How to Choose the Perfect Shirt and Tie Combination

Fashion Tips

Getting the perfect shirt and tie combination is not always a simple task. It’s easy to match a solid color tie and shirt together, but things can get kind of scary when you’re wearing, say, a patterned shirt, and want to match a tie to it that might have a pattern as well.

You can get creative with your shirt and tie combinations and still look very professional and stylish as long as you remember a couple of basic rules. We’ve outlined those rules for you below so you can join the ranks of professional people who seem to have a knack for creating combinations that look fantastic, no matter what the occasion.

Choose the shirt first


checked shirt
Choosing the shirt first will set the general tone of your look and help you narrow down your tie choice. Photo by david.dames

When creating shirt and tie combinations always get into the habit of choosing your shirt first and then pick out the tie you want to wear with it. All shirts, regardless of the pattern have one or two dominant colors in them. To put it simply, the dominant color in a shirt is the most noticeable one. These dominant colors will be important when it comes to choosing the right tie, regardless of whether it is checked, striped or solid.

Striped Shirt and Striped Tie? Yes!

You can wear a striped tie with a striped shirt as long as you remember the following guidelines:

  • Make sure the colors in the tie match the dominant colors in the shirt
  • The stripes on the tie are different in size than the stripes on the shirt.

Here is an example of these rules above.  If you have chosen a narrowed striped light blue shirt, you should choose a tie that has wide, thick stripes. It doesn’t matter how wide and thick as long as the stripe pattern is different from the narrow stripes that are in your shirt.  They should have light blue that matches the blue in the shirt but they can have other coordinating stripes as well, like mint green, yellow or another color that coordinates with the light blue.

For a more toned down look that still looks stunning, you can choose a tie that has several different colors of blue in the tie that will go with the blue stripes of the shirt. Just make sure the stripes are wide and it would look spectacular with a navy suit.  It may sound like a lot of blue, but you have two complementing patterns going on and the different colored stripes of the tie add color and style.


shirt and tie combination
Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Photo by John Herschell


Checked Shirt and Checked Tie. Are you Feeling Daring?

You need to have a good eye for detail if you are going to tackle wearing two checked prints together, but it can be done and done well. This bold shirt and tie combination is for the daring professional that doesn’t have a problem being noticed.

When choosing your combination you are going to refer back to the rule that was applied to stripes; choose two different sized check patterns. Make sure the checks of the tie complement the colors that are in the shirt. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller checks should be worn on your body and the larger checks on the tie; it just looks better overall.

You can even wear a striped tie with a checked shirt as long as you follow the two basic rules above. These rules work with most shirt/ tie combinations and ensure that you look balanced, professional and very handsome.

Final Word: Shirt and Tie Combinations Don’t Have to be Difficult

Even if you love bold, wild patterned ties, there is a way to make them look great rather than garish and loud.  That is never the impression you want to give, no matter what tie you’ve chosen. If you don’t want to overthink shirt and tie combinations, stick to easy matches: choose shirts in white, sky blue and pink, with and without narrow stripes and checks and choose ties with larger patterns and bold colors that complement the colors in the shirts and you will have a multitude of styles and looks to wear to the office.