Matching Shirt and Tie

Matching tie with shirtMicro-checks, plaids, stripes, and even polka dots can really pose a problem for those of us used to basic dress shirts of light gray, crisp white, and light blue. While we can normally mix-and-match our simple shirts, a little added pattern can really complicate coordination.

So what do we suggest for you to easily match your tie and shirt? If you keep just a few things in mind, you’ll not only be perfectly matching, but will be perfectly stylish, too.


When matching, think of your shirt as a kind of canvas. When you’ve got a plain white shirt, anything goes. Use this as an opportunity to bring out your bold ties or ones that you’d really like to make a statement.

For some solid shirts, matching can be a little easier. Light tan, soft blue, and light yellow can be easily coordinated with patterned ties, but sometimes difficulty can arise with unusual colors. Try to coordinate colors that may not be the same, but visually complement each other. For example, wear a navy blue tie worn with a pink shirt or a yellow tie with a French blue shirt.


Your first guideline (and most important one) is to avoid being intimidated by pattern. It’s certainly not something to be afraid of—matching patterns just takes some practice. Try matching patterns on patterns when they’re not exactly the same size. Wear a slim striped shirt with a thicker diagonal striped tie with success—as long as you follow our next rule!

Striped shirt
• To match your tie, look at your shirt from far away and determine the pronounced color. To match with your tie, try a coordinating color (such as a yellow tie with a blue-striped shirt) and pattern (like small polka dots or a small paisley design).
• Wear a striped shirt with a striped tie comfortably if the stripes aren’t identical in size.
• Get savvy with direction. Try wearing a vertically striped shirt with a thicker diagonal striped tie.
• Avoid stripe overload. Don’t try to match a pinstriped suit with a striped shirt and a striped tie.

Checked shirt
• Find the pronounced color in your checked shirt, and let that guide your tie selection.
• If you are a regular micro-check shirt wearer, feel free to match your shirt with a micro-check tie.

Micro-check is an easier way to experiment with checks.

Plaid shirt
• Matching a plaid shirt can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Try matching your plaid shirt with a solid tie that complements one subtle color found in your shirt.

For experienced shirt and tie matchers, you can certainly experiment with checked ties and your plaid shirts.


Be sure to carefully match colors. Match your tie with your suit or your shirt, or even your shoes and your belt. If you’re a newbie to the matching, try understated colors like soft blues, chocolate browns, rich creams, and sage greens.

Avoid trying to match similar patterns together for your suit, shirt, and tie. It can end up to be rather overwhelming, pattern-wise, and a little messy.

When matching your tie and shirt, have fun. It’s not all about rules, but more about experimenting to give you a more sophisticated, polished look.