Be creative with your shirt-and-tie combination

9th July 2014
Katie Kwok

Be Creative With Your Shirt And Tie Combination

Walk into any office or down any city street and it’s clear to see that many men often struggle with shirt-and-tie combinations.

The main problems are colors that clash and the old chestnut of having a tie that’s lighter than your shirt. This is a big no-no, especially with men who elect for a black shirt. Unless you’re the ghost of Elvis Presley, the only possible color tie to wear with a black shirt is a black one.

Get creative

Of course, if you want to take the fail safe option, you can simply team a plain white shirt with a darker, plain tie. You can’t go wrong, but it’s just a little dull.

So why not get a little creative with your shirt-and-tie combinations? Do this at work and you’ll really stand out from the crowd. But let’s ensure you don’t get it wrong. After all, some colors just shouldn’t be seen in public together.

Let’s consider the color wheel. Anything on opposite sides is complementary and can be worn together (for example, red and green). Contrasting – separated by three sections on the wheel – can also be good, such as yellow and blue.

Contrasting colors

With shirts and ties, contrasting colors are usually a good idea. A classic example is the mid-blue shirt and burgundy tie with a navy suit (your suit should also always be a darker shade than your shirt).

If you opt for complementary colors, it can be tough to come up with a combination that’s not garish, so the trick is to vary the shades. Try a deep orange tie with a light-blue shirt.

Let’s briefly look at a few combinations:

1: solid-on-solid 

This is low-risk, but a bit safe. Try to use contrasting color combinations or analogous color combinations (think red on pink or dark blue on light blue).

2: solid-on-pattern or pattern-on-solid

This needs a little more thought. A solid tie on a patterned shirt is easy, provided you match your tie color to the color family in your shirt pattern. The same is true with a patterned tie on a solid shirt.

3: pattern-on-pattern

Now you’re playing with the big boys. Here’s how to get it right: contrast the pattern types between the shirt and tie. That means a polka-dot tie paired with a striped shirt can be a winner. You should also vary the size and scale of the pattern, with tie patterns being bigger and bolder than shirt patterns.

So, now you’re a shirt-and-tie expert. Have fun being creative!