Suit and tie combinations are common enough, but shirt and tie combinations can be even more important. In this simple guide, we’ll go over some of the best combinations that are flattering, versatile and easy to create.
Read more Men’s Style Guide features.
- 1 The Colour Wheel
- 2 Men’s Shirt and Tie Combinations
- 2.1 Plain Shirts
- 2.2 A White Shirt
- 2.3 Best Colour Ties With A White Shirt
- 2.4 A Blue Shirt
- 2.5 Best Colour Ties With A Blue Shirt
- 2.6 A Grey Shirt
- 2.7 Best Colour Ties With A Grey Shirt
- 2.8 A Black Shirt Combinations
- 2.9 Best Colour Ties With A Black Shirt
- 2.10 Patterned Shirts
- 2.11 A Striped Shirt
- 2.12 Best Ties With A Striped Shirt
- 2.13 A Checkered Shirt
- 2.14 Best Ties With A Checkered Shirt
- 3 Other Options
- 4 How To Choose The Right Tie
- 5 The Shirt: How A Shirt Should Fit
- 6 Shirt & Tie Combinations
- 7 On That Note
The Colour Wheel
When you’re pairing any colours, it’s important to know which ones go together. We’ve all seen it when someone is wearing something colourful and it all simply clashes. I can recall walking home from the tube and seeing a man wearing a green and yellow checkered suit with a matching hat. You could see him coming a mile off.
When you’re looking at the colour wheel, you need to understand what colour shirt you’re going to be wearing, as this is your base layer. Your tie needs to work off of your shirt, whether it’s a variation of the same colour or a colour that’s completely opposite.
For instance, if you’re wearing a purple shirt, no matter what the shade, you can look at the colour wheel and see what colours are opposite purple. So, it would be anything from blue-green to orange-yellow. But you don’t want to just stick with the colour that’s directly opposite as this limits all of the colours you could wear with it.
The great thing about colour is that there are many shades of each colour, so you can easily team a coloured shirt with a tie of the same colour family, but a varied shade of that colour. For instance, if you’re wearing a dark blue shirt, you can easily team it with a lighter blue tie to compliment the shirt, perfect to be teamed with a grey suit.
Men’s Shirt and Tie Combinations
So, we finally get to the shirts. This is going to be your base layer that you will work your tie around, so it’s important that you get the right one. Plain shirts are going to be your best bet if you’re struggling to get those shirt and tie combinations down to a tee.
A White Shirt
Nothing beats the classic white button down shirt. Its classic colour and style make it one of the most versatile and easy to wear pieces in your wardrobe. So, teaming a tie with your white shirt is an easier process than if you were teaming a tie with a coloured shirt.
Best Colour Ties With A White Shirt
Wearing a white shirt offers this great, neutral base layer for you to work around. You can easily team a multitude of colours in varying shades with white. You can keep it basic with a simple black tie, or, you can be a little bit more adventurous with brighter colours, such as blue or yellow.
You can even go for a pattern, teaming various colours together to create the perfect blend that suits your personality and style to a tee. Just remember the colour wheel, go for opposing colours rather than colours that are too similar to each other. This adds more detail and depth to your shirt and tie combination.
A Blue Shirt
Blue is another great colour to wear as a shirt. The great thing about blue is that it ranges from a dark navy, almost black, to an almost white colour. The choice is really up to yourself what shade of blue you opt for, but personally, I’d go for a mid-range shade of blue. Light enough to be worn during the day as a casual shirt, but easily transitioned into a cracking evening shirt.
Best Colour Ties With A Blue Shirt
Much like white, blue is a great shade to team with a multitude of different colours. Because blue varies in hue so much, it’s a lot easier to team with varying shades of itself. Try wearing a darker blue shirt with a lighter blue tie as this offers a tonal, yet different, approach to the shirt and tie combo.
Mix things up a little bit and try wearing a patterned tie with your blue shirt. A striped tie in purple and red is a fantastic pattern and colour scheme to work with, as purple is near blue in the colour wheel. With slight undertones of blue within the purple, it works perfectly with a contrasting colour such as red.
A Grey Shirt
Even though grey is a great neutral colour to wear, you’re limited to the colour combinations you can team with it. Because there are so many shades of grey (no pun intended) available, you can easily find a shade that works for you. Perfect for wearing casually or dressed up for the office, a grey shirt will work for you this and every season.
Best Colour Ties With A Grey Shirt
Now, grey is a tricky one. You’d think you could team it with any colour, much like you could with another neutral tone, but, unfortunately, you can’t. What you can do, however, is go for a more tonal look. If you’re wearing a lighter coloured grey shirt, then go for a darker grey, almost black, tie.
If you do want to go for a bit of colour, then go for a bright red, not neon (never neon), but an almost jewel tone. This works perfectly against the grey, offering a contrasting colour in amongst the neutral tone. Grey suit colour combinations can also be teamed with similar shirt colours. Such as a grey suit blue shirt, grey suit pink shirt, and a grey suit black shirt. Even a grey suit and red tie work.
A Black Shirt Combinations
You wouldn’t think that wearing a black shirt would be tricky, but, it can throw up its fair share of difficulties when trying to team it with a tie. There’s a little debate whether a black shirt with a tie should be considered stylish, as it can come across a little tacky. But, forget those rules, you can always team your black shirt with a tie, you just need a little guidance along the way.
Best Colour Ties With A Black Shirt
When you’re wearing a black shirt, it’s best to stick with neutral tones when you’re looking at ties. Go for a varying shade of grey or maybe even a black tie to team with your shirt. These keep the look tonal and neutral without going too overboard.
If you do want to add a little bit of colour, then go for a darker purple. A dark purple and black work well together as they are great contrasting colours to work with. If you’re wearing a black shirt and trousers, then adding in a purple tie keeps the look bright whilst giving you detail and depth to your outfit.
A patterned shirt is a great way to add colour and detail to your look. But, when you team it with a tie it can all get a little too much, so you have to know what you’re doing when it comes to matching a tie with a patterned shirt.
They’re a plethora of choices out there when it comes to patterned shirts. You can go for a gingham (which is a slightly smaller check), checkered, pinstripe, or the dreaded paisley. It’s all about personal choice when it comes to pattern, so you may have to do a little bit of trial and error before you come to a unanimous decision.
A Striped Shirt
A striped shirt is probably one of the most classic patterned shirts you could have in your wardrobe arsenal. Always go for a vertical stripe when you’re looking at a striped shirt. This is because it acts as a slimming illusion to the eye, whereas vertical stripes give a wider illusion, making you seem bigger than you are.
Best Ties With A Striped Shirt
A striped shirt is a bit of an anomaly, as you can easily team it with both a patterned and block coloured tie. If you’re going for a patterned tie, then why not go for a contrasting stripe, such as a horizontal or diagonal stripe. This draws the eye into your tie and makes for a nice contrasting look to your outfit.
The colour of your tie, of course, depends on the colour of your shirt. A striped shirt can come in a multitude of colours, so it’s best to tackle that before you get to your tie. Always consult the colour wheel, as this will be your best referral when looking at ties.
A Checkered Shirt
A checkered, or even a plaid shirt, can be a bit of a tricky style of shirt to pull off with a tie. Because there is already so much going on with your shirt, you don’t want to go too overboard when it comes to your tie. If you’re wearing a checkered shirt to a more formal occasion, then I’d suggest going for a print that isn’t overwhelming – subtlety over anything.
Best Ties With A Checkered Shirt
Because you’ve got so much going on with your shirt, you’ll probably want to keep your tie simple. Go for a block colour that matches your shirt. For instance, we’ve chosen a red checkered number here, and you can always pick out the undertones in your shirt to match with your tie. In this red number, there are undertones of black and blue, so you can pick these out and go for a block colour tie that matches with them.
If you do fancy going for a bit of pattern, then keep it simple. A polka dot tie would be a cracking option when pairing it with a checkered shirt. You may be thinking that a polka dot tie with a checkered shirt is a little bit too much, but you’d be wrong. Keeping the polka dots minimal and widely spaced out will give off a nice effect when worn. Keep the same principles as you would with a block colour, by taking out undertones of the shirt and reflecting them in your tie.
If you’re still struggling to figure out what kind of tie to pair with your patterned shirt then we’ve got a few more options for you to choose from. Of course, your tie depends on the colour of your shirt. The trick is to pick out undertones of your shirt when you’re thinking of a tie. For instance, if you’ve got darker undertones to your shirt, then opt for a darker tie, and the same with a lighter toned shirt.
How To Choose The Right Tie
Choosing a tie can be a tricky thought in itself. There are so many options out there for you to choose from, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. There are three styles that are the most common and wearable out there, so if you stick with these you’ll narrow down your choice a lot.
The Classic Tie
The classic tie is the most common that you’ll come across when looking at ties. This tie is fairly narrow, but widens out towards the end and narrowing to a point at the end, creating a triangle-like shape.
The length of the tie differs depending on your height. So, when you’re looking at ties, it’s always best to try one on in a classic Windsor knot or half Windsor knot, so that the wider part of the tie sits at the top of your belt with the tip sitting slightly below it.
The Square Tie
This is a more modern version of the tie that is more commonly seen nowadays. The tie itself is the same width throughout, with it being squared off at the end. These ties come in varying shades and colours, just like a classic tie, but this adds something a little different to your look. Try tieing it in a Four in Hand knot for a less traditional style that matches with the unique shape.
The Textured Tie
Again, this is a fairly modern interpretation of the classic tie. Knitted ties have been around for a few years now, adding detail and texture to your look without it being overboard and in-your-face. The knit of the tie is close, allowing it to be worn and tied easily. You can get various colours and patterns with a textured tie, so it’s up to you which colour you decide to go for.
The Shirt: How A Shirt Should Fit
When you’re looking at buying a shirt, it’s important to know exactly what size you are. There’s nothing worse than seeing a man wearing a shirt that clearly doesn’t fit him, whether it’s too tight or too loose.
Shirts are measured and sized based on your chest measurement. You can do this yourself, or go to a high street tailor, with a simple tape measure, and you want to go by the thickest part of your chest, your pecs, or man boobs as some of us have. This is so the shirt isn’t tight across the thickest part of your body, allowing for comfort and movement when wearing it.
Shirt & Tie Combinations
- White Shirt: Blue, green, yellow, purple, orange coloured ties
- Blue Shirt: Blue, green, yellow, purple, red coloured ties
- Grey Shirt: Blue, grey, black, purple, red, orange coloured ties
- Black Shirt: Grey, black, purple coloured ties
- Striped Shirt: Contrasting tie, block colour ties
- Checkered Shirt: Black, grey, blue, red, polka dot coloured ties
On That Note
Getting the shirt and tie combination down to a tee isn’t as difficult as you’d first think. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can easily pinpoint your style and colours that match perfectly with your shirt. If you’ve opted for a block colour shirt, such as white or blue, then your options are a lot wider than they would be if you wore a pinstripe shirt for instance.
The important thing to remember is that you want to keep your personality and style within your shirt and tie combination. Play around with colours and patterns until you find the perfect combination that works for you and suits your style.