What you need to know about pairing your shirt and tie

What you need to know about pairing your shirt and tie

Looking for something to cut through the 9-5? You could streak through the office, bring an alpaca to work OR get creative with your shirt and tie combination. At least one of these options ensures you’ll have a job at the end of the day.

The basics

  1. Your tie should ALWAYS be darker than your shirt, no exceptions.
  2. It’s all about getting the hue right. Take blue and orange for example. These colours are a go-to combination but may be a bit much when paired at full strength. Tone it down with a light blue shirt and burnt orange tie to achieve the perfect balance.
  3. Mix up your patterns. Thin striped shirts should be matched with wide striped ties, gingham shirts should be matched with a fine spotted tie etc.

Style ideas

Keeping it simple

Let’s begin with the backbone of your business wardrobe, the white shirt.

Blue suit + white shirt + chestnut brogues + yellow waffle knit tie
Grey suit + white shirt + chocolate brown brogues + maroon and grey gingham check tie
Taupe suit + white shirt + tan brogues + silver-green tie with fine diagonal stripe

When it comes to plain coloured shirts, we love the idea of tonality with a touch of colour. For example, pair a light blue coloured shirt with a navy tie flecked with a geometric orange pattern, complete with a navy suit.

Today’s unintentional style inspiration: blue cheese-stuffed olives. #

A photo posted by EJ Samson (@ejsamson) on Aug 3, 2015 at 10:16am PDT

The classic business pattern

Stripes are a universal pattern worn by businessmen everywhere. Here’s how to bring them to life with a tie.

Deep taupe suit + maroon fine striped shirt + chestnut brogues + rust-coloured flecked tie
Navy suit + fine striped plum shirt + tan brogues + navy tie with diagonal rust stripes
Navy suit + wide striped blue shirt + chocolate brown brogues + plain plum coloured tie

The key to styling a striped shirt with a tie is to ensure the tie is the focal point. Don’t let the stripes on the shirt detract from the tie, rather, use the tie to cut through the stripes.

Early entry into my July 4 outfit? 🇺🇸 A photo posted by EJ Samson (@ejsamson) on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:55am PDT


From plaid to gingham, checkered business shirts are one of the hardest styles to match with a tie. We’ve got a few combos up our sleeve to make it easier to get dressed in the morning.

Navy suit + cobalt blue gingham shirt + chestnut brogues + jacquard pink tie
Taupe suit + Green and red plaid shirt + chocolate suede shoes + brown waffle knit tie
Charcoal suit + fine blue check shirt + chocolate brown brogues + grey and blue diagonal stripe tie

Checkered shirts often embody more than two colour combinations, allowing you to mix and match easily with your tie. For example, a fine green-orange-blue gingham shirt will easily pick up the colours in either a navy, teal or maroon tie, offering you endless styling possibilities.

Bluesday/Check out @esquire’s new selfie wall #ejsamson #menswear #mensfashion #mensfashionpost

A photo posted by EJ Samson (@ejsamson) on Oct 27, 2015 at 9:04am PDT

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