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Ties, Shirts & Suits – How To Make Them Work…

Ties, Shirts & Suits – How To Make Them Work…
2009/07/09 Maya H.

I have some definite know-how when it comes to pulling men’s business attire together but, I don’t know it all.  So, I’ve pulled together expertise from a variety of sources, vetted it (some people are not reliable), and created this quick crib sheet on how to coordinate ties, shirts and suits.  READ IT - did we get it right?!?

Ck tie, 49.50Coordinating ties to shirts

Golden rule: you can wear a striped shirt with a striped tie as long as the stripes are not identical in size. Make sure at least one color in your tie matches your suit, shirt, or belt and shoes.

  • Plain white shirts: The easiest choice and you can’t go wrong with any tie combination. You need only be concerned about your suit

Solid color shirts: Solid or single color shirts such as pale blue, pale yellow, etc beg for creativity and individuality

Same color shirt and tie: this is as old as time but a viable option.  However, if you don't want to match then follow these rules of coordination:

  • Match a pale blue shirt with a yellow, red, burgundy, gold or navy tie
  • Match a pale pink shirt with a navy blue or purple tie
  • Match a pale tan shirt with a brown (or neutral hue) tie
  • Match a French blue shirt with a yellow, bright red, deep burgundy or gold tie

Striped shirts: look at the shirt from a distance and decide on what color is most pronounced. Based on that color, add a coordinating color tie. Be careful, the best-coordinated look for a striped shirt needs to be in the same 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 pattern. Paisley patterns would also workYou can even use diagonal stripes if you make sure the stripes of the shirt and the stripes of the tie are different sizes (golden rule: different sizes should be at least a 2:1 ratio. If the stripes on the shirt are 1/4 inch, 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 to a striped shirt; the same rules apply, but in reverse. First, look at the shirt, decide on the pronounced color, and coordinate a matching color for the tie. Make sure the tie has in this case, diagonal stripes because, apparently, this will make the checkered shirt look wonderful!  Additionally, you can still use a pattern of boxes or dots on the tie but make sure the boxes or dots are larger than the check pattern

Coordinating ties to suits

Golden rule: avoid wearing a striped shirt with a striped tie and a pinstriped suit (the trifecta isn’t a good look)!

  • Again, coordinating a tie to a suit is like coordinating a tie to a shirt. First, coordinate a color that goes with the suit, and then look at the pattern.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 just follow the same rules as if the suit were a solid color. If the stripes are very pronounced, wear any color tie that coordinates well with any pattern tie - except for stripes.