Raising your TIE-Q | Guide to Matching the Colours of your Ties and Shirts

In order to elevate your sense of style, you need need to leave the comfort of the norm. Reluctance to experiment often leads to monotony. We don’t want that.

The journey to an impeccable shirt/tie combination starts with the colours of the two. Our early years of learning brought us the colour wheel and it seems that the pursuit of style has brought us back to it.

Matching colours

This is a basic overview that will cover shirts in the following colours/patterns: white, pink, purple, and blue. I have tried to put in as much variety as possible in the pictures.

Similar, complementary and contrasting colour knowledge is vital as a good cohesion of colours is key in matching your ties to shirt. Similar colours are next to each other. Complementary colours are opposite each other. Contrasting colours have three colours between them. Its easier to match similar and contrasting colours than it is to match complementary colours.

My advice when deciding on colours is to pair analogous colours (colours in the same family) e.g. a light blue shirt with a navy blue tie. Alternatively, you can opt for a complementary tie colour e.g. a light pink shirt with a navy blue tie. Once you’re comfortable with those pairing you can start contrasting colours e.g. a light pink shirt with a emerald green tie.

Matching patterns

This can be a tricky but we’ll cover the basics and then get into an overview of having contrasting patterns.

First, choose what item between the shirt and the tie will be in a solid/plain colour; then use the colour guide above to get a good cohesion of colours. Ideally the two items should have colours that are cohesive e.g. if you’re wearing a white shirt with navy stripes, a burgundy tie is a great option as the blue in the stripes will complement the burgundy in the tie.

You could also get two patterns in one ensemble but you have to be careful as it can look quite busy and overdone. This is not a sartorial move at the top of my list of recommendations. 

Knots, collars, and neck size

According to me, this is the most important section in this post. I say this because you can get away with a horrible combination of colours of patterns, but you can BARELY ever get away with a tie knot that is disproportional to your collar and neck.

So as a basic guideline, the smaller the angle of the collar, the longer and narrower the tie knot should be: so opt for a Nicky or Victoria knot. On the other hand, the wider the angle of the collar, the more triangular and sharp the tie knot should be: here you should go with a Half or Full Windsor knot.

A person with a skinny to medium-sized neck can get away with a narrow or a more triangular tie but it’s bit tricky for the people with larger necks. If you fit into the latter criteria, I’d advise you to go with a very narrow and simple knot such as the Nicky or Victoria.

One last thing before we get to the patterns, please try to avoid a large knot as much as you possibly can. A large, bulgy knot isn’t cool at all, it doesn’t exude the sprezzatura we’re looking for.

Please leave a comment for me below if there’s any questions you have and I’ll be sure to answer them.

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