Colour co-ordinated – a shirt and tie guide

Shirt and tie

Do you feel that you haven’t fully mastered the art of a matching shirt and tie? From deciding which colours go well together to realising the prints that complement each other, it can be tricky. Here with a comprehensive shirt and tie guide is men’s dress shirt retailer and experts in male fashion:

Colour complimenting

When complementing your shirt and tie shades, try to keep this advice in mind:

One safe option for a shirt and tie is to choose a colour ‘theme’. Are you creating a cool or warm colour palette? Cool colours are blues, purples and greens and warm hues include reds, oranges and yellows.

The tie should always be darker than the shirt. So, to match a cool-coloured shirt and tie, you would pair a navy coloured tie with a light-blue shirt. Similarly, a burgundy tie would match well with a pink shirt.

For a braver move, you could mix up the themes. Try a warm colour such as red against a cool blue background — this is a simple way of making your look standout.

Colours that are opposite to each other on the colour wheel create the most striking appearance. If you’re going for a bold look, this can be a good move. Think orange ties against blue shirts and hues of purple against green.

If you opt for a white shirt, this can act as a blank canvas for most ties. Go monochrome with a classic black tie or mix it up with bright purple.

Colour combinations

Style match

You may own a favourite shirt with a classic collar, but is it suitable to wear with a bow tie to a formal event?

A classic collar is a traditional collar shape. This matches well with a four-in-hand knot (the classic tie).

A cutaway collar is one that has wider collar points that are angled outwards instead of pointing down. These should be worn with a full or half Windsor tie knot.

The semi-cutaway collar is halfway between a classic collar and a cutaway collar. To complement this shape, a larger knot such as a half or full Windsor is a good choice.

Some shirts have an extreme cutaway collar. This is a very widespread collar, with tips cut away and facing towards the shoulders. Slim ties and small tie knots match well with these shirts.

What about a button-down collar? This is where each side of the collar is fastened to the shirt with a button. This can be worn without a tie and still look smart.

When it comes to formal wear, it’s often a wing collar that you’ll be wearing. This is designed for an evening shirt and should be worn with bow tie and tuxedo.


Perfect prints

If you want to incorporate some edginess to your shirt and tie combo, introducing prints is the way forward. But, how can you avoid a print faux pas?

A common rule is that the pattern on the tie should be larger than that on the shirt. Although, if the tie is bright and bold anyways, this rule could be broken to an extent.

When it comes to a striped shirt, a stylish way to match a tie is with more stripes. Avoid choosing the same size stripes and instead choose complementing hues as mentioned above. Interestingly, polka dots contrast well with a striped shirt too.

If you wear a small-patterned tie with a check shirt, the tie can become lost against its background. Therefore, choose a tie with a bold print when wearing a gingham shirt — think paisley, for example.

A good tip for dressing prints is to take the tie’s minor colour and pair this with the major colour in your shirt. If your tie has light blue pinstripes for example, opt for a light blue shirt.


There you have it: the complete guide to a shirt and tie. Think warm and cool hues for a safe look or opt for bold prints in contrasting colours for something more out-there.

If you want to add some men’s jewelry or accessories, check out “Should men wear bracelets?” by Azuro Republic.

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