It can be a little tricky to match a shirt and tie along with your suit. Choosing the right colors can make your style look classy, elegant and presentable.
First impressions usually last. Reading my guide in men’s suits is a great starting point, since fitting your suit is essential. But, so is the color combination between the suit, the shirt, and the tie.
Actually, the color of the suit is the first thing someone will notice – even before the brand, the cut, number of buttons, etc.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common colors used in suits and how to match them with a shirt and tie. Keep in mind that the season, weather, and the occasion play a crucial role in choosing a color.
- 1 The Color Wheel
- 2 Navy Suit
- 3 Charcoal Grey Suit
- 4 Black Suit
- 5 Brown Suit
- 6 Finding the Sweet Spot
The Color Wheel
The color wheel is the foundation of all color combinations. Understanding it can lead to the exploration of different styles and concepts.
Hence, the color wheel is divided into two sections: warm colors and cool colors. The first is vibrant and warm; the latter is calm and cold.
Using this color wheel, we can create combinations that will match together perfectly. I have listed below the exact patterns and schemes that we can use to achieve the best match.
Keep in mind, however, that this is only informative. Mastering the color combinations will come from experience.
One Color Shades Scheme
This color scheme will lead to the same color combination of your suit, shirt, and tie. It’s the easiest scheme to achieve and is usually a starting point for every suit-wearer.
Matching darker variants of one color to its lighter tones can lead to subtle color combinations. Take the navy suit, soft blue shirt, and a blue tie as an example.
Analog Colors Scheme
This scheme matches colors that are similar to each other. Based on the color wheel, similar colors are considered colors that are next (adjacent) to each other.
This color scheme usually means that the tie will be slightly warmer than the shirt and the suit. Color combination that is pretty acceptable to the human’s eye and (almost) never leads to a mistake.
Contrasting Colors Scheme
Contrasting colors match colors that are three slots apart on the color wheel. This color scheme combination can bring harmony to your appearance but is quite often hard to match.
One example of contrasting colors are red and blue. No wonder why red ties pair so good with soft blue shirts and dark blue or navy suits. Thus, the best practice involves matching a darker tone of each variant.
Complimentary Colors Scheme
These colors are opposite to each on the color wheel. They are hardest to match them together and usually requires a lot of sense and experience to pull off a stylish appearance.
To properly match these colors together on a suit, match a tie that has a darker tone (shade) from the shirt. As an example, match a grey suit, orange tie, and a soft blue shirt.
Navy is often referred to as a foundation color for suits, perhaps due to its commonality. In fact, it seems that there are no situations in which a navy colored suit would be viewed as inappropriate.
It is often considered an elegant and traditional choice. Play with the clarity of this hue and choose classic blends.
There is never going to be a perfect replacement for black other than the navy. For people that need to stick with a dark color but still want to make a more exclusive impression, a navy suit is the way to go.
A very functional color just by design, it has the right amount of color in it. Thus, it leaves a first impression that lasts for a lifetime.
The hint of color makes a difference for the overall appearance. Outfits can be built around navy blue and still be appropriate since it is a primary color.
It covers all circumstances, celebrations, and business events alike. Navy blue can also accentuate youth, depending on the wearer. It is a color that has a high preference among suit-wearers, and one that’s easy to plan around when the time is short.
It was proven that white pairs excellent with navy, just like any other patches of blue. In fact, a navy suit and a white shirt make some of the best combinations from my experience.
Match this combination with a solid color tie like red, orange, or violet. Alternatively, choose a dark color foulard tie, and you will get a perfect result. For instance, you can try putting on a navy suit with a brown tie.
Also, to come up with a modernized look, you can choose a skinny tie, experimenting with one of the slim type tie knots.
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To have an edgier twist, why not combine a pink shirt with your navy suit? It’s one of the best color combinations if you want to get attention.
Pink automatically attracts attention. If you want to achieve an authoritative type of look, match it together with a red tie.
Navy tie is considered a great option as well. As an alternative, however, you may want to go for a purple or a silver tie.
Consider striped and foulard ties as the first option for this suit & shirt color combination. Go for solid and dotted only if you have to.
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Matching a navy suit with a light blue shirt is a familiar territory for many celebrities and regular gents alike. The secret is to match it with a lighter variant of blue and add a tie with an eye-catching pattern.
These two additions will brighten up the suit and increase the power and representation it carries with him. Try to choose a soft variant of blue for the shirt. This way, you can diversify the overall appearance.
For the best and smoothest look, go for foulard or striped ties. Regarding the color, go with more specific variants of red (such as crimson) or striped white and blue tie.
This color combination is perfect for both formal and casual events, leaves a strong impression, and makes you look sharp and smart. At the same time, it creates a clean and relaxed finish. Touche!
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Charcoal Grey Suit
Charcoal grey is a great color that you can choose for a suit, especially if you want to go for a more classic suit type.
Additionally, this color is an excellent option for formal events, including meetings and weddings. It seems that you can never go wrong with a grey colored suit; it is perfect for any occasion.
Charcoal Grey over White
Charcoal grey can be the bane of a suit wearer’s existence because of the many variations. If white is a bit too bright to wear, charcoal grey is the perfect color to use instead.
The problem with this color is its variety. There is a light charcoal grey and a dark charcoal grey – and the spectrum can be huge.
Deciding the tint and shade is a pure taste or opinion, not a fact, as they are all (almost) equal.
Finding out which is better is simply a matter of looking within the closet and finding the current tone of clothes.
Do you own mostly light suits? Then go with a dark charcoal grey for variation. Reverse this if the closet is full of primarily dark clothes.
It should cover a good amount of options for any wearer. The entire debate over the shade of charcoal gray will never end. Make a choice you feel most comfortable with.
Grey Suit & White Shirt Color Combination
Both grey and white are neutral colors. Thus, you can mix this combination with almost every tie. Well, sort of.
Grey suit and white shirt can be matched with a black or navy tie to demonstrate formality. Darker red tones will be a great choice as well.
To achieve a little less-serious and informal look, match a grey suit with a white shirt, along with a grey tie. You can blend them with a brown belt and brown shoes.
Another option is pairing your charcoal gray suit with a blue and black repp striped tie, together with black accessories.
Lastly, I couldn’t help but notice that James Bond simply loves the grey suit and white shirt combo. He usually matches it with a grey or black tie.
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If you prefer a regular fit, my suggestion will be:
Grey Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination
If you feel that the resulting ensemble of the grey suit is a bit “dry”, then a pink shirt will change your point of view.
I suggest matching this combination with a slightly darker variation of pink or violet tie.
One of the several reasons making grey a perfect choice for a pink shirt is that, based on the shade, it can easily be matched with either a blue or black tie.
Additionally, you can go with other dark tie colors, such as maroon.
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Grey Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination
Matching a grey suit and a light blue shirt will lighten your overall appearance. Go for a soft blue shirt, because too bright blue shirt can ruin the elegance of the combination.
In my personal opinion, the best choice for a tie is either navy or blue. However, you want to distinguish the shirt and the tie by adding a significantly darker shade of blue tie.
As an alternative, you can combine a grey tie, a shade that is similar to the shade of the suit. The darker shade is also good, which leads us to another possible option – black tie.
Regardless of the combination, it will give you that bold and intelligent appearance. Perfect for formal events and business occasions.
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Grey Suit & Black Shirt Color Combination
Another shirt option for the grey suit is black. It can be matched together with a grey tie for a fine look. A black tie will work just as good, too.
The point here is that a suit with a charcoal gray color is completely versatile and may easily be paired with almost any kind of ties. As long as your clothing is fitted and well-tailored, you are good to go.
It might come as a surprise to you, though, that my advice is to avoid this combination. Especially if it makes you insecure, even the tiniest bit. The reason – everything else is remarkably better!
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Black is, by all means, considered to be principal color when it comes to suits. It carries a reputation of being severe and authoritative.
Black suits are suitable for every occasion, formal and casual alike. If you have a black suit paired with a white button-down shirt, you can choose a tie that has patterns on it. A dotted tie will be just as elegant, as well.
Unless you prefer to be acknowledged as “formal”. In that case, go for a regimental-striped or foulard ties.
Black Suits are Classic
There is something about black suits that make them stand out. Most of the people wear black than any other color.
That makes sense, though, since black suits are considered to be the most traditional wardrobe in the business world. In fact, every man should have at least one of them.
But the best thing about these suits? They match with (almost) everything, and it is nearly impossible to mess up the coordination of the mixed shirt and tie.
One thing to be careful of is to avoid wearing a suit, shirt, and tie that are all of one color. Especially black.
A “one-color-everything” outfit can only be done by high ranking people in the fashion industry. When a big celebrity wears all in one color, the attention comes from being a rebel rather than coordinating colors.
Black Suit & White Shirt Color Combination
Black suits and white shirts were once the perfect color combination. In my opinion, the same qualities that once made black & white combo perfect, still hold. Besides, it’s a straightforward color combination to pair anything up with.
Red, blue and grey are oftentimes considered as the traditional options for ties that go along well with a black suit and a white shirt.
Other fitting matches include a black suit with striped or foulard gold, black or brown tie. In fact, the spectrum is so huge, that even plaid and paisley ties match just fine.
A thing that you can keep in mind, though, is that black suits are mostly made of wool, a heavy fabric. Your option for both shirts and ties should complement this very well.
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Black Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination
To match a pink shirt with a black suit, choose a more soft and light shade of pink. Too bright and you will ruin the harmony.
Match this combination with a striped pink & dark color tie, like black or navy. Or bring neutrality with something grey or navy. Additionally, you can put a red or darker shade of pink tie.
Pink shirts can like quite good on a black suit, especially if you bring some other element in the combination. It can be a striped or a dotted tie, striped suit, or different shirt’s collar color.
I love this suit & shirt combination. Pink is a very adaptable color and goes along with black just fine. Feel comfortable to try it on!
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Is brown an option? Yes, and based on the fabric can make anyone stand out. Brown suits are a natural earth tone that looks best even when going into the darker colors like chocolate.
The fun thing about this color is that it can quickly alternate between professional and casual. There were times when older gentleman may not agree with brown being a professional color. But, times have changed.
Brown Suit & White Shirt Color Combination
Brown suits are warmer than all other suits. But that doesn’t mean they are strictly casual. In fact, the white shirt fits so well with a brown suit, that I even recommend it for formal or business events alike.
Match this combination with a black, brown, or yellow striped tie, and you’ve got a lovely overall appearance.
Alternatively, you can combine it with a white-dotted brown tie with a darker shade or a slightly lighter analog color solid tie to enhance that warm look of your brown suit.
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Brown Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination
Last but not least, a very introvert yet powerful color combination: a brown suit and a light blue shirt.
Try matching this attire with a striped navy tie or a dotted or solid blue tie. As a matter of fact, it all depends on the warmth of the brown. But you’ve mastered colors by now and will get along just fine, right?
The contract between the warm brown and the coolness of the blue is evident, balanced and in perfect harmony. Don’t hesitate to try it on you.
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Finding the Sweet Spot
Having a variety of colors is a way to avoid getting stuck with nothing to wear. Suits variety is important for any closet.
A wardrobe that lacks even the basic foundation colors will have nothing to fall back on. Start with the base colors. Then, work to mix and match the foundational colors for the best effect.
Brown is no longer just casual and can be used in the business world. Navy blue and charcoal gray are fantastic choices for every occasion.
One thing to notice is that all these colors are just the tip of the iceberg. Thus, they make a great starting point for figuring out the personality within the suit.
If there is a combination that makes you uncertain, skip it through. Go with something certain and already proven.