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Men’s Style | How to match your shirt and tie 

It may seem like the easiest task to pull off, but it takes considerable style energy to effortlessly put the shirt and tie together.

The art of matching ties with suits or shirts could be confusing at times. The options available – from style, cut, fit, to colour, are limitless.

how to match your shirt and tie

Fashionthematic, Male Fashion Blogger

Stylish Academic paired up with men’s fashion blogger, FashionThematic, to work out the kinks in getting the best out of your shirt & tie shopping.

The following tips are not exhaustive, but they will serve as a guide.

It is also important to mention here that you work your ties around your shirts, not the other way round.

Tip 1 – The Colour Code

Before you pick out the tie, check out the colour of your shirt. Is it block coloured or multi-coloured?

Igee Okafor

Igee Okafor

The aim is to create some form of contrast between the two pieces. The tie shouldn’t be so understated that it blends in and disappears into the shirt, neither should the shirt be totally overwhelmed by the design or colour of the tie –  #ColourRiot. We want a friendly contrast that is pleasing to the eye.

Also don’t be afraid to experiment with uncommon colours.

Colour combination is one of the daunting tasks men face on a daily basis, but it really doesn’t have to be that challenging.

For instance, you may pair a sky blue shirt (light colour) with a darker textured tie of the same colour (navy blue?).

If you really want to go all out on the contrast scale (best for social events), you may pair a blue shirt with an orange tie, or red shirt and a green tie. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it 🙂


Tip 2 – Shirt collar would inform the knot style of tie selected

Match shirt 500The collar of a shirt matters!

This is especially so, as there are different styles for ties – the standard tie, the skinny tie, the jersey tie …. The collar determines the tie knot.

A mismatched tie-knot and collar could make the tie too big, and make the collar squashed or too small. It is important to get the right combination of collar and tie knot.

Here are a few collar-styles:

1 . Spread Collar – which means there is a distance between the collar points. It can be worn without a tie. It is often regarded as a British-styled collar. The best tie knot for this is half Windsor, and I will recommend a cotton or silk tie to get the perfect knot.

2. Forward Point – the name explains it; the collar point falls out.

3. Button down –  this collar has buttons on the collar points. The best knot style for this, based on the narrow opening, will be four in hand knot.

4. Club Collar –  this collar has round edges.A  half Windsor knot would be appropriate because this kind of collar looks more casual.

See examples (images) of shirt collars here.


Tip 3 – The shirt patternIgee inpost 2

Prints and patterns are great ways to explore your personal style.

Patterns can be stripes, graphic prints, or the traditional gingham, plaid, tartan… and so on.

Ideally, you wear stripes on a solid colour tie – but to take things up a notch, you may combine a patterned shirt and tie.

It’s recommended to select contrasting stripes when putting together a pattern-combo outfit. For instance, when wearing a thin striped shirt, select a large patterned striped tie.

Another example is combining a horizontal striped shirt with a vertical patterned tie.

There is need to create some contrast between the patterns on the shirt and tie, otherwise, the element of style is lost in the effort.

Key rules:

1) Use different pattern sizes – e.g. pin-stripped blue shirt + a wider horizontal striped tie to match.

2) Select completely different patterns – e.g. a monochrome stripped shirt + a polka dot tie or flowery tie

3) Pattern on solid: that is, pattern shirt with a solid colour tie  – e.g. horizontal striped shirts in wine with a wine coloured tie.

4) Solid coloured shirt with a patterned tie of the same colour on the background of the tie.


Igee 4Tip 4: The Fabric

A stylish gentleman knows the devil angel is in the detail.

We’ve explored the different ways you may best combine your shirt and tie, but one last point to think about is the fabric.

Wool – this is best for cooler weather unlike the silk which is more for warmer weather. The tie usually have high GSM i.e heavy with cooler colour.

Cotton fabric –  this is more suited for summer season.



Photo Credit: Igee Okafor (used with permission):

Igee Okafor (How to wear Gucci’s Stripped Cable Knit Sweater this Spring)/ Photography: Mark Asuncion

Igee Okafor (Saying Goodbye to the Cold Season…)/ Photography: Gina Palermo

You can follow Fashionthematic on his website and Instagram page for more male fashion inspiration.