There are many ways to get creative with your style even in the more formal office environments. A good place to start is with your shirt and tie combinations. This is one of the better, and in fact easier, ways to show off your style and passion for fashion, possible within any work environment. When you know how to it's easy to get the combinations right, yet, many men get them wrong. Why? Because they mix the wrong colors and patterns together.
Read our guide to find out the right way of mixing different patterns and fabrics, and learn how to combine your shirt and tie the right way.
Understand the Colors
The first thing you need to do before starting to combine your shirt and tie in various colors and patterns, is to understand what colors go well together and which ones you should avoid combining. To better understand it we should look at the color wheel:
What can you learn from the wheel? The colors on each side of the color in question are similar and the color directly opposite are complementary. Look at green; directly opposite green is red, making it a complementary color. Blue-Green a and Yellow are on the sides of green, making them similar colors.
How do you use this information?Well, when it comes to combining shirts and ties the easiest way is usually to pair contrasting colors rather than complementary. It's more difficult to match because it can be "too much" very fast, very easily. The key to remember is to vary the shades of colors (lighter shade shirt with darker shade tie).
Don't buy just any tie; choose wisely which tie you buy. This does not mean the ties need to be expensive or of a certain brand, it means they should be tasteful and well combined with the shirts in your closet. Remember the width of your tie should be as close as possible to the width of your suit lapel.
Blue Shirt Guidelines
Try a light shade of blue to better complement your darker colored tie. There are many options of tie and blue shirt combinations. When pairing the colors blue and orange, for example, wear a light colored blue shirt with a burnt orange tie. The colors complement each other well and, as you know by now, the tie should always be a shade darker than your shirt. Remember to look at the color chart - Green is a similar color to blue, so you can pair your blue shirt with a dark green tie.
Pink Shirt Guidelines
Blue is a contrasting color to pink; combine your pink shirt with a navy blue tie, with or without patterned. Like one of the two dark blue ties below:
Look back at the color chart, purple is a color similar to pink, you can therefore combine your light colored pink with a dark purple tie. Green is a complementary color - pink and green can be difficult to pull off but if you have the right attitude anything works. Pair your pink shirt with a green or khaki colored tie and you will stand out from the crowd!
It can be tricky to combine a checked shirt with a tie; how do you combine many different patterns without going wrong? It's more simple than you might think! Just remember that your tie must have a bigger pattern than the checked pattern on your shirt (with the exception of window pane check, as it's very similar to stripe).
It's fine to wear a striped tie to a checked shirt, just make sure to choose a tie with big bold stripes. Avoid patterns such as paisley for your tie when wearing a checked shirt. Keep in mind that standard color rules (color chart) still applies!
Block color ties might be the more obvious way to go when wearing a striped shirt. Regardless if the colors are similar, contrasting or complementary shades. If you want to try something else than block ties, remember to always vary the size of the patterns you combine in one outfit, and you'll be fine. If you wear a thin striped shirt, the tie should have a larger patterned (and vice versa).
It's perfectly fine to wear stripes with stripes (striped shirt with striped tie) as long as the stripes of the shirt and the stripes of the tie are the same sizes. You can also wear different patterns like polka dots or paisley ties. With a striped shirt you have many options.
White Shirt Guidelines
We saved this one for last because it's the most obvious one. To a white shirt, you can combine any tie color and fabric. The white shirt goes with almost any combinations. This is a more safe bet, as the white shirt will tone down your overall look. Go ahead and try different tie combinations with the white shirt (this is without considering the color of your suit).
Black shirts are finally back in fashion after being worn by niche groups for some years. As black color does not appear on the wheel, it means you can combine it with any color you like. To keep it formal, go for one of the basic colors, such as blue, grey or red, to avoid being too extravagant with maybe picking a bright yellow tie with a black shirt.
Very often, gentlemen decide not to wear a tie with a black shirt and only button i tup to look formal. This would be to follow the previously mentioned famous rule that the tie should be darker color than the shirt. As black is the darkest, there is no darker color to choose for a tie.
Another idea if you want to wear your favourite black shirt for a formal event would be to wear it with a bow. This way, the formality level is at the maximum and you will look original and great.
Red shirts are a statement piece as such and one must take care not to combine a too bold tie with it. Keep it simple with a plain black or blue tie, maximum with stripes or small checks. The focus will definitely be on the shirt color so there is no need to add any bold pattern or thick stripes.
We would also not recommend pairing a red shirt with any of the contrasting or similar colors, as to avoid looking too extravagant. Make sure the event is appropriate for a red shirt, as you may be sure people will be noticing you more than otherwise. Because of this, try to not wear a red shirt to someone else's wedding as not to overshadow the groom. Good luck with building your outfits!
How to Tie a Tie
After you have found the perfect shirt and tie combination, it is time to solidify the look with a secured tie that will stay in place. It is important to look professional at any event, and knowing how to properly tie a tie can make or break the look. Below is an illustration of how to do the most common tie knot. It is the classic way to go and can compliment any outfit for any occasion!
How to Tie a Bowtie
Bowties are another great way to accessorize an outfit, and knowing how to tie one is an important skill to have. Once you have found the best shirt to complement your bowtie, it is essential that it stays tied throughout your day so that you can enjoy your time and outfit to the fullest. Below is an illustration of how to tie a bowtie to perfection for your next event!
What's your favorite shirt and tie combination? Share your tips with us!