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Matching Tie

Pairing the Right Tie with the Right Shirt

Much has been said on what it takes to choose the right tie for a formal event: the width has to match a man’s physique (skinny ties can’t be worn on big, bulky guys), the knot has to match the formality or casual nature of the event (no schoolboy knots at a wedding), and the material itself should almost always be silk. However, men often have great difficulty when it comes to choosing the right colors and patterns to match a shirt. Unfortunately, statistics show that almost one in every 10 men are colorblind, which further exacerbates the situation. Fortunately, the situation isn’t as critical as some men might think.


Choosing the Color

When it comes to choosing the right color for a shirt, men should first take a look at the shirt they’re wearing. There is nothing more interchangeable and blank than a white collared shirt. While it’s certainly not the dressiest of options out there and is rather plain, mundane office wear, it does provide men with a blank canvas to work with. When it comes to an ironed white shirt, men are virtually free to choose whatever tie they please.

This doesn’t mean that men should just start wildly throwing on whatever colors they please. First, they should consider the event they’re going to. While more dressy-casual events might allow for neons and informal colors, they aren’t all that appropriate for black tie galas. It is always best to err on the side of caution and stick with conservative blacks, charcoals, navy blues. Even light greys and reds could be suitable.

Men should also consider their own skin tone when choosing a color. Cooler, lighter skins benefit from bolder, solid colors whereas warmer, darker skin tones benefit from more pastel-like colors.


Choosing the Pattern

Patterns are notoriously difficult to match and the situation isn’t made any easier with patterned shirts. When wearing a patterned shirt, the tie itself must match that pattern so as not to clash and it’s almost always a case of choosing a pre-paired shirt and tie combination in order to ensure it is reasonably effective. However, wearing a solid shirt does afford men with some flexibility when it comes to patterns. Patterns can be freely worn so long as the base colour of the tie doesn’t clash with the shirt and, generally speaking, darker shirts pair best with lighter ties of the same color.


Michael Snell

Loving father and husband