The Complete Guide to Shirt, Tie and Suit Combinations

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A Complete Guide to Black Suit and Shirt Combinations


A great fitting black suit is the ultimate classic staple for men. Black is after all, timeless; it transcends time and works well for all skin tones and hair colors. Even black, however, can go wrong when partnered with the wrong shirt. Luckily, we’re here to help you find the most complementary companions for your darkest suits. Below is our complete guide to black suit and shirt combinations for a sleek and stylish appearance.

Complementary Colours to Black

In theory, black goes with everything, but we do have a few stipulations if you’re going to brighten up a plain black suit. Firstly, know what colors suit your features. A color that works well for one person may not compliment you the same. So, play to your strengths to ensure that you make the most of a black suit; complementary colors for your features are integral. There are a few shades that will typically always work for a black suit – white (the most obvious, but most classic), powder blue, blush pinks and greys.


Black Suit and Shirt Combinations

Black Suit / White Shirt

You can’t go wrong with a black suit and a white shirt. You can, however, mess up the color choice of your tie. With such a traditional color like black and white, harness classic colors for a mature take on black suiting. Opt for ginghams, plaids, and checks, and harness colors like black, emeralds, oxblood, muted purples and soft blues for a simple, yet effective livening up of your traditional black suit and white shirt. Steer away from shiny materials as they will only bring unwanted attention.



Tom_Ford_White Slim-Fit Bib-Front Double-Cuff Cotton Tuxedo Shirt Ermengildo_zegna_White Trofeo Cutaway-Collar Cotton-Poplin Shirt
Canali_White Slim-Fit Stretch Cotton-Blend Shirt Hugo_Boss_White Jaiden Slim-Fit Double-Cuff Cotton-Twill Shirt

Black Suit / Blue Shirt

A powder blue shirt is the brighter, more lively version of its classic white counterpart. Try pairing black and white printed accessories with your black suit/blue shirt combinations. This will allow the colors to visually align and read more nuanced. Despite its simplistic reputation, a solid black tie will also work well, and try out different textures, like crochet versions for a dimensional approach. Deeper blues will also work, so opt for cobalt and vivid indigo for a playful approach to your black suit and blue shirt combination.



+ Turnbull and Asser Blue Cotton Royal Oxford Shirt Slim-Fit Gingham Cotton Shirt
Light-Blue Slim-Fit Cotton-Poplin Shirt Blue Jerris Slim-Fit Cotton-Poplin Shirt

All Black Suit

We issue a word of caution on the black suit and black shirt combination. It doesn’t read flattering on some gents, and the proportions need to be right for there to be enough distinction between the different elements of your outfit. Typically, black on black registers better without a tie, but if you would like to wear one, just stick to, well, black. Stray from pairing any other colors with a black shirt and black suit, as they can read dated and messy.


Black Suit / Pink Shirt

In the context of a black suit, we urge you only to wear one tone of pink. This will give you a great starting point for complementary ties. Lilacs and pinks will work, as do soft blues, black, navy and in some right contexts, burgundy. The key to perfecting the black suit and pink shirt combination is to work with youthful textures and fits – this will prevent it from reading old man-ish.



Pink Slim-Fit Herringbone Cotton Shirt Pink Slim-Fit Slub Cotton And Linen-Blend Shirt
Pink Mayfair Slim-Fit Cotton-Poplin Shirt Pink Slim-Fit Cutaway-Collar Cotton-Twill Shirt

Black Suit / Grey Shirt

As black is said to be the most versatile hue, you have a great deal of freedom with what kind of grey shirt you elect to wear. Slates, charcoals and dove greys all work really well, and because they are in the same color family, you can wear a lot of the same ties. Team your greys with other darker grey ties. You can also ground your looks with slim black ties and do not be afraid to work it some classic prints like diagonal or horizontal stripes, preppy checks or traditional crochet versions.

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Grey Slim-Fit Cotton-Twill Shirt Grey Checked Cotton-Twill Shirt
Grey Cutaway-Collar Striped Cotton Shirt Slim-Fit Striped Cotton Shirt

Black Suit / Purple Shirt

Typically, lilac should be the shade of purple you elect when pairing it with a black suit. As it is a lighter, softer version of purple, lilac will offer you a lot of freedom when it comes to teaming your shirts with ties. Bolder pink ties can work, but ensure they’re not too over the top. Deeper plums, rusty violets and warm mauves are also worthy complements. Darker purples are a bit trickier to wear but can be done well with traditionally printed ties and crochet versions which will lend more dimension.



birds-eye-cotton-shirt_ Slim-Fit Dry-Tek Performance Tonal Stripe Dress Shirt
Lilac Slim-Fit Cotton-Poplin Shirt Purple Cutaway-Collar Basketweave Cotton Shirt

How to Wear a Black Suit

  • Find complementary colors that won’t look too overwhelming with your black suit.
  • Don’t always feel the need to go too colorful, at times keeping things simple is best.
  • No matter what color combinations you may perfect, it all means nothing if your suit is not tailored to fit your body appropriately.
  • Don’t forget to liven up your black suit and shirt combinations with pocket squares.
  • For a failsafe color choice opt for a white pocket square in a presidential fold.


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The Complete Guide to Shirt, Tie and Suit Combinations

The Complete Guide to Men’s Shirt Tie and Suit Combinations

Shirts, ties, and suits certainly aren’t anything new. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t be exciting. With the right colours, any smart outfit can appear more stylish, contemporary, and coordinated. So, whether you’re dressing for the office or a formal function, colour is an important factor to consider. Luckily, we’re here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of creating a cohesive ensemble. Below is our complete guide to shirt, tie and suit combinations.

The Colour Wheel

The colour wheel is useful when it comes to pairing your ties with shirts, allowing you to identify colours that are complementary, contrasting and similar. Whilst it can be used as a rough guide for pairing your shirts and ties, you should be aware that it is one thing to do something in theory and another in practice. The colour wheel is informative, but it shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Perfecting tie and shirt combinations will come from experience! Colours besides each other in the colour wheel are similar, meaning they possess similar tones. Colours opposite to one another are complementary, but the shades of these tones need to be well considered. Finally, colours that are three sections away from other colours are contrasting.

Colour wheel

The trick to perfecting similarly coloured shirts and ties is to vary your shades. Ties should be darker than your shirts, so opt for deeper, darker colours of your shirts for your tie choices. Similar colours can work well together, but ensure there is enough distinction between the shades of your shirts and ties. Take a powder blue shirt and a navy tie – the navy will pick up the light blue tones of your shirt and will work well because they are distinctly different. Complementary colours need to be paired thoughtfully, as they can be more difficult to team together – don’t match these colours in bolder tones, the look will be a bit intimidating. Contrasting colours are typically easier to team together, given they juxtapose and create a bit more dimension. Blues and reds are the best examples of contrasting tones that work phenomenally well together.

Shirt and Tie Rules

You can never go wrong with traditional colours for your shirt choices. Ensure you have all the great staples, like white, powder blue and pale pink. This will afford you more freedom when you come to pair your shirts with ties. Patterned shirts should be welcomed for a distinctive change, but stick to traditionalist patterns and colours to keep your looks grounded, like simplistic checks and washed out ginghams. For your ties, opt for knitted and textured versions to really change up your sartorial corporate looks. Additionally, silk ties are recommended in classic prints with thicker stripes and solid tones for maximum versatility and timelessness. Keep in mind that traditional coloured suits (blacks, grey, navy, etc.) are encouraged when you try out the following colour shirt/tie combinations, and should be matched accordingly.

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Shirt Tie Rules

White Shirt Outfit Combinations

White as a tone is preferred for versatility, given this shade works well with pretty much every colour. The quintessential tone is clean, crisp and classic. White shirts thus afford much freedom when it comes to pairing them with ties. No matter your tie choice (solid colours, classic stripes, traditional patterns, modern textures), white is the obvious choice for easy combos you can formulate without thinking twice about.


White Shirt / Black Suit Combination

For white shirt and black suit combinations, interpret this combination classically for a timeless edge. Whilst most colours work really well with black and white (obviously, they are the base shades), monochromatic ties will sustain a refined approach to these colour combinations. Try out differently textured ties for a more dimensional take on classic black and white.



Grey A Suit To Travel In Soho Slim-Fit Wool Suit White Slim-Fit Pinned-Collar Double-Cuff Cotton-Poplin Shirt
Ermenegildo Zegna Shirt Prada Black Suit

White Shirt / Grey Suit Combination

Given grey and white are more neutral, be sure to add dashes of colour to warm such a palette up. Grey suits with white shirts can be warmed up with redder tones, grounding your looks. So, opt for classic burgundies and rich oxblood to add a dash of colour to grey.



White Double-Cuff Cotton Shirt White Slim-Fit Bib-Front Double-Cuff Cotton Tuxedo Shirt
Prada Grey Jacket Prada Grey Trousers

White Shirt / Navy Suit Combination

White and navy have proven to be an alluring colour combination for the modern man, particularly for corporate looks. Play with different patterns like ginghams and tartans which feature similar blue tones for a nod to private school uniforms. Alternatively, go for knitted ties in solid colours like cherry reds and grass greens for a clean, classic way to interpret a navy suit with a white shirt.



Midnight-Blue Slim-Fit Wool-Twill Suit + Turnbull and Asser White Bib-Front Cotton Tuxedo Shirt
Charvet Paisley Tie Richard James Shirt

White Shirt / Tan Suit Combination

For tan suits and white shirts, blue tones are your best bet. Different shades of blue will complement the warmth of a tan suit, so keep an open mind with the types of tones you go for. Navy kitted ties in different patterns like horizontal stripes will liven up your take on neutral suiting and powder blue tones will also pick up the warmth of tan and also brighten up a simple white shirt.



White Slim-Fit Pinned-Collar Double-Cuff Cotton-Poplin Shirt Paul Smith Jacket
Paul Smith Pants Tom Ford Tie

Blue Shirt Outfit Combinations

Blue is one of the best shades you should go for when choosing dress shirts. Firstly, it’s a change from classic white, but it is still conservative and formal. Blue is also great to give you a deeper tan complexion and warms up your clothing palettes subtly. Powder blue is your best bet for another corporate staple that works incredibly well with different tie colours and patterns. Pale blue also tends to complement a range of skin tones and hair colours, making it an alluring shirt staple. For powder blue work shirts, opt for ties in the same colour family like darker navies for a grounded look. Alternatively, go for dark patterned ties or mix things up with deep crimson silks or darker green variations for corporate looks with a twist.


Blue Shirts / Grey Suit Combination

For powder blue shirts and grey suiting, you will want to distinguish between your shirt and your tie. The best way to do this for this combination is to opt for a navy, which is still within the same colour family but it is distinctive from a powder blue shirt. Try out silks for added shine and knitted ties for a bit more texture. Alternatively, opt for pinks and violets to add variation, without straying too far from your colour story.



Boglioli Grey Trousers Boglioli Suit Jacket
Charvet Blue Shirt Hugo Boss Tie

Blue Shirts / Tan Suit Combination

The best way to annotate a tan suit with a blue shirt is to stick to the classics. You’re working with some opposing tones, so it is best to keep things conservative. Deeper scarlet ties will do just that, offering a bit of diversity when you don a blue shirt with a tan suit. Also, consider patterned ties in classic colours which will lend a preppy edge to a well-tailored neutral suit when paired with a blue shirt.



Charvet Puppytooth Shirt Hugo Boss Jacket
Hugo Boss Trousers Thom Browne Tie

Blue Shirts / Navy Suit Combination

The trick to pulling off lighter blue shirts under deeper blue suiting is to diversify your look, adding ties in different prints and patterns. This will allow your tie to be the focal point, as opposed to just blending in. Stripes work well and are classic, but also consider a darker tartan to tie your look together. For a failsafe look that is hard to fault, go for deep crimson ties to stand out amongst the shades of blue.

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Midnight-Blue Slim-Fit Wool-Twill Suit Blue Cotton Shirt
Canali Red Tie Kingsman Blue Shirt

Pink Shirt Outfit Combinations

Powder pinks can be a refreshing change to the monotony of staple shirt colours. This tone can also bring a bit more colour to standard suits. You will need to ensure that the pink shirts you pick are not overwhelmingly pigmented, so opt for softer tones to complement accompanying navy, grey and tan blazers. The trick to pairing appropriate ties with pink is to work with both contrasting and similar colours. A deep purple or violet tie will pick up the tones of pink, and deeper navies will add depth to this pastel tone.

PINK Shirt

Pink Shirt / Navy Suit Combination

Pink shirts are the perfect accompaniment to navy suits, so keep in mind that working with similar tones will complement this colour combination. For a safer interpretation, opt for a matching textured navy tie, like crochet versions, which will reference your suit, but add a bit more diversity to your look. Mid-tone pinks may also work well, but ensure they are darker than your shirt. Alternatively, opt for ties in stripes or plaids that feature classic tones to play off this colour combination.



Harry's Navy Super 120s Wool And Cashmere-Blend Suit Canali Knit Tie
Charvet Pink Shirt Hugo Boss Shirt

Pink Shirt / Grey Suit Combination

A deep purple or sandy violet will complement the tones of pink in your shirt and also correspond well with the neutrality of a grey suit. We note that as usual, tailoring should be exceptionally done especially with these colours to modernise such looks.

Pink Shirt Grey Suit


Pink Double-Cuff Cotton Shirt Paul Smith Tie
Tom Ford Jacket Tom Ford Pants

Pink Shirts / Tan Suit Combination

Try playing off the warm neutral tones that a tan suit provides, and opt for dusty browns. The warmth of brown will also complement a softer pink, so your palette will correspond well with all the components of your outfit.



Club Monaco Jacket Club Monaco Pants
Kingsman Brown Tie Tom Ford Shirt

Checked Shirts

For checks, opt for ties in bolder colours and patterns to ensure that it will stand out against your shirt. The trick is to make your tie the statement. With subtle print shirts, you can get away with more vivid prints and patterns. Just ensure that your tie is bolder and darker than your shirt, to ensure there is a distinction between your apparel.

Check Shirts


Ermenegildo Zegna Checked Shirt Etro Suit Jacket
Etro Suit Trousers Polo Ralph Lauren

Striped Shirts

Striped shirts obviously work with plainer ties, but also consider mixing it up with striped ties to contrast the print of your shirts. The key to perfecting this combination is to ensure that the stripes in your ties and shirts are not the same width because the contrast is what you should go for. A thicker striped tie will correspond well with a thinner striped shirt. Also, more subtle prints like smaller polka dots can also work well to complement striped shirts.

Striped Shirt


Hugo Boss Suit Jacket Hugo Boss Suit Trousers
Studio Nicholson Shirt Tom Ford Polka Dot Tie

Car FAQs

What ties go with a suit?

Ideally, your tie will be darker than your shirt. Then, when it comes to colors, choose adjacent, complementary, or contrasting colors on the color wheel. For example, a navy suit, powder blue shirt, and dark teal tie is a great combination. Navy, white, and red is also another excellent option. It can be tricky to get it right at first, but the more you experiment, the easier deciding on a color combination will become.

What Colour suits together?

When looking at color combinations, they can either be adjacent, complementary or contrasting, on the color wheel. The easiest matches to make are when using adjacent colors, so this can be where you start. Classic color pairings include navy and light blue, navy and red, blue and orange, tan and chocolate, and tan and navy.

Should you wear a tie with a suit?

A tie rounds out the whole look when wearing a suit, so you should wear one for most occasions. The exception would be smart casual events, where it might seem a bit too formal. In this case, you can still wear the suit, just ditch the tie and undo the top button on your shirt.


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