Here is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd of faceless. A tan suit.

That isn’t what you were expecting to hear now, was it? Tan is not your standard suit color, but it is beautiful when paired correctly.

However, tan is a casual color that is typically only appropriate for warm climates. It won’t work for just any event.

Tan vs. Beige and Khaki Suits

Color descriptions such as tan, beige, or khaki can confuse people. Not everybody necessarily pictures the same thing.

beige vs. tan vs. khaki vs. brown suit

These are various shades of brown, and they aren’t as easy to picture as when you hear “red” or “green.”

Tan is a light shade of pure brown. Think of brown that has been made paler by adding white.

Beige is another version of light brown; however, this version has some yellow and green tones added. When compared to pure brown, the different tones pop out.

Khaki is the easiest to understand. It has more yellow to it than brown. Sometimes, it almost seems like a very dark cream color.

Tan Suit Matching Colors

Tan is considered a neutral color, making it one of the easiest colors to pair.

tan suit color combinations with a shirt and tie

There is quite a lot that you can match to neutral colors, although that does not mean that everything matches.

In fact, there are two major color fails that you can make when wearing tan.

The first mistake would be wearing a super bold color with a tan.

Tan is a bland color. Adding a touch of brightness is perfectly fine, but it is possible to overdo it.

Tan suit, white dress shirt, floral tie and brown suede loafers

Very bold or bright colors will risk overwhelming the delicacy of the neutral tan. That would leave the bold color looking garish instead.

The other possible mistake would be to pair only with colors that are too similar. Instead, try to add darker colors to your shoes or accessories.

tan suit matching with brown and black

Not to mention, such a bland color from head to toe is boring. Be mindful of tossing in a completely different tone to complement your tan.

Tan Suit and White Shirt Color Combinations

A white dress shirt is a staple for any suit. It is crisp, smart, and professional-looking.

tan suit, white dress shirt, and brown tassel loafers

Because no matter what color your suit is, a white dress shirt is the most effective way to dress it up.

So if you are uncertain what to pair with a tan suit for a more formal occasion, play it safe with a classic white shirt.

Brown Tie

A brown tie paired with a white dress shirt keeps your color scheme neutral. It’s my favorite tan suit color combination by far.

A dark brown tie creates a subtle contrast to the light shades in the suit. It’s an excellent way to add a bit of distinction without being too heavy-handed.

Black Tie

A black tie is considered a standard match with a white dress shirt. It is a safe bet, even with a tan suit.

Grey Tie

A grey tie works along similar lines as a black tie. Because the grey is a variation of black, it creates a more muted version of the black-tie style.

Gold Tie

A gold tie adds a surprising twist to any suit. It is possibly the most unexpected pairing with a tan suit, and surprising how well it works.

The gold in the tie plays up the brow and yellow undertones in the suit. It brightens up what can easily be a drab outfit. If you want to create a bit of flash, a gold tie is a great way to do it.

Blue/Navy Tie

It is one of the most delightful and classiest-looking color combinations possible. There is room to play and experiment with the shades of blue.

A dark blue is a warming hue. It will make the white shirt pop, looking even crisper. A shade of blue that veers more toward pastel is a very summery, cool look.

Tan Suit and Pink Shirt Color Combinations

Pink is a very modern touch to a tan suit. It is a pleasant change of pace from the expected.

tan suit, pink dress shirt, brown striped tie, and brown loafers

Pink is a versatile color, able to be either subtle or bold, depending on the shade.

A soft pink shirt is a lovely complement to tan, too. Even pale shades work to warm up the tan hue.

Opt for ties that will play up the warmth of the shade of your suit.

Brown Tie

A brown tie can be the perfect match for a tan suit combined with a pink shirt. Just try to pick the right tone of brown.

A tie that is too dark may come across as too dominating. It could look clunky next to the playful shades of pink and tan.

Purple Tie

A purple paired with pink and tan is tricky but can look amazing when done correctly.

A royal shade of purple looks stunning without being too bold. The lighter tones in the suit make the purple stand out.

Pink Tie

Any dash of pink paired with a suit is generally surprising. However, to match a pink-on-pink color combination with a tan suit is a very unexpected twist.

I suggest choosing a tie that is a shade or two darker than the shirt. A matte material would work best; a satiny, shiny material will cheapen the look.

Navy Tie

Pink and navy go together like cookies and milk. The navy mutes the pink and adds a touch of maturity. Either a dotted or a solid navy tie will work with this ensemble.

Floral Tie

Another way to add an unexpected twist to your tan suit is to pair it with a floral tie. It can be quite bold and make a fun statement.

Pinks, purples, and blues are all wonderful colors to incorporate into a floral tie.

Tan Suit and Blue Shirt Color Combinations

Tan and blue are a natural fit together. Blue is a calming color; pairing it with tan is the ultimate in a soothing, relaxed style.

Tan suit, light blue dress shirt and brown loafers

A pale blue shirt is the best shade to soften the tan and cool the tones of the suit, creating a beautiful color palate.

If you are going for a casual vibe, denim blue is the shirt you absolutely must wear. It is classy yet ultra-relaxed.

Blue Tie

To extend the cooling effect, add a blue tie with your blue shirt. Steer clear of looking too matchy-matchy with similar shades. A blue that is a few shades darker will be head-turning.

If you are feeling adventurous, experiment with a jaunty turquoise. This is very modern and trendy. And bonus points for such a playful color scheme!

Navy Tie

If you want to go in the opposite direction and warm up your suit, pair it with a navy tie. The dark shade will up the suit’s formality level by a notch while still being relaxed.

Navy is a very confident color. It is the perfect complement to tan because the warmth of the shade brings out the brown hues. Also, it subdues the brightness of the tan.

Orange Tie

An orange tie will mute the blue, making it dressier than a light tie would. Also, the blue shirt will accent the complementary undertones of the orange.

This look is extremely hard to pull off but can leave a really astonishing impression. The secret is to match the shade, and the color wheel can really help you with that.

Floral Tie

A floral tie will stand out against a light blue background. But choose a tie that has a blue or navy background.

Tan Suit and Striped/Checked Shirts

Try wearing a patterned shirt with your tan suit for the ultimate in sporting a casual suit.

wearing a tan suit with a striped light pink shirt

A checked or subtly striped shirt is the epitome of summer casual.

Since pink is such an amazing complement to tan, you can’t go wrong with a pink-striped shirt and navy tie.

If your office observes business casual, that is the perfect place to make a splash with this combination.

You can also wear blue or pale purple checks or stripes if you are heading to a casual outdoor event, like a casual wedding. You will own the event with your amazing fashion sense.

Dress Shoes for Tan Suits

In most cases, you may want to wear brown or burgundy shoes. They will complement your tan suit as well as bring out the warmth of the coloring.

However, brown shoes are the best choice because they match the tan’s earthy tones.

how to wear tan pants and brown brogue derby shoes

Black shoes are best when you wear colors that bring out the cool tones in your suit or wear a black tie. So it’s best to leave the black shoes for other suit colors.

However, you’re not limited to dark shades only. You can also wear light brown or white shoes if trying to dress more casually.

Because of the casual nature of the tan suit, you have more freedom and flexibility in picking out the shoe style.

Traditional Oxfords and Derbys will help make your suit a bit dressier.

black oxford vs. derby shoes

However, if you are playing up the casual aspect of your suit, a nice monk strap or loafer looks top-notch.

More Ways to Wear a Tan Suit

Wearing a tan suit doesn’t have to be a puzzling fashion challenge.

With its versatile color palette, a tan suit can serve as a canvas for a range of style expressions, even when you’re aiming for something more relaxed.

Beyond the classic dress shirt and tie, there are alternative ways to style this wardrobe staple that can fit various occasions and personal preferences.

Swapping the Dress Shirt with a T-Shirt

Crew neck and v-neck T-shirts give a casual yet stylish twist to the tan suit.

tan suit, white t-shirt, and brown suede derby shoes

If a T-shirt seems too simple or informal, a polo shirt can elevate the casualness with its collar detail.

The key is to ensure the T-shirt is in pristine condition – clean, well-fitted, and free of graphic prints.

tan suit, burgundy polo shirt, and brown sneakers

You can stick to neutral colors like white or black to maintain a chic look. Or add a pop of color with pastel or striped options for a more playful vibe.

Separating the Suit Jacket and Pants

One of the great things about a suit is the ability to break it into separates.

For a start, the suit jacket can be paired with different-colored suit pants or even chinos for a smart-casual look.

tan blazer, white crew neck t-shirt, black chinos, and black Chelsea boots

Contrasting pants like navy or even black create an excellent base to match other garments.

For a more cohesive look, stick to a T-shirt under the suit jacket. You can also replace your standard dress shoes with a pair of white sneakers.

tan blazer, striped T-shirt, beige pants, and white sneakers

Alternatively, pair the suit pants with a blue button-down or a contrasting blazer.

Few Words About the Formality of the Tan Suit

The tan suit is a light shade that is breezy and casual. It is perhaps the most casual way to wear a suit.

Tan has traditionally been considered an unacceptable suit color in many situations. As a result, you will rarely see one around a professional office.

These days, a business casual setting is a fine place to break out your tan suit. It is more acceptable these days as a bright change from drab shades.

For the most part, though, tan is considered mainly for social or seasonal wear. So wear it mostly in summer and never for formal events.

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.