You’re now the proud owner of a perfectly fitted tailored suit. Perhaps you own a few made-to-measure shirts as well. Despite your wise investment in these classic pieces, a few well-fitted garments don’t make you a sartorial genius. It’s the combination of different garments and accessories that creates a stylish outfit – specifically the combination of shirt, tie and tailored suit. Each of us prefer different combinations and different looks, and there aren’t really any concrete rules that must always be followed. However, unless you have all the confidence, swagger and natural elegance of Benedict Cumberbatch, David Beckham and Idris Elba, it’s best to be aware of some combo guidelines.
#1: The shirt & tie combo is trickiest (and most important)
It’s difficult to go wrong with suit and tie combinations, assuming that you’re wearing a single colour suit. The shirt and tie combination contains many more variables, and is far more important to master – you can also remove your jacket to hide a colour or pattern mismatch.
#2: The tie should be darker than the shirt
As a general rule, ensure that your tie is at least a few shades darker than the shirt. If you’re using block colours on both garments, an easy way of mastering the combo is to use a darker shade from the same colour family on your tie. For example, pair a pale blue shirt with a navy blue tie. A black shirt is an obvious exception here – go for charcoal, light grey or a patterned tie.
#3: Contrasting colours
A strong contrast between shirt and tie provides a striking look that’s a breeze to create. White shirts are the most versatile of all, and pretty much any block coloured tie will work well in combination with them.
#4: Patterned shirts and solid ties
Here’s one of the most important ‘rules’ to take into account when wearing a patterned shirt. Try to match the solid block colour of your tie with one of the colours used in the pattern of your shirt. If your shirt uses a subtle burgundy check, consider a burgundy tie. The same rule applies when wearing a patterned tie with a block coloured shirt.
#5: Three-pattern outfits are a huge risk
Unless you are 100% sure you have the style credentials to pull off a patterned suit, shirt and tie combination, stay well clear. You’ll probably end up looking like a clown or an eccentric comedian rather than an edgy style guru. Ensure that one of these three garments has a solid colour.
#6: Don’t match patterns
If you have vertical stripes on your shirt, stay far away from a vertical patterned tie. The effect of matching patterns like this is almost like an optical illusion. It’s distracting, odd and unstylish. Vary the pattern type and also the scale. For example, small checks on your shirt would work well with big checks on the tie. This strategy ensures that the combination isn’t too loud.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to sartorial excellence. Looking for a made-to-measure shirt to add to your wardrobe? Take a look at what Hemingway Tailors has to offer.