The Thread

How to appropriately Match Shirts and Ties

How to appropriately Match Shirts and Ties

Pairing shirts and ties harmoniously isn’t rocket science, but that’s not to say that all men get it right. Thankfully, combining shirts and ties is child’s play once you master the basics. With a little know-how and some forward planning, you can ensure that your business wardrobe is always on-point, no matter what. And here’s how:


Mono-colour shirts are particularly popular amongst professionals for good reason – they’re no-nonsense aesthetic works with the majority of suit colours and, rather handily, almost every style of tie, too.

White shirts provide the most versatile backdrop for a tie. While it’s unlikely to be the most imaginative pairing, you can select just about any colour (bar white), or pattern of tie and it will work perfectly on a visual level. Obviously the more plain the jacket, the greater the scope to play with the tie’s pattern or texture. So, if it’s a navy suit jacket, feel free to choose anything from club-style stripes or checks to more visually complex prints such as polka dot, Paisley, or tartan.

A Floral tie pairs perfectly with a pristine, white formal shirt. Take a look at our ETON Red Floral Tie, that could be paired nicely with our Louis Copeland Plain White Shirt.

Shirts in lighter plain colours, such as sky blue or pink, are not so versatile; yet still offer plenty of scope for a huge number of successful shirt-and-tie pairings.

The simplest method is to go for an analogous tie colour, which means teaming your light shirt with a darker tie in the same colour family – a dark navy tie with a light blue shirt, or a deep wine tie against a pale pink shirt. The results are shirts and ties that are understated and professional, albeit rather safe. Why not try something like this ETON Jacquard Paisley Silk Tie in Navypaired with this  Louis Copeland Super Slim Plain Contrast Button Shirt in Blue  

A riskier but far more creative alternative is to opt for a complementary tie colour with your shirt. Don’t leave it to your own eye, though – consult the colour wheel to check which hues are complementary, rather than clashing. The results may be surprising but tend to work brilliantly – a green tie against a pale pink shirt, for example.

The third and final option when pairing a plain shirt with a tie is to opt for contrasting (and not clashing) colours – a flash of red silk such as this red silk tie with a blue shirt, or an understated navy tie against the backdrop of a pale pink shirt. 


Whether micro, plaid, windowpane or gingham, check shirts are an easy way to introduce some personal style to your work wardrobe, although they call for a more measured approach when it comes to choosing a complementary tie. Combing patterns is potentially risky, but when executed masterfully, the results can be spectacular.

Ensure that the pattern of the tie is bigger than that of the shirt. A thinly striped shirt, for example, can be worn with bold checks so long as the checks are larger and, subsequently, won’t get lost against the shirt.

Pairing a solid tie with a patterned shirt is far more straightforward. Simply keep the tie darker than the shirt, rather than vice versa. A Houndtooth Pink Formal Shirt, for example, will work well with, say, a solid navy or burgundy tie.


When teaming a tie with a striped shirt, the key is to vary the size and scale of your patterns. If, for instance, you want to go for stripes on stripes, make sure the respective designs are distinctly different.

Heeding this simple rule, you can play around with even the most daring combinations - thin vertical stripes on a business shirt, for example, can be paired perfectly with a club-style tie, so long as its diagonal stripes are chunky, rather than slim. Similarly, combining a formal striped shirt with this Geometric Silk Tie, for example, allows both designs to stand out, so long as the scale of the respective patterns is different. 

Here are some quick tips on how to use the colour wheel.

If, of course, you wish to wear a plain tie with your striped shirt, just be sure to choose colours that are complementary, rather than clashing. A quick check of the colour wheel will remove any margin for error.  

Complementary colours refer to colours that are positioned opposite to each other on the colour wheel, such as blue and orange. Complimentary colours create a striking contrast when paired together, making them a bold choice for shirt and tie colour combinations.

Analogous colours are colours that share similar temperature and are located close to each other, and sometimes even directly neighbouring, on the colour wheel. In other words, colours that are analogous to a primary colour are those that contain that primary colour. For instance, ties that are ranging from yellow-orange to red-orange are analogous to yellow, as they all incorporate varying amounts of yellow within them, and would pair well with a yellow shirt.  Analogous colours create a cohesive and harmonious look when used together in a colour scheme.

So, there you have it. Whether at its most basic (plain on plain) or its most complex (mixing patterns), choosing shirt-and-tie combinations is an easily mastered skill. Once you know and observe the general ‘rules,’ you can really showcase your style credentials while also allowing your personality to shine through.