According to recent surveys, the average man owns about 7 ties. Depending on the kind of work you do, that may either sound like a lot or far too few.
But no matter how many ties you own, it’s important to know how to wear it effectively. A tie that coordinates well with your shirt and suit can elevate your outfit. By contrast, shirt and tie combinations that clash can make you stand out in all the wrong ways.
If you’re frustrated by trying to match your shirts and ties, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the ultimate guide to putting together shirt and tie combinations that will look great.
How you put together your shirt and tie combinations depends in part on the kind of look you are going for. For instance, if you work in a traditional industry like finance or banking, you will probably want to pick more conservative looks. If that’s the case for you, you can go wrong with these classics.
Light Shirt, Dark Tie
For a classic, conservative look, you should always choose a tie that is a darker color than your shirt. So you can wear a tie that is the same color as the shirt you are wearing, as long as the tie is the darker of the two.
It’s hard to get more classic business professional than a white shirt and a dark suit. Since a white shirt provides basically a blank canvas, you can wear just about any color tie. That said, if you want to keep a conservative look, stick to reds, blues, and dark greens.
A light blue shirt is another good choice for a classic look. Red and dark blue ties go well blue shirts. In general, a good rule of thumb for a conservative look is a blue or white shirt with a red or blue tie.
While classic looks are good standbys, sometimes you want to wear something a bit more exciting. That said, it’s important to recognize that there is a difference between shirt and tie combinations that are daring and combinations that just don’t work. If you want to switch things up a bit, here are some to try.
Understanding the Color Wheel
Taking a look at the color wheel can help you understand what kinds of colors go well together. In general, colors that contrast are good choices. So, for example, a blue shirt will look good with an orange tie.
By contrast, colors that are too similar on the color wheel could clash. A red shirt with an orange tie could look overwhelming, rather than complementary.
Light Tie, Dark Shirt
We mentioned above that classic looks dictate a dark tie with a light shirt. If you want to switch things up a bit, however, choosing a light tie to go with a dark shirt can be a good option. For instance, you can pair a light blue tie with a navy shirt. This can look especially sharp if you match it with a light gray suit.
Shirt and Tie Combinations to Avoid
Sometimes, it’s easier to tell when a shirt and tie just don’t go together than it is to identify good shirt and tie combinations. Here are some combinations that you should be wary of.
Easter Egg Colors
If you have a pastel shirt, be careful when matching it with a pastel tie, or vice versa. Having too many light colors could make it look like you’re wearing your Sunday’s best for Easter services. Of course, if it is Easter, feel free to be festive with the appropriate colors.
Too Many Bold Choices
As we mentioned earlier, red, white, and blue tend to be classic colors for business professional wear. If you’re branching out from this palette, be careful of going for too many different colors. For instance, a purple shirt with an orange tie or a green shirt with a pink tie might look like a bit too much for many professional settings.
Coordinating With Your Suit
After matching their shirt to their tie, many gentlemen forget that they should also take the color of their suit into account. While most suits come in neutral colors that can work with just about any tie, there are some combinations that work better together than others.
For instance, always be careful when wearing a tie the same color as your suit, like a navy tie with a navy suit or a gray tie with a gray suit. If the colors are close but not matching, it will look off. It’s better to go with a shade of the color that is clearly different, as opposed to choosing a shade that almost matches.
What About Patterns?
Of course, color isn’t the only concern you should have when matching shirts and ties. You also want to make sure that the patterns complement each other, rather than clash. Here are some basic rules to follow.
Different Sized Patterns
In general, a good rule of thumb is that you can match a small pattern with a large pattern. So, for example, if your shirt has large plaid stripes, you could match it with a tie that had small stripes.
Play With Geometry
Another good way to match a patterned shirt to a patterned tie is to put different geometric patterns together. For example, a shirt that has square checks on it may go well with a tie that has circular dots, because the shapes contrast with each other.
Some men like to wear ties with bold patterns, like florals or images. These ties are statement pieces, and should be paired with either a solid shirt or a shirt with a thin stripe.
Making Your Perfect Look
With these tips in mind, putting together the perfect shirt and tie combinations will be a breeze. This will help you look great and feel confident.
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