Patterns can add dimension, texture, and visual interest to your outfit, but many men are unsure of suit, shirt and tie combinations once you’ve added some pattern to the mix. With a few handy tips though you can easily put together a great look.
When adding pattern in your wardrobe there are a few things to think about. It’s important to start simple, so try using smaller patterns such as thin stripes or small dots, or more simplistic large prints to add some subtle texture to your look.
Matching colours can be tricky, so focus on the most prominent colour and try to complement it. Use the colour wheel if you’re not sure what colours work best together, but try to keep things simple to ensure that your suit and tie combinations don’t clash.
Finally, you should let the pattern be the focal point of your outfit. If you’re choosing bold patterns on your tie or shirt then let that be the attention-grabbing item. Still, we’ve only covered the basic rules here, so read on for everything you need to know about tie and shirt combinations with a tricky patterned suit. We’ll make sure you look your best.
How to Wear a Patterned Suit
It can become slightly dull to only wear plain coloured suits all year round so adding a patterned suit into your wardrobe can definitely mix it up. There are so many different types of patterned suits available which suit all shapes, come in a variety of colours, and can be worn in the winter or summer months.
A lot of gents will stay away from a striped suit because it has a reputation of being a little old-fashioned. This is definitely not the case and a few simple tips can ensure that this becomes a contemporary look.
The key is to keep the stripes pencil-thin in a subtle colour. No Beetle Juice style stripes on this one! Stick with chalk (white) lines or coloured stripes that are slightly different shade to the main colour of the suit. This option is perfect for gents that are shorter because the vertical stripes will make you look taller.
This pattern is most commonly seen on sports jackets and blazers and is traditionally seen on woollen fabrics making it a great winter option. It can be difficult to match this with pattern but the key is to make sure that you buy the suit in a dark shade. Navy, charcoal, or bottle green are great options. Keep the patterns on your shirt or tie as understated as possible to avoid the outfit looking too attention-seeking.
Definitely for the more flamboyantly dressed gents, this is a look that has a very ‘European’ feel to it. This pattern is scarcely worn as a complete suit and, much like plaid, is usually only found on a blazer. Again, choose subtle patterns in a small scale with your shirt or tie as the windowpane print is usually quite large.
This is a winter fabric and is more commonly seen on a blazer or an overcoat rather a full suit. This pattern is seen on suits made of wool or tweed. A thinly-striped shirt or a block shirt in a deep hue with a striped tie would look great with this pattern.
How to Wear Colour and Pattern
When it comes to coordinating colour and pattern you should follow these simple tips:
- For an easy option match block colour with pattern. If you’re a beginner at combining patterns then stick with a block suit and/or shirt and bring in pattern with striped ties.
- Take the suit or shirt’s most prominent colour and match that with your tie’s minor colour. For example, if you are wearing a pale blue shirt choose a tie which is navy with pale blue dots.
- Think about pattern scale. This is especially important when pairing with other patterns. If your suit jacket has a large windowpane pattern then opt for a small and subtle pattern on your shirt or tie.
- Avoid wearing multiple items which have the same pattern, of the same size, in the same colour. Your outfit will become too busy.
- If you want to keep a block colour on your tie then change the material, choose a woollen or knitted option, to add texture to your outfit.
White Suit Shirt Tie Combinations
A white shirt is a blank canvas. It is so versatile and works with every colour tie and suit that you can imagine. Keep it classic with a crisp white Oxford shirt and have fun with your colour and pattern combinations. A white shirt is the obvious choice for no-fuss combos that you can create without giving it a second thought.
Blue Suit Shirt Tie Combinations
A blue shirt is a great alternative to the white shirt. It is still conservative and formal but it can add a bit of warmth to an outfit. Pale blue also tends to suit a wider range of skin tones and hair colours too. A great tie choice for a powder blue shirt is a navy, bottle green, or a burgundy tie in either a striped, dotted, or checked pattern. For a dark blue dress shirt choose a deep crimson red or charcoal grey tie.
Shirt and Tie Combinations for a Black Suit
A white shirt with a black suit will have the timeless, elegant feel of a tuxedo. Most colours will work well with a black suit but black and white are the obvious base shades. Almost any colour or pattern tie can be worn with a block-coloured black suit and a plain white shirt.
This can work well when the colours are reversed too with a black shirt white tie combination. But avoid looking too much like a wannabe gangster and choose a narrow knitted white tie. Avoid anything silky or shiny at all costs!
If bringing in pattern with your suit, such as a black suit with chalk stripes, you should only wear a striped shirt if the stripes are very subtle. Otherwise, stick with a block-coloured shirt or choose gingham if wanting a different pattern. When it comes to which tie to wear with your black chalk-striped suit look to purple hues such as a light-purple shirt with a darker purple tie.
If wanting to make a statement choose a striped tie too (but only with a block colour shirt), in either a diagonal or horizontal pattern. Make sure that the stripes are wider than on the suit.
Navy Blue Suit Combinations
When it comes to shirts to wear with a navy blue suit there are a number of great options. White and navy work perfectly together and will feel slightly more contemporary than black and white. A navy gingham, plaid, or tartan shirt with a block navy suit looks great. Especially if paired with a knitted tie in red or green. Add a red or green pocket square or lapel pin too to be extra dandy.
If wanting to wear a powder blue shirt under a navy blue blazer then add a bit colour in your tie choice. Crimson red or burnt orange both look great with blue shades. If wearing a blue shirt without a blazer then a tone on tone shirt and tie combo looks great. Choose a pale blue shirt and one of the darker blue range of solid colour ties.
A pink shirt works brilliantly with a navy suit too. You can either go for a navy tie in a subtle pattern, such as spots or thin stripes, or go for a darker plum shade tie with elements of pink in it to complement the shirt.
If choosing a patterned suit such as a navy windowpane suit then the same colour combinations apply. But if wanting to continue the slightly more flamboyant feel of the suit pattern choose a gingham shirt to go underneath in navy or pink and match with a pair of tan brogues.
Tan Suit Colour Combinations
For tan suits you should choose a white or a blue shirt. Various hues of blue will contrast with the warmth of the tan colour so there are no restrictions there. A knitted navy blue tie with a powder blue shirt under a tan jacket works really well. A scarlet or bottle green tie would also look great with this colour suit. A tan suit with a check or plaid pattern is a great alternative option to block colour and works well with the blue shirt and navy tie combination. Often made from linen or cotton, these lightweight, breathable suits are great for the summer months.
Dark Grey Suit
A white shirt will look good with a grey suit but only when combined with a pop of colour in the tie and/ or pocket square. Otherwise the tones are both so neutral that the outfit may look a little washed out. Choose rich reds and burgundies to bring some warmth to your outfit.
A powder blue shirt looks great with a dark grey suit along with a navy tie. A pink shirt can also complement a grey suit. Ensure that the suit is tailored slim to avoid this outfit looking too dated.
A grey flannel suit is a great alternative to a regular suit and, despite their reputation as a winter suit, can be worn all year round. Flannel trousers come in many weave weights and can therefore be worn in all seasons. A light weight flannel is a very comfortable cloth to wear in warm climates and is often regarded as cool wool. The fabric is made from Merino wool and is comfortably warm in colder weather. A heavier weave weight will inevitably make the flannel warmer but it will remain comfortable due to it’s breathable wool.
A Houndstooth pattern will most often come in a grey colouring and will be seen on tweed or wool, both of which are definitely considered winter fabrics. A striped shirt and a plain tie would sit nicely under this as it’s great contrast.
Your Quick Guide on How to Wear Shirt and Tie Combinations with a Patterned Suit
- Start small. Add pattern to one piece first and keep everything else solid colour.
- Use a colour wheel to ensure that the colour combinations you choose are complimentary.
- Avoid clashing patterns of the same size. Usually larger patterns should be confined to the tie or at a push the shirt. Don’t wear a suit, shirt, and tie with garish patterns as you’re outfit will look too busy.
- You can also experiment with texture as well as pattern and colour. A knitted tie or a tweed jacket will add another dimension to a suit.
- An ill-fitting suit will look horrendous, regardless of great pattern and colour combinations, ensure your suit fits the contours of your body without being strained or saggy.
- Gingham is a great trend this year and can be a bit more subtle than bold stripes or paisley.
- Pattern can also be added to your suit in the form of a patterned pocket square. Don’t be afraid to accessorise.
On That Note…
It can often be a daunting task initially choosing to wear a patterned suit and then having to decide on which shirt and tie combination to go with it. As you can see however, there a numerous pattern options, some more subtle and some more flamboyant. There is definitely something to suit everyone.
Then once you are comfortable in your patterned suit the fun can start and you can begin to experiment. Be brave with your colour and pattern choices. If you’re inexperienced then add just one pattern to your outfit and when you feel comfortable add another. The most important thing is to have confidence in your style otherwise it will not suit you.
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