Skip to Content

What color tie goes with what color shirt?

Choosing the right tie to go with a dress shirt can seem daunting with so many color combinations to consider. However, there are some basic guidelines that make matching ties and shirts effortless. The most important factors to consider are the formality of the occasion, the color and pattern of the shirt, and personal preference. Follow these tips to always look sharp and stylish.

Quick Tips for Matching Ties and Shirts

  • Solid ties match both solid and patterned shirts.
  • Patterned ties pair best with solid or subtly patterned shirts.
  • Ties and shirts don’t need to match exactly, but should complement each other.
  • Stick to a similar color family for formal looks.
  • Feel free to experiment with bolder contrasts for casual settings.

Guidelines for Different Shirt Colors

White Shirt

A white shirt is the most versatile and provides a neutral foundation for ties in any color or pattern. However, for formal business settings, it’s best to choose a solid tie in a darker hue like navy, burgundy, forest green, or maroon. Lighter pastel ties can work for more casual occasions. Here are some combinations:

  • Burgundy tie
  • Navy tie
  • Dark green tie
  • Maroon tie
  • Light blue tie
  • Lavender tie

Light Blue Shirt

A light blue shirt projects a friendly yet professional vibe. Solid ties in dark red, gold, olive green, or navy make ideal matches. For a business-casual look, try a printed tie in shades of blue or a contrasting color like yellow. Some pairings include:

  • Navy tie with white dots
  • Burgundy striped tie
  • Yellow patterned tie
  • Dark green floral tie
  • Light blue tie with stripes

Pink Shirt

Pink shirts have a preppy, cheerful look. Stick with solid ties in darker tones like navy, brown, olive green, plum, or charcoal gray for a sophisticated vibe. Alternately, complement the pink with pastel ties in shades of blue, lavender, yellow, or mint green. Creative combinations include:

  • Navy and pink striped tie
  • Solid olive green tie
  • Baby blue tie with polka dots
  • Plum striped tie
  • Mint green floral tie

Light Purple Shirt

Light purple or lavender shirts lend a vibrant, spring-inspired look. Pair them with solid ties in olive, gold, gray, navy, or black for balance. Patterns like checks, stripes, and floral prints also work well. Ideas include:

  • Skinny black striped tie
  • Olive and lavender patterned tie
  • Gold tie with polka dots
  • Navy glen plaid tie
  • Gray grid pattern tie

Light Green Shirt

A light green shirt radiates a natural, earthy vibe. Choose solid ties in shades like navy, brown, plum, and burgundy to complement the green. Pairing green with orange, yellow, or pink creates an eye-catching contrast. Patterns to try include:

  • Orange and green striped tie
  • Burgundy tie with yellow dots
  • Navy floral tie
  • Pink and green plaid tie
  • Yellow striped tie

Tie Tips for Different Patterns and Prints

Checkered Shirt

A checkered shirt projects a casual, rugged feel. Pair it with a solid tie in a contrasting or complementary shade for best results. Checks in blue, green, pink, purple, or black work especially well. Some examples:

  • Red gingham with navy tie
  • Black buffalo check with light blue tie
  • Green plaid with orange tie
  • Blue check with gold tie
  • Pink check with maroon tie

Striped Shirt

Subtle striped shirts add visual interest without being overpowering. Solid ties in a shade matching one of the stripes keeps the look cohesive. Alternatively, choose a patterned tie with stripes, dots, or geometric shapes. Ideas include:

  • Blue striped shirt with red spotted tie
  • Tan and light blue striped shirt with navy striped tie
  • Gray and maroon stripes with maroon floral tie
  • Navy pinstripes with burgundy and gold diamond tie
  • Multi-color stripes with yellow polka dot tie

Floral Print Shirt

Floral print shirts have a lively, spring-inspired look. Pair them with solid ties in a color matching the dominant flower shade. Simple patterns like dots, organic shapes, or subtle stripes also complement florals nicely. Combinations to try:

  • Navy floral with maroon dotted tie
  • Blue floral with gold striped tie
  • Black floral with black striped tie
  • Red floral with olive and maroon abstract tie
  • Purple floral with light blue geometric tie

Graphic Print Shirt

Graphic printed shirts allow you to get creative and bold with your look. Pair them with solid ties in one of the print’s colors. Alternatively, choose a conversation-starter tie with an eye-catching pattern or slogan. Some ideas:

  • Black shirt with guitar print and red tie
  • Blue shirt with palm print and light green striped tie
  • Gray shirt with buffalo plaid print and solid black tie
  • White shirt with colorful dots and rainbow striped tie
  • Navy shirt with circle print and polka dot tie

Factors for Choosing Colors and Patterns

Occasion and Formality

Consider the formality of the occasion when selecting a tie and shirt combo. Darker solid ties pair best with white and light blue shirts for formal business events. Lighter and more playful ties work for casual settings and social events. The more formal the occasion, the more coordinated the tie and shirt should be.

Contrast Level

The contrast between the tie and shirt affects the overall look and visual impact. Subtle contrasts using colors in the same family, like navy and light blue, create a refined elegant look. Bolder contrasts, like pink and green, make more of a style statement for friendly social occasions. Decide how much contrast you want to achieve the desired vibe.

Complementary Colors

Choosing tie and shirt colors that complement each other results in a put-together look. Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange or purple and yellow. These pairings grab attention while still being harmonious.

Tie Width

Wider ties work best with wide spread collars, while skinny ties balance narrow collars. Make sure your tie is proportionate to your collar width. A tie bar can help anchor wider ties with spread collars.

Personal Taste

When in doubt, opt for color pairings and patterns you find visually pleasing. Having fun with different styles and combinations showcases your personality. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment to see what works best for your personal taste.


Matching dress shirts and ties follows some general guidelines but also allows for personal flair. Consider the formality, colors, patterns, and proportions to pull together a coordinated outfit. Use the occasion as inspiration for choosing creative combinations that express your style. With the right know-how, assembling complementing tie and shirt pairings becomes effortless and enjoyable.

Shirt Color Recommended Tie Colors Recommended Tie Patterns
White Navy, burgundy, forest green, maroon Solids, stripes, dots
Light blue Navy, dark red, olive green, gold Solids, prints in blue hues
Pink Navy, brown, olive green, plum, charcoal gray Solids, pastels, prints with pink
Light purple Olive, gold, gray, navy, black Skinny stripes, florals, glen plaid
Light green Navy, brown, plum, burgundy Contrast colors like orange, stripes
Checkered Solid contrasting or complementary shade Subtle all over patterns
Striped Matching stripe color Stripes, dots, geometric
Floral Dominant flower color Dots, organic shapes, subtle stripes
Graphic print Color from print Conversation starter patterns