Learning how to match your dress shirt and tie is crucial if you want to look your best. Luckily, there are just four simple points you need to consider when choosing a shirt and tie combination. Here, we’ll break them down one by one so you can start looking sharper than ever before!
Understanding Color Combinations
The first point you need to have a grasp on is color matching. To begin, you'll need a brief breakdown of color theory:
- Colors are broadly separated into two types: warm and cool. Warm colors are generally thought to be more “vibrant.” For example, some warm colors include red, orange, and yellow. Cooler colors are considered to be "calmer." Some cool colors include blue, green, and purple.
- Certain colors go well together according to color theory. However, there are different schemes depending on your fashion and aesthetic goals.
Here are a few examples of different color schemes:
- Monochromatic color schemes involve matching a darker version of a color with its lighter version. For instance, match light blue with navy blue.
- Analogous color schemes mean pairing adjacent colors on the color wheel. For instance, blue is adjacent to purple/burgundy.
- Triadic color schemes require choosing colors that form a triangle on a color wheel. For instance, blue, red, and yellow is a triadic color scheme.
When you’re starting out, it’s best to match your shirt and tie by using one of the first two color schemes. These are easier to grasp and ensure that your suit and tie will complement one another. Once you get more comfortable with these basics, you can begin experimenting with other color schemes.
Next, you also need to know how to choose patterns for your tie and shirt. Use these tips to help you match patterns:
- Choose a pattern for your tie that is similar in design but contrasting in proportion to the pattern on your shirt.
- Alternatively, you can make yourself stand out by picking a tie with a pattern that’s starkly different from the one on your shirt.
- Another good style strategy is to match a patterned shirt with a solid tie, or vice versa.
Above all, remember the color theory tips mentioned above when choosing the color of the patterns on your tie and shirt.
To Contrast or Not to Contrast
You should also consider the tone of your shirt, as this can affect whether it contrasts your tie too much or just right.
Low-contrast colors have a relatively muted appearance and their “tone” is low. The reverse is true for high-contrast shirts—they have a bolder appearance and a higher “tone.”
High-contrast colored shirts should more often be paired with a lower tone tie, and vice versa. That’s because it helps the tie and shirt look like distinct clothing articles. If you don’t do this correctly, your tie could look like it blends into your shirt.
Figuring Out Fabrics
The last point to consider is the tie fabric, as this affects its look. Use the following tips when selecting your tie fabric:
- Silk ties are great choices for the summer months since they are lightweight. Many silk ties can be found in colorful, vibrant, and high-contrast color schemes.
- Linen and cotton ties are also good choices for the spring and summer months since they're lightweight. You can usually find linen and cotton ties in a wide range of pastel colors.
- Woolen ties are better for cooler months since they are heavier and thicker. You can more often find woolen ties in darker or earthy colors.
Bringing It All Together
So, let’s break down all the steps on how to match your shirt and tie:
- Start by choosing complementary colors. We’d recommend going with colors that are either lighter and darker versions of one another or colors that are next to one another on a standard color wheel.
- Pick a pattern (and pattern color) for your tie that works well with the pattern or solid color of your dress shirt.
- Make sure the tie and dress shirt have enough contrast so it’s clear that they are distinct articles.
- Choose a tie material suitable for the occasion or weather.
If you complete these steps successfully, you’ll truly look sharp when you show up to your next event!
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