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It can be a little tricky to match a shirt and tie with your suit color. However, choosing the right color combination can make you look classy, elegant, and presentable.

First impressions usually last. That’s why fitting your suit is essential. But so is the color combination between the suit, shirt, and tie.

Actually, your suit color is the first thing someone will notice – even before the brand, the cut, and the number of buttons.

Let’s 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 occasion play a crucial role in choosing a color.

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.

Basically, 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.

the color wheel: cool vs. warm colors

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 these are only the basics. Mastering the color combinations will come from experience.

One Color Shades Scheme

One-color scheme: Navy suit, soft blue shirt and a blue tie

This color scheme involves using the same color palette for 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 blue tie as an example.

Analog Colors Scheme

Analog colors scheme: Pink shirt and red tie color combination

This scheme matches colors that are similar to each other. Based on the color wheel, similar colors are considered next (adjacent) to each other.

This color scheme usually means that the tie will be slightly warmer than the shirt and the suit. It’s a color combination that is pretty acceptable to the human eye and (almost) never leads to a mistake.

Contrasting Colors Scheme

Contrasting colors scheme: Blue suit and a red tie

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 is red and blue. It’s no wonder why red ties pair so well with soft blue shirts and dark blue or navy suits.

Complementary Colors Scheme

Complementary colors scheme: Navy suit dark orange tie color combination

These colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel. As a result, they usually require a lot of sense and experience to pull off a stylish appearance.

To match these colors together on a suit properly, match a tie with a darker tone (shade) from the shirt. As an example, match a grey suit, orange tie, and a soft blue shirt.

Navy Suit

A navy suit is a way to go for people who need to stick with a dark color but still want to make a more exclusive impression.

Navy blue suit, light blue shirt, and blue tie

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 suit would be viewed as inappropriate.

These suits have a high preference among suit-wearers. It’s an easy color to plan around when the time is short.

Navy Suit & White Shirt Color Combination

It was proven that white shirts pair excellently 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.

navy wool suit, white dress shirt, navy tie, and black loafers

Match this combination with a solid color tie like navy, blue, grey, or red. Striped ties would also be an excellent choice for navy suits.

Alternatively, choose a dark-colored foulard tie. For instance, you can try putting on a navy suit with a navy or brown tie.

navy suit with white shirt, black shoes and brown tie

Also, to come up with a modernized look, you can choose a skinny tie, experimenting with one of the slim tie knots.

Italian wool navy suit by Tomasso Black.

Slim-fit herringbone white shirt by Calvin Klein.

Brown polka tie with white dots by Scott Allen.

Double monk-strap shoes by La Milano.

Navy Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination

To have an edgier twist, why not combine a pink shirt with your navy suit?

Pink automatically attracts attention. If you want to achieve an authoritative type of look, match it together with a red tie.

navy blue suit, pink dress shirt, grey tie, and black derby shoes

A navy tie is considered a great option as well. As an alternative, however, you may want to go for a purple or 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.

Navy Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

The secret to matching a navy suit with a light blue shirt is to go with a lighter shirt variant 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 it.

how to wear a navy suit with blue dress shirt

For the best and smoothest look, go for foulard or striped ties. Go with a more specific red color (such as crimson) variant or a striped white and blue tie.

Blue Suit

Blue suits provide a modern and fashion-forward look but take some time to master. Still, several standard shirt and suit combinations blend perfectly.

Blue suit matched with a red tie

For the best appearance, match the blue suit with a white dress shirt. It really empowers the blue suit. Finally, finish the look with a red, soft blue, or dark blue tie.

Classic blue suit by Tomasso Black.

White slim-fit shirt by Kenneth Cole. View on Amazon.

Burgundy dotted tie by Scott Allen. View on Amazon.

Brown monk strap shoes by Kenneth Cole. View on Amazon.

Another color that blends in perfectly with blue is pink. A soft pink shirt will provide a nice contrast to the blue suit, creating a shirt and suit color combo that is both contemporary and pleasing to the eye.

blue suit, pink dress shirt, and brown Oxford shoes

The color wheel shows a plethora of color options for a tie. Certainly, you can go for a blue, light red, or pink tie.

But my favorite tie choices will be navy ties with pink decorations like dots, stripes, or floral segments.

Grey Suits

Grey can be the bane of a suit wearer’s existence because of the many variations. But the problem with this color is exactly its variety.

There is a light grey and a dark charcoal grey – and the spectrum can be huge.

light grey vs. charcoal grey suit difference

Deciding on the tint and shade can be made based on the occasion and the formality. That said, darker suits tend to be more formal than light ones.

Grey Suit & White Shirt Color Combination

Both grey and white are neutral colors. Thus, you can mix this combination with almost every tie.

A grey suit and white shirt can be matched with a black or navy tie to demonstrate formality.

Grey suit, white dress shirt, black tie and black oxford shoes

Another option is to go with a blue or black striped tie together with black accessories.

Brown or dark red tones will be a great choice as well. You can finish the look with a brown belt and brown shoes.

patterned light grey suit, white shirt, maroon tie, and burgundy loafers

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.

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.

grey suit, pink striped shirt, and white sneakers

I suggest matching this combination with a slightly darker variation of a pink, violet, or maroon tie. Even better, you can skip the tie altogether.

Grey Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

Match the grey suit and a light blue shirt to lighten your overall appearance. Too bright blue shirts can ruin the elegance of the combination.

In my opinion, the best choice for a tie is either navy or dark blue. Alternatively, you can combine a grey tie, darker or similar to the suit shade.

James Bond wears grey suit, light blue shirt and blue tie

Regardless of the combination, it will give you that bold and intelligent appearance. Perfect for formal events and business occasions.

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.

Dark grey (charcoal) suit, white shirt, grey tie and black shoes color combination

Additionally, this color is an excellent option for formal events, including meetings and formal business settings.

However, matching the charcoal suit perfectly might need a little practice. That’s why I’ve created a complete guide on all the possible charcoal-grey suits, shirts, and tie combinations.

Charcoal Grey Suit Guide →

Light Grey Suit

If white is too bright to wear, light grey is the perfect color to use instead.

Light grey suit and white shirt color combination

The light grey suit feels like a cool breeze swooping in to shake things up. It can be a little trickier, however, to match shirts and ties to a light grey suit.

If you’re solely interested in matching a light-grey suit with a shirt and tie, read the complete guide:

Light Grey Suit Guide →

Black Suit

Black is, by all means, considered to be the principal color when it comes to suits. It carries a reputation for being severe and authoritative.

black suit, white dress shirt, burgundy tie, and burgundy oxford shoes

Black suits are considered mostly formal but can be suitable for traditional and casual occasions alike.

However, keep in mind that black suits are mostly made of wool, a heavy fabric. So your option for both shirts and ties should complement this very well.

Black Suit & White Shirt Color Combination

A black suit and white shirt make the most straightforward color combinations to pair anything with.

Red, blue, and black are often considered traditional color options for ties that go along well with a black suit and a white shirt.

Black suit, white dress shirt and black monk strap shoes

Gold, grey, or brown ties are some wonderful alternatives. But you can also choose a tie with patterns.

Some fitting matches include dotted, striped, or foulard ties. In fact, the black suit is so versatile that plaid and paisley ties will be just as elegant.

Shop the Look

Slim-fit wool black suit by Suitsupply.

Slim-fit white dress shirt by Suitsupply.

Navy blue tie by Ties.com.

Double monk straps by Suitsupply.

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.

black pinstripe suit, pink shirt, purple tie, and black oxford shoes

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 on a red or darker shade of pink tie.

Brown Suit

Brown suits have a natural earth-tone look and provide some excellent shirt and suit combinations.

Brown double-breasted suit, white dress shirt, grey dotted tie and brown Chelsea boots

The fun thing about this color is that it can quickly alternate between professional and casual.

There were times when older gentlemen may disagree with brown being a professional color. But times have changed.

Brown Suit & White Shirt Color Combination

The white shirt pairs so well with a brown suit that I even recommend it for formal or business events alike.

brown suit, white dress shirt, tan tie and brown loafers

Match this combination with a black, maroon, or navy tie, and you’ve got a lovely overall appearance.

Alternatively, pair it with a white-dotted brown tie for a warmer look. Or, opt for a solid brown tie in a slightly lighter shade than your suit to enhance its richness.

Brown Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

A brown suit and a light blue shirt is a very introverted yet powerful color combination.

Try matching it 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.

Brown three-piece suit, blue dress shirt, navy tie and black brogues

The contract between the warm brown and the coolness of the blue is evident, balanced, and in perfect harmony. So don’t hesitate to try it on you.

But you’ve mastered colors by now and will get along just fine, right?

Tan Suit

Tan suits can accentuate youth, depending on the wearer. A very functional color just by design, tan is actually a shade of brown, just brighter.

tan suit, white shirt, and brown tassel loafers

Tan is considered one of the most casual colors for suits. I avoid them if I want to leave a serious or strong business impression.

The shirt and tie color combination makes a huge difference in the overall appearance, though.

Tan Suit & White Shirt Color Combination

A white shirt is a perfect match for a tan suit.

It is an acceptable color combination for casual circumstances like celebrations, summer events, and even a date night.

Tan suit, white dress shirt, blue tie and brown monk strap shoes

Brown, gold, blue, and navy are the best and classiest choices for a tie. Since this is somehow a more casual combo, leaving the time at home is also acceptable.

Tan Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination

Pink is a vibrant color and can be a lovely complement to a tan suit. Just opt for soft or pale pink rather than bright shades.

wearing a tan suit with a striped light pink shirt

A brown or purple tie can be the perfect match for this suit and shirt color combination. But the most unusual yet astonishing choice would be a floral tie.

Tan Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

These two colors work really well together. Mostly, it’s because blue is colder and calmer, and tan is its warmer counterpart.

double-breasted khaki suit, blue shirt, and brown loafers

A pale blue shirt softens the tan suit and cools the tones of the overall appearance. Match the suit and the shirt with a blue, navy, or charcoal grey tie to formalize the look.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Having a variety of suit jacket colors is a way to avoid getting stuck with nothing to wear. The suit color is the foundation when matching your formal attire.

A wardrobe that lacks the basic suit, shirt, and tie colors will have nothing to fall back on.

suit color formality scale

So start with the base colors. Then, work to mix and match shirt and suit combinations for the best effect.

For example, brown is no longer just casual and can be used in the business world.

Still, navy blue and charcoal grey are fantastic options for every occasion and the most common first suit choices.

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. Instead, go with something certain and already proven.

Alexander Stoicoff

Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.