Dapper, dashing and unmistakably smart, a suit speaks for itself. The problem arises when you want to step out of the typical monochrome combinations and add a hint of personality to your get-up. With so many different choices and possibilities, it can be surprisingly difficult to decipher what suit, shirt and tie combos work well together for the occasion.
Luckily for you, Rob is a true expert in men’s fashion and is always here to point you in the right direction. Here are some general rules you should follow when styling these pieces, as well as some of our favourite suit, shirt and tie combos to give you some inspiration.
THE RULES OF SHIRT AND TIE COMBOS:
- Don’t mix more than four colours if you want to look like a sophisticated gentleman. Having too much colour can throw off the harmony of the look, making you look garish rather than classy.
- Harmonise all of your outfits by ensuring the colours you do pair together flow together seamlessly. Having a pop of vibrancy is great, but you don’t want to go overboard with clashing colours.
- Don’t go crazy by mixing too many patterns and really think about what patterns fit together. For example, stripes and checks just don’t go, so go for a plain or floral tie when wearing a plaid suit.
- Take note of colours and hues, they really matter. Not sure which colour combinations work best in general? Check out our blog post on how to match colours for guys.
- Blue shirts look best with plain burgundy and navy ties, as well as patterned ties that use these colours.
- White shirts look great with most ties, so don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns.
- Pink shirts work wonderfully with navy as well as patterned ties using both navy and pink tones.
- Shirts with stripes can seem tricky, but the key is to pick out the main colour in the shirt and use that tone in the tie. If you have blue and white stripes, for example, a navy blue would look great. You don’t have to go plain either, just make sure the patterns don’t clash – large florals look good with stripes.
- With other patterns, you may be best off using a plain tie, especially if the shirt is particularly jazzy.
CASUAL SHIRT & TIE COMBO
Could a suit and tie ever be casual, I hear you ask? Absolutely. If you want to radiate the characteristics of a true dapper gentleman in your everyday life, then a shirt and tie combo is the way to go.
The key to going casual when wearing a tie is to avoid suit trousers altogether. Jeans work surprisingly well with a blazer, bringing down the formality without ruining the smart nature of a fitted shirt. Instead of formal trousers, fitted blue denim is the way to go.
When it comes to the suit, shirt and tie combo, navy is the way to go. Denim and navy are a match made in heaven, especially when the blazer has a hint of tweed running through it.
For the shirt, go for a slim light blue stripe with long sleeves. The fit will contour your body, highlighting your muscles. Light blue and white stripes will look pale against the navy but add additional interest in the outfit.
As mentioned previously, you don’t have to avoid other patterns when wearing stripes. Simply avoid going for more stripes and go for a shirt that is light with thin stripes rather than anything overly bold. Florals work with most patterns and add extra panache to the look, making them a great option for this otherwise low-key outfit.
Finish it off with a pair of boat shoes and a brown belt for a casual outfit that still looks sharp. Wear it to a first date to really impress the lucky lady or lad.
Rob’s top tip: If you plan on going at a super casual event, you can ditch the tie altogether and leave a few of the top buttons undone. Gray and brown tweed are also great options for casual suit jackets so don’t feel like navy is the only option here.
Semi-formal looks are always tricky to style and are something many men avoid, often worrying that they’ll look too formal or – you guessed it – too casual. There are a few easy ways of getting the balance right and it’s a lot easier than you’d think.
For your top half, opt for a classic white shirt in a slim fit. This type of fit is our favourite as it frames your body perfectly, showing off your physique effortlessly.
Grey speckled jackets are amazingly versatile, making them perfect for an event where you need an even balance of formal sophistication and casual coolness. Leave the buttons undone and opt for a red paisley tie; this creative and colourful pattern will tone down the formality without making the outfit overly laidback.
The main part that will turn the look from dressy to semi-formal is the bottom half. Opt for slim or skinny fit jeans in deep black rather than trousers as this will instantly balance out the smart elements, achieving smart casual perfection.
For shoes, pick between chestnut Chelsea boots and brown brogues. Both are stylish but aren’t as ceremonious as black shoes, plus these colours look amazing with a grey blazer.
Rob’s top tip: Consider your skin tone; those with olive or dark toned skin should opt for a neutral shirt with pops of warm colours such as red and khaki, whereas those who are paler should go for cool tones like blue and grey.
Styling a suit for formal occasions is a lot simpler than the above, as it’s essentially what they were made for. There’s nothing more sophisticated than a shirt, suit and tie combo, making it perfect for those events where you really need to impress.
We’d recommend staying away from black as it’s far too predictable. Opt for navy instead; it radiates the mysteriousness of black but will set you apart in a crowd.
Pair your navy suit with a light grey shirt as, again, this is a stylish alternative to the typical white or blue that everyone else will be sporting.
While you probably want to reach for your trusty plain navy tie, get creative with your look and experiment with patterns. A navy-based botanical design is classy and regal which makes it the perfect choice for when you want to attend a soiree in style.
Rob’s top tip: A tie clip makes a superb finishing touch and keeps your essential neck accessory in place. This seemingly small accessory can make a surprisingly big improvement on a formal outfit.