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.

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.

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 this is only informative. 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 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 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. Thus, the best practice involves matching a darker tone of each variant.

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 are the hardest to match together and 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

There is never going to be a perfect replacement for black other than the navy. It is a color that has a high preference among suit-wearers, and it’s easy to plan around when the time is short.

Navy blue suit, light blue shirt, and blue tie

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 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.

It is often considered an elegant and traditional choice. Play with the clarity of this hue and choose classic blends.

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.

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 color foulard tie, and you will get a perfect result. 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.

 navy wool regular-fit suit by SuitSupplySlim fit white shirt by Calvin Klein
Shlax & Wing foulard tie in brown color Kissties men's striped tie in red color

Navy Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination

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 suit, pink shirt, and navy tie

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.

Classic two-piece navy suit by Tomasso BlackButtoned down tailored fit shirt in pink color
Solid navy tie by the Tie BarPolka dot navy tie with pink dots by Kissties

Navy Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

Matching a navy suit with a light blue shirt is 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.

how to wear a navy suit with blue dress shirt

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. Go with a more specific red color (such as crimson) variant or a striped white and blue tie.

Slim fit navy suit by Calvin KleinSlim fit light blue slim fit shirt by Amazon Essentials
Kissties men's striped tie in red colorBows&Ties striped tie in dark blue (navy) color

Blue Suit

Blue suits provide a modern and fashion-forward look but take some time to master. That’s because blue can be a challenging choice for a suit color.

Blue suits color combinations guide with shirt and tie

Still, several standard shirt and suit combinations blend perfectly.

A crucial thing to notice is that blue suits reflect self-confidence and boldness. It’s attention-seeking and sets you apart from the rest. But the best thing is that it’s a fantastic color to work with.

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.

Two-piece classic stretch blue suit by Tomasso BlackKenneth Cole slim fit shirt in white color
Burgundy tie polka with white dots by Scott AllenDotted royal blue tie by Elfeves

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.

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.

blue wool slim-fit suit by SuitSupplyTailored fit light-pink shirt by Buttoned Down
Purple pink floral tie by Spring NotionDotted tie red color with white dots by Nautica

Again, blue suits require a lot of work to master all the elements. That’s because different shades and hues completely change the overall appearance.

It is why I advise you to read my full guide if you want to dive deeper here.

Blue Suit Guide

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. For example, 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. Darker red tones will be a great choice as well.

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

To achieve a little less serious and informal look, match a grey suit with a white dress shirt, along with a grey tie. You can blend them with a brown belt and brown shoes.

Another option is pairing your charcoal grey 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.

Two-piece light grey suit made of Italian wool by Tomasso BlackSlim fit white shirt by Amazon Essentials
British-striped navy blue tie by Retreezsolid burgundy tie by Kissties

If you prefer a regular fit, my suggestion will be:

Modern fit charcoal grey suit by Tommy HilfigerRegular fit white shirt by Van Hausen
Solid navy blue tie by Pierre CardinSecdtie Striped navy, white and 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 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.

Slim fit medium grey suit by Calvin KleinSlim fit pink shirt by Calvin Klein
Solid dark red tie by ElvirosStriped navy-pink tie by Elfeves

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 a 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 between the shirt and the tie by adding a significantly darker shade of blue tie.

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

As an alternative, you can combine a grey tie, a shade similar to the shade of the suit. A darker shade is also good, which leads us to another possible option – a black tie.

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

Modern fit charcoal grey suit by Tommy HilfigerSlim fit light blue shirt by Kenneth Cole
Blue dotted grey tie by S&LSolid navy blue tie by Pierre Cardin

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 weddings. It seems that you can never go wrong with a charcoal grey; it is perfect for any occasion.

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 and white suit, shirt and tie color combination

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 with patterns. A dotted tie will be just as elegant, as well.

Unless you prefer to be acknowledged as “formal”. In that case, go for regimental-striped or foulard ties.

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 the black & white combo perfect still hold. Besides, it’s a straightforward color combination to pair anything with.

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

Black suit, white shirt and blue tie color combination

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.

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.

Stretch slim fit black suit by Calvin KleinPremium cutaway collar white dress shirt by Hockerty
British-striped navy blue tie by RetreezKissties men's striped tie in red color

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 on a red or darker shade of pink tie.

Black suit, pink shirt and navy-pink tie color combination

Pink shirts can like quite good on a black suit, especially if you bring some other element into the combination. For example, it can be a striped or dotted tie, a striped suit, or a 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 trying it on!

made-to-measure wool black suit by HockertyTailored fit light-pink shirt by Buttoned Down
Striped navy, white and black tie by SecdtieStriped navy-pink tie by Elfeves

Brown Suit

Is brown an option? Yes, and based on the fabric can make anyone stand out. Brown suits have a natural earth tone and provide some excellent shirt and suit combinations.

Brown suit color combination

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

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.

brown suit & white shirt color combinations

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.

Slim fit brown suit by Kenneth ColeKenneth Cole slim fit in white color
Striped browh with white tie by Scott AllanShlax & Wing foulard tie in brown color

Brown Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

Last but not least, a very introverted 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. So don’t hesitate to try it on you.

Modern fit brown suit by Tommy HilfigerSlim fit blue shirt by Tommy Hilfiger
Solid navy tie by the Tie BarBows&Ties striped tie in dark blue (navy) color

Tan Suit

Tan suits can accentuate youth, depending on the wearer. Thus, it leaves a first impression that lasts for a lifetime.

A very functional color just by design; it has the right amount of color in it. Tan is actually a shade of brown, just brighter.

tan suit, white shirt, and brown tassel loafers

Tan is considered the most casual color for suits. I will 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 shirt, and brown tie color combination

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 slim-fit suit by ChamaSlim fit white shirt by Amazon Essentials
Van Heusen regular fit white shirtBrown polka tie with white dots by Scott Allen

Tan Suit & Pink Shirt Color Combination

Pink is a vibrant color and can be a lovely complement to a tan suit.

wearing a tan suit with a striped light pink shirt

Opt for soft pink rather than bright shades. Even the pale pink works perfectly to warm up the tan hue.

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.

Slim-fit tan suit by FerrecciMetal Cufflink Regular Fit Pink Shirt by J.Ver
Paisley floral tie by MantieqingwayBrown tie with white dots by Retreez

Tan Suit & Blue Shirt Color Combination

Tan and blue go well together for the same reason that black and white do. Blue is colder and calmer, and tan is its warmer counterpart.

Tan suit, blue shirt, and navy tie

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.

Slim-fit tan suit by SuitsupplySlim fit light blue shirt by Kenneth Cole
light blue slim fit shirt by Amazon EssentialsDotted navy-blue tie with light-blue dots by Retreez

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.

Pin It on Pinterest