Style Basics

Man Laws – Matching Your Ties

By on November 13th, 2013

About our Man Law series of style:

As we echo many times on this blog, the essence of a man’s style is knowing the rules of the road and then bending them just enough to suit his own personality. Our Man Law series focuses on the basics. We provide the tools, you – the creativity to build your own image.

Matching Your Ties

So, let’s be honest. You could pick out a white shirt each day and throw any old tie on it, call it matched, and walk out the door. But you’re more interesting than that, aren’t you? Below are some of the fundamental rules to matching your tie to, well, something more interesting than a blank canvas.

And this is all very important, because the color of your neck tie can say something about you.


You have a striped tie. It’s in your closet somewhere. And you probably have a checkered or windowpane shirt as well. If the colors lend well to each other, then pair the two together. But stick to the extremes. Go with a smaller check shirt (Gingham) or a larger windowpane look. Also, reach for one of your more conservative striped ties. The less complicated, the better it will match the check. Don’t have a shirt on either of extremes? That’s ok, you can still go with a medium size check pattern, but use a striped tie that is more solid in pattern.

matching striped tie


You may be thinking to yourself, plaids?! My grandpa wore plaids – haven’t seen them since. Think again. Plaids are trendy now. Which is great! Younger guys are paving the way by wearing slimmer ties (think narrow, not skinny) and very updated looking plaid patterns. No matter what age you are, plaids should have a place in your neck wear arsenal. Now with a complicated tie like a plaid, you’ll want to tone down your shirt fabric. Err on the side of a solid versus an obvious stripe and certainly don’t mix a plaid tie with a check. You’ll look like you stepped out of a circus. Unless of course, you actually do work in a circus.


Plaid tie matching1

Don’t let the somewhat effeminate sounding name scare you off. The paisley pattern can be a powerful statement. Or, it can be subtle. Truth is, despite the admittedly formal look of this pattern, it can still be dressed up or down to your liking. This is your go-to tie with a solid shirt and almost any striped shirt. Just be sure the colors complement each other. Also, a tattersall or small check shirt will work just fine, similar to a striped tie.
Matching paisley tie

So, that’s it! The rules listed above are the general guidelines to follow when matching your ties to your shirts. Just remember to match the colors to some degree and you’ll be fine. Your tie should complement your shirt, not clash or fade into it.

Follow these rules and you’ll easily be the best dressed man in the office!

And if you need a refresher on how to tie a tie, read this.