With this simple guide from our professional clothier team, we can help you answer that age old question- patterned or solid tie?

As a very general rule, you want to pair patterned ties with solid shirts and solid ties with patterned shirts. Pretty simple, right? But where’s the fun in merely playing it safe? Certainly won’t earn you any points with that cutie you’ve been eyeing in the finance department.

By keeping these basics in mind- and the intimidation of branching out at bay- watch in amazement as your current wardrobe makes a marked transformation and launches you into dapper Dan status.

Again, generally speaking, the shirt you choose will largely determine the kind of tie you’ll want to pair with it. We’ve made this easy for you by breaking down our suggestions by shirt type starting with the most prevalent: solid/colored, striped, and checkered.

First rule: commit this one to memory folks; the shade of your tie should always be darker than the color of your shirt, no exception.


Solid/Colored Shirts
Perhaps not surprisingly, solid white button downs are going to offer you the most versatility. In this case, to avoid looking too ‘safe’ make sure your tie is the focal point. Do this with color, pattern, texture or all the above. A pin stripe, Gingham check or knitted options are good additions to any closet.

For solid color options, you’ll want to make sure any colors are complimentary. (See this color wheel for details.) If both shirt and tie are colored, make sure the tie picks up color elements from the hue of your shirt.

Striped Shirts
Pattern mixing 101: always vary the size of the patterns you combine. In other words, fight the instinct to get too matchy-matchy. For example, if the stripes on your shirt are thin, you’ll need to scale up to a larger patterned tie. When opting for something more substantial like a butcher’s stripe shirt, an understated tie works best.


Feeling adventurous? Why not try varying the orientation of the stripes themselves! For instance, set your tie apart from the vertical stripes on your shirt with a diagonal pattern around the neck. Or you could forego the stripes all together and test out polka dots, paisley or a structured geometric design.

Checkered Shirts
Most important takeaway here: check shirts always require that your tie sport a bigger pattern or you run the risk of it becoming lost.

Don’t be afraid to combine stripes with check shirts. Just be sure to choose a pattern with a thick, bold stripe so that it can stand up against the pattern on your shirt. Same rules apply for polka dots!

However, if we were you, we’d avoid using any patterns which are too intricate including paisley or geometrics- they’re too busy for a check backdrop.

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*As a side note: When it comes to tie texture, we typically recommend avoiding anything that’s too shiny or smooth, and if choosing between standard and skinny options, a good rule of thumb is to keep your tie as close to the width of your suit lapel as possible.

Et voila! Follow these simple rules and you’ll no longer be victim to safe, predictable easy street-i.e.: plain tie with indistinguishable white dress shirt. Get ready to turn some heads!


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