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What Colours To Wear With Grey Shorts: 6 Foolproof Shirt Options

Grey shorts are one of the most versatile summer garments, with different fabrics and short styles bringing out the best in the colour. Here’s how to best pair them with shirts and tees this season.

Words by: Ryan Thompson

Styling shorts in the summer seems simple on paper and then you buy a few pairs and realise that there’s a little more to it. There’s always the risk of looking too casual, which sounds odd when we’re talking about shorts, but it’s true.

Grey shorts are the perfect styling territory for smart-casual looks. The understated tone means you can adopt pretty much any other colour in the rest of your outfit, whether it’s a muted tonal shade such as white or cream, slick and sophisticated black, or a bold and vibrant pop of colour such as pink.

Either way, grey makes for a really versatile canvas. These are the colours we believe work best with most types of grey shorts.

Grey shorts with a black shirt

Dealing in black and shades of grey is always a sophisticated approach. The minimalist attitude to colour really puts an emphasis on the silhouette and fabric so it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when shopping around.

Materials like linen, seersucker, terry cloth and technical nylons are a great way to introduce a tactile element into your look. And while the black and grey combination may lack colour, that doesn’t mean you can’t accessorise with it. A killer pair of kicks or a bold tone crossbody bag will really pop off your dark canvas.

Grey chino shorts with a long-sleeved black polo shirt

Men's grey chinos shorts, long sleeve black polo shirt and white sneakers outfit


We’re big fans of the long-sleeved knitted polo since it’s one of those menswear staples that can turn its hand to anything. You can just as easily pair it with a charcoal grey suit from Savile Row as you can with a pair of shorts.

The chino-style cotton shorts take the smart edge off it here (especially with the turned-up hems), but still puts the look firmly on the smart-casual spectrum.

Meanwhile the lo-fi tennis pumps gives the outfit a clean and classy finish.

Light grey cotton jersey shorts with a black T-shirt

Men's grey athletic shorts, black T-shirt, white socks and white running sneakers outfit


For a more athletic-inspired look, opt for light grey shorts in a soft cotton jersey fabric, which pair perfectly with a black tee.

All quality wardrobes should have an abundance of good cotton black T-shirts because they are so versatile and easy to style looks with. Keep the shape relaxed to complement the sporty profile of the shorts.

Seamless styles like this one offer a clean minimalist look, exemplified by the crisp white sneakers.

Mid-grey cotton shorts with a black short-sleeve shirt

Men's grey shorts, short sleeve black shirt and black espadrilles outfit

Rag & Bone

When the shorts have straight legs like these do, you can afford to go a little more structured with your top, which in this case is a short-sleeve shirt.

The squared off hem gives the shirt a clean finish against the grey shorts, while the merest hint of the white tee poking out from beneath breaks up the dark tones nicely.

Grey shorts with a blue shirt

Whether it’s a deep midnight blue or a pastel cornflower tone, all the hues of blue work well with lighter grey colours. Dark greys tend to just wash out the nuances of blue tones so avoid them if you can.

Blue can be both vibrant and quite a conservative colour so this combination gives you lots of leeway to go in either direction, depending on the shirt style and type of shorts you choose.

Again, think carefully about fabric choice to ensure that neither colour gets lost in a wash of matte fabric. For example, if your shorts are made of a smooth poplin, then make sure that you contrast that with a knitted polo or a brushed cotton shirt to ensure your outfit is three-dimensional.

Oatmeal grey linen cargo shorts with a baby blue OCBD

Men's grey cargo shorts, blue Oxford shirt, green sweater and navy espadrilles outfit


There’s a lot to love here for ‘old money’ style advocates with a penchant for preppiness. The baby blue OCBD is an absolute menswear classic, having graduated in the preppy halls of the Ivy League.

This look is a great example of bringing two interesting textures to the party – the soft nap of Oxford cloth and the slubby linen of the shorts. The drawstring style and pocket details ensure this look is off-duty, while the shirt is a nod to preppy heritage.

Boat shoes or loafers and the shouldered cashmere jumper are the cherries on this particular cake.

Tailored grey chino shorts with a navy blue fitted polo

Men's navy knitted polo shirt tucked into tailored grey shorts with suede tan tassel loafers outfit


There’s no two ways about it, these shorts are smart and demand a shirt that can play ball. The clean tailored lines of the shorts are really well balanced by the clean silhouette of the polo shirt, while the contrast between the deep navy and the light grey is strong and sets up nicely for a statement belt.

You could easily throw a linen blazer over this for a sartorial summer look or even a shawl neck cardigan in the evening.

Pale grey terry shorts with a blue Henley shirt

Men's light grey shorts, baby blue Henley shirt and white sneakers outfit


Terry cloth is such a great textural fabric and is perfect for summer looks since it’s really breathable. Naturally, it has a laid-back vibe, which makes pairing it with casual shirts super easy.

For an athletic aesthetic, the Henley is an excellent option, especially when constructed from soft cotton jersey. The collarless neckline, three-button placket and soft contours work really well with the terry cloth shorts’ sporty silhouette.

Grey shorts with a green shirt

Quick science lesson: the colour green sits slap bang in the middle of the spectrum at a wavelength of around 555 nanometres, where our eyes are at the peak of their perception. So having an abundance of green garments in your wardrobe makes you literally easy on the eye.

With grey being a neutral versatile tone, it only figures that the two combined work really well, and the breadth of tones that green boasts gives you a really dextrous colour combination to play with.

Textured grey shorts with an olive green shirt

Men's grey shorts, white T-shirt, green open shirt and suede green driving shoes outfit

34 Heritage

Olive green is one of those great trans-seasonal tones; incredibly versatile and super easy to style all year round.

In the guise of a shirt, it’s a hard-working colour, matching well with other earthy tones, but especially grey. It’s a muted aesthetic no doubt, but you don’t always need your fit to shout ‘look at me’.

The textural quality of the shorts give the look additional dimension.

Grey cotton shorts with a forest green T-shirt

Men's grey shorts, green T-shirt and off-white canvas sneakers outfit


The epitome of off-duty style, this forest green tee has a bit more punch than the olive style before it.

Once again, the duality of the colours is subtle, with both the green and grey being quite understated, projecting a relaxed confidence.

Grey chino shorts with a green cotton piqué polo shirt

Men's dark grey shorts, forest green polo shirt, beige socks and off-white/green retro running sneakers outfit


This classic cotton piqué polo shirt demonstrates the more vibrant side of the green spectrum, with a punchy tone that nicely balances the tailored element of the grey shorts.

What’s really effective is the way the polo shirt complements the green accents on the kicks.

Grey shorts with a grey shirt

The minimalists among you will love a bit of tone-on-tone action, especially when it comes to the most neutral of neutral colours, grey.

Combining grey tones makes for a contemporary aesthetic and can look smart even with a pair of shorts, especially if they are tailored.

Think about your textures to give the look some depth, and use pops of colour in your accessories to accentuate the monochrome vibe.

Light grey cotton shorts with a dark grey T-shirt

Men's light grey shorts, charcoal T-shirt and light grey high-top sneakers

Buck Mason

A classic no-fuss, off-duty look if ever there was one. A simple contrast in tones does all the work here.

There’s no trying to be fancy – it’s just a relaxed but sophisticated monochrome take on dressing down.

Flat-front grey shorts with dark grey camp collar shirt

Men's light grey shorts, dark grey T-shirt, open collar grey shirt, white tube socks and white sneakers outfit

Club Monaco

Here’s the perfect example of being smart with multiple grey tones. The short-sleeved Cuban collar shirt sets off the relaxed summer vibe, neatly complemented by the cotton Bermudas, but it’s the subtle addition of the third grey element – that layered tee – which makes the look complete.

Nicely off-set by the pearly white sneakers, we might add.

Grey tapered chino shorts with a grey knitted polo shirt

Men's light grey shorts, mid-grey knitted polo shirt and taupe sneakers outfit


If you’re going to try and elevate the grey-on-grey vibe then one of the best ways to do it is with a knitted polo.

Naturally the contrast in tones works just fine, but it’s the addition of the textural knit that raises the look here.

Bookending the fit with some tonal grey lo-fi sneakers is a nice touch, too.

Grey shorts with a pink shirt

No parent will admit to having a favourite child but we will admit to having a favourite colour combination: grey and pink. The way these two tones set each other off just works every time, and it doesn’t matter if you’re talking fuchsia pink or the palest of pastels.

Of course, pink is just a great colour all-round, helping you to project confidence and a fun vibe, but grey keeps the look grounded and real.

Dark grey Bermuda shorts with a pink camp collar shirt

Men's dark grey shorts, white T-shirt, open patterned pink shirt, white socks and grey running sneakers outfit

Levi’s at Next

There’s a lot to love about this combination. First up, the pink tone and pattern of the short-sleeve shirt is bold but not loud, while we love the loose relaxed silhouette it creates.

Similarly, the shape of the dark grey shorts is the perfect complement, thus striking a good balance.

It’s all glued together by the white tee and socks, as well as the grey accents on the sneakers.

Dark grey chino shorts with a pink button-down shirt

Men's pink button-down shirt tucked into charcoal grey tailored shorts with brown suede espadrilles outfit


Shorts in the city can be a difficult proposition for most guys because striking the smart-casual balance is tricky. Our advice would be to go smart with the shorts and let the shirt add a more casual attitude, as per this look.

The dark grey chino shorts are smart, while the button-down shirt still says ‘work’, only the pink tone completely diffuses the formality.

Grey drawstring shorts with a pastel pink polo shirt

Men's grey drawstring shorts, light pink polo shirt and cream skate shoe sneakers outfit


If you needed a go-to off-duty look for sunny summer days, here it is. The relaxed drawstring shorts provide the perfect understated canvas for a fun pink polo short in a classic piqué cotton.

This combination will work on all skin tones, and if you want to raise the preppy factor, you can just swap out the kickass for a pair of boat shoes or suede loafers.

Grey shorts with a white shirt

Probably the simplest colour combination of all listed here, if you’re ever in doubt as to what to pair with your grey shorts, no matter what tone they are, opt for white every time.

The crisp contrast with dark grey, or the subtle shift in tonality with lighter grey shorts – either way, you’ve got an effortlessly chic and understated look, where the shorts nicely help to define the pristine white silhouette up top.

Light grey linen shorts with a off-white T-shirt

Men's light grey linen shorts with white T-shirt tucked in and navy espadrilles outfit

Frescobol Carioca

We’re loving the laid-back simplicity of this combination, the elegance of which is being almost entirely driven by the textures involved – the slubby nature of the grey linen shorts versus the not quite opaque weave of the T-shirt, giving it a slightly cloudy tone.

The addition of the navy espadrilles is a nice touch, completing a sophisticated resort outfit.

Pale grey chino shorts with a white linen shirt

Men's light grey shorts, white linen shirt and brown suede loafers outfit


The white linen shirt is a summer classic and no modern wardrobe should be without a few.

The slubby fabric gives it a nice textural element, while the formal structure of the shirt means that you can opt for smart tailored chino shorts.

It’s elegant yet comfortable, sophisticated but not stuffy. And you can fine tune the formality easily with your shoe choice.

Grey tailored shorts with a white knitted polo shirt

Men's light grey tailored shorts with white knitted polo shirt tucked in with light grey sneakers outfit


The knitted polo shirt has become a summer fashion staple for discerning dressers, especially ones with athletic figures.

While the silhouette of the polo is inherently casual, the knitted fabric and resort collar in this case really raises its game, complemented by the addition of the smart cotton tailored shorts.