Shirt and Tie: How Too Mix and Match

Posted by in history of the necktie, how to tie a tie, necktie patterns, Style Tips, tiepinions

Getting dressed can require making some difficult and important choices. Have you even been stumped deciding which tie would pair best with which shirt? Between colors, patterns, textures and prints a lot can go wrong in this moment of judgment, but we are going to make sure everything goes smoothly and is well-coordinated from this point forward.

Let’s start with colors. In deciding color combos, start by looking at your shirt. The shirt acts as a foundation to the tie, so this is a great place to build up from. Generally similar colors pair well together, or colors that vary in saturation or tone. For example, a pale blue shirt with a navy neat tie is a full proof classic. On the other hand, contrasting hues can also be a great combination as well. The best way to combine contrasting colors is to make sure one of the hues has a darker tone. For example, a navy tie and a lighter shade red shirt with a dark nay suit is a great contrasting look. Your suit should always be darker than you tie as a general rule in the suit game.  

If you are struggling with this and want to keep it super simple at first a solid shirt might be the best place to start. Once you get more comfortable playing with color combinations and prints you can incorporate more printed shirts. The most popular and classic go to solids are always white, pale blue and pink.

-The White Shirt: This crisp classic is easily paired with almost any tie. A great canvas for your more exciting ties and a good opportunity to have fun with accessories. Here is your chance to rock a stripe, paisley, check or neat without worry of looking to “busy”. A variety of looks can be built off this white shirt, from business to preppy to whimsical depending on the suit and tie you choose.  


-The Blue Shirt: There is something so dapper about a fresh blue shirt. This shirt works great with tonal prints in the blue family, for example a darker blue plaid tie. Other cool colors can also look great a top a blue shirt, like green, or a blue/green combination tie. The contrasting color to blue is red, making shades of burgundy, red, pink and burnt orange (blue’s complimentary color) nice options as well.


-The Pink Shirt: So stylish and so fashionable pink is always elegant paired with navy blue. Pink and blue are contrasting colors that work famously well together. Other pairings we suggest are darker shades of reds, khakis, and blues or combinations of these colors on patterned ties.

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-Striped Shirts:

Often, we feel that if the shirt has a print or a pattern the ties need to be a solid or tonal. A striped shirt will always work with a solid tie, but there is no need to limit yourself to this option. Stripes work great with neats, dots, geometrics or even stripes. The important rule when pairing prints is to always make sure the pattern on the tie is larger than that on the shirt. For example, if you want to wear stripes on stripes there is no problem. Simply make sure the stripes on the tie are wider, bolder and darker on than those on the shirt. Also, the direction of the stripes need to vary as well. In the case of pairing a stripe shirt with a neat tie the print of the tie does not need to larger per say as the nature of the patterns are contrast enough. A neat, dot or tight geometric can be treated as more a tonal or solid, using the color rules as a guide.

-Checked Shirts:

We love our check shirts, they are a great way to add character to the everyday suit and tie without being to “over the top”. Solids, and tonals can always be worn with a checked shirt. In pairing a tonal or solid simply use the color rules as described before. You can either go with something in the same family tones as your shirt or pair in a contrasting or complimentary color. While a striped shirt can work with a bigger or smaller pattern, a check shirt only works with a larger pattern tie to avoid the tie from becoming lost. Always keep the tie a darker shade than the shirt itself. If you decide to wear a stripe or a dot, it is always nice if of the stripes or the actual dots match or pick up a color from the check in the shirt.

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Getting the shirt and tie combination is not as difficult as you’d first think. With a few simple tips and tricks and a little practice, you can conquer the art of pairing and matching the perfect combinations. The important thing to remember is that you want to keep your personality and style within your shirt and tie combination while having fun in the choices that you make. Play around with colors and patterns until you find the perfect recipe that works for you and suits your style. Once you get to this point everything else will be second nature.