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.
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
1. COLOR CHOICES
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.
WHEN PAIRING TWO COLORS
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 :-
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.
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.
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
WHEN PAIRING MORE THAN TWO 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:
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.
See outfit style idea below: Brad Goreski is wearing a Blue, Red, and Yellow Triadic
Tetradic Color Scheme:
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)
Also Read: A GUIDE TO MATCHING YOUR SHOES & YOUR SUIT
UNIVERSAL SHIRT COLORS
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.
Yours in Style,
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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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