Matching a tie to a suit or shirt is mostly intuitive, but sometimes a little aforethought will keep you out of trouble.
Here, we will go through some of the basics that will inevitably help you co-ordinate your wardrobe for a long time to come.
Plain White Shirts
Think of a shirt as a canvas. If you really want to show off your tie – put it on a clean white shirt, and watch the reaction you get. Any colour tie goes with a white shirt. If you are ever in doubt, wear a white shirt.
Solid Colour Shirts
Solid or single colour shirts such as pale blue, pale yellow, pale tan, and the rest of the colour spectrum requires a little thought. First, you can match the same colour shirt and tie, this has been done for decades and it is still a valuable option. However, what if you don’t want to match, well the easiest thing to do is Co-ordinate.
Co-ordinating doesn’t really take a lot of mastery, it simply means matching two different colours that go well together.
Pale blue shirts with a yellow, red, burgundy, gold or navy ties.
Pale tan shirt with a brown (or any shade of brown) ties.
Mid blue shirts with a yellow, bright red, deep burgundy or gold ties.
Looking for a bit of challenge? Try a striped shirt. Is a striped shirt hard to match? – No. Lets look at some quick examples:
First, look at the shirt from a distance and decide on what colour you primarily see. Based on this colour, add a coordinating colour tie. However, be careful, the best coordinated look for a striped shirt needs to be in the pattern AND colour. For example, if you see mostly navy blue stripes, add a yellow tie with a box pattern or a pin dot or polka dot patter. Today, you can even add a beautiful paisley pattern.
What did we just do? – Well, we took the stripes and set them off with boxes, paisley or dots. By doing this, we broke up the stripes on the shirt and introduced a breaking point which is a dissimilar pattern.
If you want you can even use diagonal stripes, just make sure that the stripes of the shirt and the stripes of the tie are two different sizes. Generally by two different sizes we mean at least a 2:1 ratio. If the stripes on the shirt are 1/4 inches, 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.
Co-ordinating a tie to a checked shirt is the same as coordinating a tie to a striped shirt. The same rules apply, but in reverse. First, take a look at the shirt and decide on what the pronounced colour is, then co-ordinate a matching colour for the tie.
Make sure the tie has in this case, diagonal stripes. This will make the checkered shirt look wonderful. Additionally, you can still use a pattern of boxes or dots on the tie, but again, make sure that the boxes or dots are larger than the check pattern.
How to Match A Tie To Suit
Co-ordinating a tie to a suit is very much like co-ordinating a tie to a shirt. There are 2 elements to consider. You need to consider first coordinating a colour that goes with the suit, and then once you have decided on the colour, look at the pattern.
Again the same rules apply. If the suit is one solid colour, the job is easy. Put any solid colour tie, or any colour that co-ordinates well with any pattern that you like.
If the suit has chalk stripes – you know those faint thin stripes, then you can simply just follow the same rules as if the suit were a solid colour.
If the stripes are very pronounced, wear any colour tie that co-ordinates well with any pattern tie – except for stripes.