How to match your watch to your suit or shirt

By on November 20th, 2016

Do you give much thought to how to match your watch to your suit? Or what about something more casual like your go-to dress shirt? It can be easy to write off matching your accessories as somewhat frivolous when compared to the rest of your outfit. But with this article, I want to argue my case that something small like your watch band can help to really make your overall look. And yes, people do notice these subtle style enhancements.

Brett and I own a handful of Barton Watch Bands and we’ve been playing around with them for some time now. And until I can afford to buy the perfect watch for every one of my suits, sportcoats, and dress shirts (e.g. a Tourbillon for my peaked lapel cocktail jacket), swapping out the watch band will work just fine. Then again, if I owned a Tourbillon, I’d probably still fiddle with the band!

So, let’s take a look at two outfits. One dressy and one more casual.


This is one of Brett’s favorite sportcoats. Aside from nailing the blue color scheme and showing off the working button holes, Brett neatly ties everything together with his watch. The watch face itself is elegant enough to stand up to the clean sophistication of his jacket and the brown leather Barton band isn’t too distracting.

how to match your watch to your suit

With this particular outfit, I think that wearing a conservative band is important because the sportcoat is very bold and has a lot going on with the blue patterning. Also, Brett’s bold use of red on the contrast collar fabric of his dress shirt is a somewhat unexpected pop of color. To add even more color with the watch band would be a mistake, I think.

how to match your watch to your suit

Another thing that we really like about this look is that the metallic watch face pairs nicely with the cufflinks that now and again come into view. Imagine if Brett was wearing a dark watch or a boring smartwatch – neither would relate to the cufflinks as coherently as we see here.

how to match your watch to your outfit


Let’s point our attention to a more casual scenario. You may recognize the shirt below as our Slate River Road flannel, now sadly out of stock. Named after one of my favorite camping sites outside Crested Butte, this shirt was designed with functionality in mind. The flannel is impressively warm and the two chest pockets ensure that you never run out of places to store your things. Both are flap pockets, but one is pleated for bulky items.

One of the really cool features on this shirt are the buttons – they are rubber! You can’t quite tell by looking at them, but they certainly feel different. I knew that I wanted these buttons when I designed the shirt because I felt that they were the perfect nod to the mountain motif. Consequently, a rubber watch band makes perfect sense. Sure, leather would work (as it usually does), but the rubber band just gives a sense of youthfulness and resilience that I think works really well with this look.

how to match your watch to your shirt

It’s worth noting that the watch band is of a lighter shade of green than the green in the shirt, which is much more of a forest green. Although there is a part of me that wishes I had a watch band that matches perfectly, how often does that really happen? So, in this case, I reached for what made the most sense. In the case we have here, I think the green watch band is a little bit playful and catches the eye nicely.

how to match your watch to your shirt

Something else I want to point out is the texture. The very textural rubber band is complemented nicely by the flannel fabric. In contrast, if I was wearing a very sleek black leather band with this same dress shirt, the two textures would be at odds with one another, wouldn’t they?

Wrap up

I hope these two examples give you a little insight into how you can match your watch to your suit or casual outfit. It’s easy to write your watch band off as a trivial style note, but it’s these subtle additions to your overall look that really help to paint a picture of your overall style.

By the way, if you’d like to read more about Barton Watch Bands, check out this earlier blog post I wrote.

By Ryan Wagner