How to Match Your Tie to Your Suits and Shirts (Part 1 of 2)

 If you can’t figure out how to pair your work and formal pieces, read on to discover how to match your tie to your suit or shirt.

 how to match your suit, shirt and tie

With so many options available when it comes to color, pattern, and texture, it’s no surprise that a lot of men struggle with creating the harmonious suit, shirt and tie look. Fortunately, you can create the perfect pairing by separating your choices into two categories: COLOR CHOICES and PATTERN CHOICES. 

Before you even think about color choices for your shirt and tie, one of the most basic rules is …

Your shirt should always be lighter than your tie. While suit colors may vary, it’s best to go for a tie that is darker in shade than your shirt

 Also Read: How to Match Ties to Pocket Squares



The color wheel (see image below) offers an easy way to visualize how various colors combine together. When considering colors, there are two basic choices, complementary and analogous.

I’m sure some of you might be thinking “Why do I need to know about all these color terms, I just want to learn how to match my suit, tie, and shirt”.

Right? Yeah, I know…but it’s important you understand these terms because – colors are an important part of pairing and creating a comprehensive outfit with a suit, shirt, and tie.


match shirt tie suit

Detailed Color Wheel



Complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the wheel, while analogous (also known as adjacent colors) are those that are next to each other. See details below :-

match shirt tie suit

A) A combination of complementary colors involves choosing two colors that are found on exact opposite sides of the color wheel. These colors are highly contrasting and look very bold if put together. They are also tricky to use in large doses but work well when you want something to stand out.

READ  Tuxedo vs Suit - What's The Difference Between a Tuxedo And Suit?

For those of you less experienced in color mixing and matching, you should avoid this color scheme until you are more experienced and confident to pull it off. In general, this color scheme must be managed well so it is not jarring.

For example, Blue is direct contrasting color is orange, red’s complementary color is green and yellow’s complementary color is purple. [Refer to the Detailed Color Wheel above]

See outfit style idea below: An orange tie with a blue shirt and a navy suit.


match shirt tie suit

B) Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. These combinations are very simple yet highly elegant. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable designs. An analogous color combination can include a light pink shirt with a burgundy tie or a light blue shirt with a navy tie. The idea is to choose one color to dominate, a second to support. Then if there is a third color it should be used (along with black, white, navy or gray) as an accent.

See outfit style idea below: a navy tie paired with a light blue shirt

 match shirt tie suit

Recommended: Men’s Guide To Power Dressing – The Best Business POWER Colors


When pairing more than two colors, there are several other color categories, including triadic and tetradic (rectangle and square). Each of these utilizes three to four contrasting colors to create stunning combinations.

A. Triadic Color Scheme: 


match shirt tie suit

A Triadic Color Scheme involves choosing colors that form a triangle within the color wheel. Examples of this include purple, green and orange or blue, red and yellow. When you use two of the three colors from a triad, you have a triadic variation.

For example, choosing Red-Blue from the primary triad or Green-Orange from the secondary triad. To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced – you must first choose a color that you will use as the primary color (let this color dominate) then use the two others for accent.

READ  Learn How To Wear A Double Breasted Suit

See outfit style idea below: Brad Goreski is wearing a Blue, Red, and Yellow Triadic

match shirt tie suit

Tetradic Color Scheme:

match shirt tie suit

A Tetradic Color Scheme is very difficult to pull off, this involves combining four colors from the color wheel, either equally spaced as a square or unequally spaced as a rectangle. Examples of this include red, purple, yellow-green and blue-green or purple, red-orange, yellow and blue-green. 

A square tetrad incorporates two complementary pairs. To use a tetradic harmony successfully, pick a dominant color and let the others be subdued.

See outfit style idea below: Purple Jacket, Red Pant, Yellow and Green Belt (Tetradic)

match shirt tie suit






When trying to find versatile dress shirts, white, light blue, and light pink shirts are the best, as they are flexible for color pairings. Even if you wear a basic shirt, like the men’s athleisure collection from District Clothing, you can keep these colors in mind to effortlessly supplement your style.


When it comes to patterns, you’ll still need to consider the different colors in each shirt, tie, and suit to ensure they work together. Let’s talk about Pattern Choices. Shall we?

We’ve covered it all in Part 2 of this article. Head over here to learn about wearing, mixing and matching patterns.

Read – How to Match Your Tie to Your Suits and Shirts (Part 2 of 2) 


Yours in Style,

Mr. Kobi
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This article has been written collaboratively by Kobi O. Mbagwu [Mr. Kobi] and Carolyn Clarke.


Carolyn Clarke is a freelance fashion writer and stylist from Los Angeles, California. Dedicated to all things style, she is passionate about designing new outfits for men and creating a bold statement with each piece. With her expert insights in the fashion industry, she continues to make a bold difference by guaranteeing the best colors, prints, and textures in her curated outfits. 

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Mr. Kobi

I am Mr. Kobi, a professional style consultant, menswear blogger & entrepreneur who uses fashion to change people’s lives. My personal goal is to help gentlemen dress better, live well, do well and develop a unique personal style that matches with their lifestyle and goals. I believe that success can be built through style. I believe that fashion is a tool that can be used to change people’s lives positively. I strongly believe that if you dress well, you look good, and if you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you worry less, and the less you worry the more you are able to stay motivated and focused in your goals pursuit and by so doing you are able to live a more fulfilling and successful life.