How To Pick Your Shirts & Ties

OK guys, time for one last article on colour! This time the focus is going to be on how to combine shirt and ties together, whether it’s for a night out or for the office. Now before we start, you should all have read the last two articles on colour I did, as we will be using terminology from them throughout the course of the article, as well as touching upon some of the theories. You can find them here and here.

Now even though you know the basics in regard to colour, there are still a few key points that you need to remember when it comes to shirts and ties. The first is to keep things simple. By this I mean don’t go for anything too loud, messy or busy. Too many loud colours in too many bright shades will just detract from your outfit as a whole and will more than likely cause people to cover their eyes or scrunch their faces up at you. So as a rule of thumb stick to having your tie a darker shade than your shirt is. This is a no brainer when it comes to pattern mixing because it makes it so much easier for a beginner. however, feel free to experiment because it is OK to sometimes swap this around every now and then – especially in the summer months.

A fool proof way of going with a lighter shirt/darker tie combination is to follow the ‘similar colours’ rule. Just make the tie a darker shade of the colour of your shirt. The same applies for a striped or checked tie as well – additionally with a striped tie it’s normally a good idea to make sure the other colour is either complimentary or contrasting.

Proportions of Shirt to Tie

For today’s article we will be concentrating more on the colour combinations when showcasing example products. However, when purchasing you should also bear in mind proportions – remember to keep collars and tie width similar. Spread or semi-spread shirts are complimented well by a slim or skinny tie. A spread collar shirt also leaves a lot of space between the collars and the tie knot so if you prefer this style of shirt, start mastering your Windsor knot so as the space is better filled:

Solid Shirts

Here are a few examples using solid shirt colours mixed with patterned ties:

  • Baracuta Sky Blue Shirt
  • Crown Sinnet Knitted Tie
  • Heritage Research Pink Oxford Hunting Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Striped Knit Silk Tie
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Custom-Fit Oxford
  • Brooks Brothers Regimental-Striped Silk Tie
  • ASOS Slim Fit Shirt With Square Collar
  • Reversible Black Stripe Spot Slim Tie
  • gucci Cotton fil a fil shirt
  • ASOS Check Tie
  • lanvin<br /> Curved seam shirt
  • Burnshaw DIAGONAL STRIPE TIE
Mixing Patterns

Now this all comes down to how confident you are and whether or not you know the rules. The simplest way to mix patterns into your outfit is to keep either the shirt or the tie patterned and the rest solid (like above). This way you can still have fun with the colours by either complimenting or contrasting with which ever pattern you’ve chosen and not run in to too much trouble.

The next step would then be to start mixing patterns together. For example, this could be a striped shirt with a checked tie or vice versa. However, this is always a tricky line to walk and has a high possibility of making people go cross eyed if done wrong. The key here is to make sure that patterns aren’t too similar in size. If you stick to this rule then you can mix in as many patterns as you like really. Although as a rule I wouldn’t ever use more than three.

  • Paul Smith Double cuff long sleeve pink stripe shirt
  • Paul Smith Plaid check formal tie
  • Howick Fairfax Stripe Shirt
  • PAUL SMITH ACCESSORIES VB01-M84 Red Bowtie
  • Baracuta Dark Navy Check Shirt
  • Brooks Brothers Regimental-Striped Silk Tie
  • BEN SHERMAN MINI CHECK SHIRT
  • Bespoken Rounded Bottom Tie
  • Glow DOGTOOTH JACQUARD SHIRT RED/WHITE
  • Hugo Boss Black Navy Anchor Slim Silk Tie
  • Hugo Boss Black Plum Bold Stripe Classic Fit Shirt
  • Acne Webber Check Tie
Identical Patterns

The rule of varying pattern size also applies for mixing identical patterns – so using a stripe shirt with stripe tie or a plaid shirt with plaid tie. An advanced example outfit would be to utilise a navy pin stripe suit combined with a bold white and brown thick striped shirt and a red stripe tie. Seems like a lot of stripes in one outfit right? Well as long as you stick to the rule and the width of the stripes are not similar (or the same distance apart) you will be fine and avoid giving people the feeling of vertigo.

The same colour rules also apply here guys, so to make sure that things don’t blend try and stick to complimentary or contrasting colours.

Top Tip: One of the easiest ways to mix stripes with stripes is to mix the direction. Try a vertical striped shirt with a horizontal striped tie. Then all you need to worry about is the colour coordinating.

  • Black Label Blue Stripe Shirt
  • Kenneth Cole Tie with wide stripe
  • Timberland Long Sleeve Claremont Oxford Mens Shirt
  • TM Lewin Navy And Yellow Barber Stripe Tie
  • Lyle & Scott K0819-V22 Red Shirt
  • Navy Check Slim Tie
  • Trinity OXFORD GINGHAM SHIRT BLUE/LIGHT BLUE
  • Paul Smith Accessories Silver Polka Naked Lady Slim Tie
  • Hugo Boss Black Navy Bold Stripe Classic Fit Shirt
  • Brooks Brothers  Regimental-Striped Silk Tie
  • Stanley FORMAL SHIRT BLACK WHITE
  • Drakes Knitted Stripe Tie

And there it is – our final article on colour. Hopefully you will now have a nice foundation to work with for your all your looks, whether it be casual or formal. Remember to experiment with your existing wardrobe and create some new exciting outfit combinations based on what you have learnt.

Until next time guys,
Matt Allinson