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What color dress shirts to wear to work?

Selecting the right dress shirt color for work can seem tricky. The color you choose projects an image and sends subtle messages about your personality and professionalism. While white and light blue shirts are classic options, don’t be afraid to branch out into bolder hues as well. This article will overview the best dress shirt colors for the office and provide tips on how to wear them.

Traditional and Safe Colors

Some dress shirt colors are universally accepted in professional settings. These traditional shades are your best bet when you want to project a polished, competent image at work.


A crisp white dress shirt is a timeless choice. White shirts give off a clean, professional vibe and pair well with suits in nearly any color. While bright white shirts can appear stark, an off-white or light ecru shade is softer and just as versatile.

Light Blue

Light or powder blue is another beloved office shirt color. These cool, calming shades read as professional and dependable. Light blue provides a subtle pop of color without being loud or distracting.


Gray dress shirts offer a muted, neutral palette. Depending on the shade, gray can project confidence and maturity. Charcoal gray shirts in particular pair nicely with darker suit colors.


Despite its association with femininity, a pale or heathered pink dress shirt can look remarkably sharp on men. The soft rose tone makes it an unexpected neutral that works for many skin tones.

Bolder Color Choices

Once you have established yourself at work, Experiment with dress shirt colors that are more eye-catching and unique. Here are some options to mix things up.


Rich purple or eggplant dress shirts offer a subtle punch of color. Depending on the shade and your industry, purple can project royalty, luxury, or creativity.


Green dress shirts lend an earthy, soothing vibe. Green reads as laid-back but still professional. Jade, sage, and forest shades work well for most complexions.


Sunny yellow is an optimistic color that conveys friendliness and confidence. Mustard and goldenrod shirts pair nicely with navy suits. Just avoid neons or bright yellows.


While risky, the right reddish hue can make you stand out for the right reasons. Try a muted brick or oxblood rather than fire engine red. Save the bold reds for days when you want to exude power.

Color Mood Projected Best Paired With
White Clean, crisp, professional Suits in any color
Light Blue Calming, competent Navy or gray suits
Gray Confident, mature Darker suits
Pink Approachable, friendly Navy suits
Purple Luxurious, creative Dark suits
Green Earthy, laid-back Tan suits
Yellow Cheerful, friendly Navy or gray suits
Red Powerful, bold Charcoal suits

Factors to Consider

Apart from color, keep the following factors in mind when selecting dress shirts for work:

Your Industry and Office Culture

Some industries like law, finance, and banking lean more formal and conservative. Disruptive technology companies tend to embrace more casual dress codes. Choose colors that align with your workplace norms.

Your Complexion and Hair Color

Lighter, brighter shades complement darker complexions and hair colors. Darker muted hues pair better with fair skin and light hair. Choose shirt colors that flatter your natural coloring.

What You’ll Be Wearing With It

Make sure to coordinate your dress shirt color with your suit, pants, and ties. Some shades like light blue go with everything while bolder colors like red require more conscious pairing.

The Message You Want to Send

Think about what impression you want to make. Traditional white projects professionalism. Blue implies trustworthiness. Purple and yellow are creative. Red is bold and attention-grabbing.

Tips for Wearing Colored Dress Shirts

Follow these tips to stylishly incorporate colored shirts into your work wardrobe:

  • Stick to solids or subtle patterns instead of loud prints or checks.
  • Pair bright colors with muted suit and tie colors to balance the outfit.
  • Roll up your sleeves and undo your top button for a more casual vibe if appropriate.
  • Press your shirts properly and keep them clean and wrinkle-free.
  • Wear an undershirt to prevent stains from impacting the shirt’s appearance.
  • Add layers like cardigans, blazers, or sweaters to tone down bold colors.


Experimenting with dress shirt colors is an easy way to update your professional wardrobe. Start by incorporating light blue, pink, gray, or purple into your rotation. Gradually build up to bolder reds, greens, and yellows as you become more confident. Just be sure the hues suit your workplace culture and personal coloring. With the right shade, you can project confidence and style at the office.