How to Combine a Suit, Shirt and Tie

Whether you’re looking for tips on how to combine a suit, shirt and tie for a party, date, dinner or any other special occasion, you are just in the right place, because today we will share all about how to set up the ideal outfit for you with these 3 items.

Stylish colorful tiesEven though these days many men are more into fashionable looks and aesthetic clothes than they were before, sometimes finding the right match for a full sophisticated trio involving a suit, tie and shirt might be a little bit tricky even for those who have experience assembling daily stylish attires, but it’s actually easier than you think, there’s just a couple things you need to take into consideration to master the art of matching these garments.

Finding the best combo to wear is more than a looks issue, is how you project your personality and taste to the world, and as they say, a suit makes a man, so what better way to showcase yourself than with the perfect arrangement, let’s see how you can create yours.


First Thing First

Before we dive deep into the topic, the first thing to consider is your budget. Will you get new clothes or will you wear what you already have at home? If you plan to buy new apparel, it’s a great idea to set a budget so you don’t spend more than you can or need.


Some Basic Tips

Keep it simple
By keeping it simple you’ll never go wrong and if you want to try something new just don’t overdo it, as Leonardo da Vinci said, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Size Does Matter
Keep the proportions of the tie and collar balanced for an optimal look.


Avoid This At All Costs

Matching tie and pocket squares should be avoided
Matching tie and pocket squares should be avoided

Matching tie and pocket square
Even though matching these two accessories may seem like an obvious option you should not go for it, because if you do, this can reflect lack of effort or that you’re trying too hard.

A tight or baggy suit
If you’re a guy who likes working out, you might think that a tight suit will exhibit your muscles the right way, but the truth is that doing this will make it look as if you’re wearing the wrong size, plus, if the suit is really tight it will probably get uncomfortable at some point. Something similar applies to baggy suits, wearing a size that doesn’t match your proportions will make it look like you’ve shrunk and therefore make you lose appeal. The point is to find the right balance, choosing clothes that make you look good and feel good at the same time.

Now that we’ve stated the basics and the don’ts we can start with the in-depth guide.


The Color Wheel And Some Color Theory

For a lot of people, color can be irrelevant when choosing an outfit, but the truth is that taking the basics of color theory into account is a game changer. Understanding the color wheel is easier than it sounds, it’s divided in warm and cool colors, warm colors are the ones such as yellow, red, and orange and cool colors are the ones such as green, blue and purple: this tool will help you find harmony for a balanced look.

The right colors can improve any lookThe color wheel can be very useful when pairing your shirt and ties, it will help you identify complementary and contrasting colors. Shirts should be lighter than your ties, different tones on these items will make them stand up separately and as a set, for example, if you choose a black suit, light pink shirt and a deep dark pink tie, this will create a perfect distinction. Contrasting colors is another easy way to add dimension to the look, the best example for this is a grey suit, light blue shirt and an orange tie, these tones will work great to stand out.

So you can fully understand these guidelines we will explain how to properly use and master these color combinations:

Monochromatic Color Scheme
An easy way to start playing with colors is by using a full monochromatic color scheme, this means using dark and light shades of one color, for example, wearing a deep blue suit paired with a light blue shirt and a navy-blue tie. This is the best way to look stylish and elegant without going into unknown fashion territory. This color scheme can be used for any kind of event.

Analogous Color Scheme
For this color combination, you only need to select adjacent colors on the color wheel, this will add a touch of elegance and harmony without a lot of effort; an example of this would be the use of a blue shirt and a purple tie. The analogous looks are great for work situations or social gatherings.

Complementary Color Scheme
If you want your appearance to stand out, this color scheme will definitely give you that. Complimentary colors are the ones directly opposite to each other across the color wheel, so orange’s contrasting color is blue, and purple’s complementary color is yellow. The mix of these colors will give you a very strong distinction.



Now that you know more about the different ways you can combine colors, the next step is to choose your suit based on the color scheme you like the most. Buying or combining a tie and a shirt not knowing the color and style of your suit would be a disaster. It’s also important to learn that your suit should always be a darker shade than the shirt and tie.



A very simple rule to follow if you’re trying go for the “keep it simple” mindset, is to wear a patterned shirt with a plain tie or the other way around, but if you want to go out of your comfort zone you can always mix and match patterns of both of these pieces, we’ll explain ahead how to properly do this.



If you’re looking to add something different, textured ties can be a great option, otherwise, traditional silk ties always look elegant. The color, pattern and texture of the tie should be based on your suit and shirt choices. When in doubt, see our article on what color ties to wear with a black suit and white shirt.


Pattern Mixing

If you’re feeling bold enough to mix and match a tie and shirt with different patterns here’s the right way to do it. As well as with color theory, you’ll want the pattern on your tie to create a contrast effect with both your suit and shirt. If you’re a beginner and not fully confident on the area, it’s best to avoid mixing and matching 3 patterns since this could kill the whole look.

It’s not necessary to wear different patterns on the tie and shirt so they can be highlighted, but it is crucial that the size of the design varies whether the pattern is different or similar. If the pattern proportions are similar to each other this will ruin the whole aesthetic. You can also pick a shirt and tie with completely different patterns if you follow the different size pattern rule we just mentioned.


Some Easy Combinations You Can Follow

If all of the above seems like a lot and you just want some easy formulas to follow, here are some classic combinations for you.

The Infallible Method
This technique works for anyone and it’s the easiest way to create a great looking set. The main piece of this puzzle will be a plain white shirt, consider it as the starting point, no matter which color or pattern you want to pick for the tie, the mix will look good and a white shirt will not only highlight the tie of your choice, it will also highlight your face. White shirts go well with black, grey, navy, and tan suits.

Blue Shirt Combinations
If you’re looking for something different than the usual white shirt, picking a blue shirt is also a great option, it’s a change from the classic white but it’s still a formal and elegant color. The best shade of blue to match with the rest of the outfit is light blue. The blue shirt can be combined with grey, navy blue, tan and black suits.

Pink Shirt Combinations
Another way to give your look a cool twist is by wearing a pink shirt. The “pink is for girls” mindset belongs to the past as it is also a great color for men to wear. This tone can add a little bit of spice to any suit, just be sure that the shade you choose is not over pigmented so the outfit remains balanced, the way to master pink shirts is by pairing them with contrasting and alike colors.


Since that was a lot of info for just one read let’s do a quick recap of what you just learned:

  • Using the color wheel and theory to make the right choices for your tie and shirt to compliment or contrast each other is the best way to go.
  • Mixing patterns for a bolder look is always a good idea and you’ll look awesome as long as you stick to the pattern guides you just studied.
  • Going for the infallible style is the easiest way to dress up for the occasion if you don’t want to go out of your comfort zone.

Now that you’ve acquired some knowledge about color schemes, patterns and the best way to combine them to achieve the right look, you’ll be able to make the best choices for your next suit, shirt and tie combination.

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Jessica is a staff writer for, and enjoys writing, and all things fashion. Jessica took an interest in men's fashion early on in her career, and enjoys helping men look dapper. When she's not writing men's fashion tips and guides, she enjoys playing with her dog Tucker.