Dress Shirt and Tie Combos: How to Look Stylish

How to Nail Dress Shirt and Tie Combos

How to Nail Dress Shirt and Tie Combos
The Do's and (definite) Don'ts
shirt and tie combinations

By Style Girlfriend | Last Updated: Aug 20 2022 | 4 min read

If you dress up for work, or go to a lot of weddings, then you probably know the feeling.

You pull a dress shirt from your closet and then head for the ties. You look at all the different colors, patterns, and textures, and think:

Do these go together, or am I going to look like a crazy person? What tie should I wear with a striped shirt? How do I match a shirt pattern to a tie pattern?? Can I wear a striped tie with a checkered or plaid shirt?? 

Figuring out dress shirt and tie combos can be overwhelming, we get it.

But before you let the fear of clashing derail a stylish office outfit, read this.

This guide covers the essential Do’s and Don’ts of how best to pair a shirt and tie. Bookmark it to simplify the process of getting dressed, and take the guess work out of your look.

Keep reading to discover:

Below, the do’s and don’t’s of dress shirt and tie combos:

shirt and tie combinations

Pairing Patterns with other Patterns

dress shirt and tie combos
all images: The Tie Bar

DO: Pair a patterned shirt with patterned tie as long as the patterns are not the same or similar sizes.

That means, wear a small check on the shirt with a large stripe or check on the tie, or a small stripe on the shirt with a large stripe or check on the tie.

DON’T: Pair a shirt and tie with the same pattern.

If the shirt is a vertical stripe pattern (large or small) the tie should not also be a vertical stripe pattern.

When it comes to wearing a striped tie with a striped shirt, horizontal stripes or slanted stripes can work together as long as they are of a different size.

Pairing Patterns and Solids

dress shirt and tie combos

DON’T: Pair solid shirts with a tie of predominantly the same color, even if it is a pattern, unless there is minimal of the same color in the tie.

DON’T: Resort to layering solids on solids unless you’re pairing a solid white shirt with a solid black tie (or are aping Regis Philbin’s style from his Who Wants to Be a Millionaire days)

DO: Feel free to branch out and try a pattern, like repeating icons or a floral, instead of the go-to plaid, stripes, polka dots.

Prepare for a copious amount of compliments at your adventurous style.

Pairing Colors

dress shirt and tie combos

DON’T: Let your shirt and tie bleed together. Keep it in the realm of ‘light tie/dark shirt’ or ‘light shirt/dark tie’

DO: Play pastels off one another. Just be sure one “pops” more than the other.

DON’T: Wear primary colors together if you don’t want to look like a kindergartener’s art project.

DO: Wear a black tie with a white shirt; it’s always a classic.

But don’t turn it the other way around with a black shirt and white tie (unless you are attending a throwback party of sorts).

DO: Get creative when it comes to color. Look for shirt and tie pairings that bring out the small accent color(s) in each piece. Drawing attention to an accent color is always a sure-fire win.

Want more wardrobe inspiration? Check out SG’S 5 Days, 5 Ways series to learn how to wear everything in your wardrobe in more ways.