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How to Match Ties with Shirts

by Mandi Rogier

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Man in suit and tie

Matching shirts and ties once seemed to be a simple task because there were limited options of dress shirt colors available. Today, however, dress shirts and ties are available in a seemingly endless array of patterns and hues. While it may seem overwhelming to try to match boldly colored or patterned shirts and ties, there are some simple steps that can make the process much easier.

Matching Shirts and Ties:

  1. Select a shirt to wear. Your dress shirt should match or complement the rest of your suit or outfit. Generally, you should also pick a color that contrasts with your suit pants. Unless you are going for a monochromatic color scheme on purpose, black on black can look too formal. It is much easier to match your shirt-and-tie combination when you begin with the shirt.

  2. Identify the most noticeable color in the shirt you have selected. If you have chosen a solid-colored shirt, this is a simple step. If you are looking at a striped or plaid shirt, step back from the shirt and look for a color that stands out or the one that would be easiest to match.

  3. Choose ties that either match or complement the shirt's main color. With a solid-colored shirt, you should wear a tie of a different color. Blue goes well with yellow or red while green and red also complement each other. If you are unsure of whether two colors clash, consider looking at a color wheel, which you can find online. If you are wearing a white shirt, your options are endless. When you are matching a patterned shirt, the tie should have at least one color in common with the shirt, though you can experiment with different shades.

  4. Narrow your tie selection down by examining the pattern of the tie. Against a solid shirt, you can wear a tie with any pattern or design. However, if you are wearing a patterned shirt, choose a patterned tie with a contrasting design. A striped tie can work with a striped shirt if the stripes are of very different widths. When in doubt, choose a solid tie to complement a patterned shirt.

Tips:

  1. While these steps will help you begin the process of coordinating a shirt and tie, feel free to experiment. Look to models and advertisements for inspiration in identifying striking combinations of color and pattern.

  2. Limit your use of stripes. Do not wear a striped suit, shirt and tie all together.

  3. If you feel that a shirt color or tie is too bold, don't wear it. You'll only feel uncomfortable if you think that everyone's eyes are on you.

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