How To Match A Tie

Matching a tie to a suit or shirt sometimes is just pure fun, but sometimes, you just wish you had never bought that suit, or shirt.

Here, we will go through some of the basics that will inevitably help you coordinate your wardrobe for a long time to come.

Plain White Shirts

A shirt is like a canvas. If you really want to show off your necktie – put it on a clean white shirt, and watch the reaction you get. Any color tie goes with a white shirt. If you are ever in doubt, wear a white shirt.

Solid Color Shirts

Solid or single color shirts such as pale blue, pale yellow, pale tan, and the rest of the color spectrum requires a little thought.

First, you can match the same color shirt and tie, this has been done for decades and it is still a valuable option. However, what if you don’t want to match, well the easiest thing to do is COORDINATE.

Coordinating doesn’t really take a lot of mastery, it simply means matching two different colors that go well together.

  • Coordinate
    A pale blue shirt with a yellow, red, burgundy, gold or navy tie.
  • Coordinate
    A pale pink shirt with a navy blue or burgundy tie.
  • Coordinate
    A pale tan shirt with a brown (or any shade of brown) tie.
  • Coordinate
    A French blue shirt with a yellow, bright red, deep burgundy or gold tie.
  • Striped Shirts
    Looking for a bit of challenge? Try a striped shirt.
    Is a striped shirt hard to match? – No

Lets look at some quick examples:

First, look at the shirt from a distance and decide on what color you primarily see. Based on this color, add a coordinating color tie. However, be careful, the best coordinated look for a striped shirt needs to be in the pattern AND color. For example, if you see mostly navy blue stripes, add a yellow tie with a box pattern or a pin dot or polka dot patter. Today, you can even add a beautiful paisley pattern.

What did we just do? – Well, we took the stripes and set them off with boxes, paisley or dots. By doing this, we broke up the stripes on the shirt and introduced a breaking point which is a dissimilar pattern.

If you want you can even use diagonal stripes, just make sure that the stripes of the shirt and the stripes of the tie are two different sizes. Generally by two different sizes we mean at least a 2:1 ratio. If the stripes on the shirt are 1/4 inches, go with a tie that has stripes at least 1/2 inch. This will help the tie stand out rather than become a blur with the shirt.

Checkered Shirts

Coordinating a tie to a checkered shirt is the same as coordinating a necktie to a striped shirt. The same rules apply, but in reverse. First, take a look at the shirt and decide on what the pronounced color is, then coordinate a matching color for the tie.

Make sure the tie has in this case, diagonal stripes. This will make the checkered shirt look wonderful. Additionally, you can still use a pattern of boxes or dots on the tie, but again, make sure that the boxes or dots are larger than the check pattern.

How to Match A Tie To Suit

Coordinating a tie to a suit is very much like coordinating a tie to a shirt. There are 2 elements to consider. You need to consider first coordinating a color that goes with the suit, and then once you have decided on the color, look at the pattern.

Again the same rules apply. If the suit is one solid color, the job is easy. Put any solid color tie, or any color that coordinates well with any pattern that you like.

If the suit has chalk stripes – you know those faint thin stripes, then you can simply just follow the same rules as if the suit were a solid color.

How to Bring It All Together

If you haven’t noticed, we have used the words match and coordinated very differently. Matching means the same, whereas coordinating means complimenting.

Therefore, when bringing it all together, try not to overdo the patterns. A striped, checked or hound’s-tooth suit requires a solid colored shirt and a patterned tie. For a solid color suit you can add a patterned shirt with a patterned tie, as long as the patterns differ.

See… It wasn’t that hard after all!

If the stripes are very pronounced, wear any color tie that coordinates well with any pattern tie – except for stripes.

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