripes work well with other stripes, just make sure they are not the same size. For example, you should try a thin pencil striped shirt paired with a larger striped tie. To pull the look all together, pick the color of the shirt stripes the same as one of the colors on your tie.

Another tip is to change up the variations of the stripes you are combining. For example, a vertical striped shirt is great when paired with a horizontal or diagonal striped tie. It will definitely add a uniqueness to your outfit.

Striped, or pattern shirts are all preferences, and what you personally like. It’s good to mix and match different combination to suit your own style.

Striped Shirts Look book: Striped Shirt 4 Striped Shirt 3 Striped Shirt 2 Striped Shirt

Checked Shirt

When you think about checked shirts combined with a patterned tie, you would follow the same rules as if you were combining it with a striped shirt. But, that’s not the case. To combine a tie and a checked shirt, the tie requires a bigger pattern than the shirt.

A window pan check is another pattern, that is almost like the pencil stripe shirt, but the patterns are more subtle.

A more traditional type of shirts are small gingham check shirts, it is perfect if you’re wanting something more casual, and less formal. If the gingham shirt has a white base, the same color matching principles apply, and go for a tie that is similar, contrasting, or complementary shade to the shirt color. ie. A navy tie combined with a sky blue or pink gingham check shirt make a perfect combination.

If you’re trying to go for a large tartan/plain version, one thing to remember is to choose the more subtle base tones in your shirts, and combine it with a block-color tie. Tip: Always keep the tie color darker than the color in the shirt.

Striped shirts are a good option to combine with check shirts. When choosing a tie, choose one with a big bold strip because it can compete with the pattern on the shirt. But always make sure that the colors in the strips is the same as of the hues used on the shirt. If you’d like, polka dots always work well.

One thing to make sure is to try and avoid intricate patters, like paisley or geometrics.

Checked Shirt & Tie Look Book: Men's Checked Shirt 4 Men's Checkered Shirt 3 Men's Checked Shirt

Final Word

combining shirts and ties can be a bit difficult. If done right, it can either make or break your outfit. If you keep working at it, you’ll find what works for you and you’ll be the best dressed at your work!

Trial and error is key to make sure you get the perfect combination, follow the guidelines above and that should really help!