Why dress bland when we can be vibrant, stylish, and classy? After all, fashion is supposed to be about daring and bold choices. If you are tired of starting your days with plain shirts and neutral colors, it’s about time you added some patterns to your wardrobe. Add the right kind of ties to the mix, and you’ll be slaying the fashion game.
Patterned shirts give you a lot of room to style and experiment with. You can pair a brightly patterned shirt with solid colors or subtly patterned ties for a classy and professional look. You can also pair your patterned shirts with polka dot ties, paisley ties, floral ties, and striped ties.
The key to finding the right balance between ties and patterned shirts comes down to the color theory, dimensions, and scale. There’s a lot to unpack here, but we have cut it down to size in this article so you can start your sartorial journey today.
The Best Tie Picks for Patterned Shirts
Patterned shirts aren’t just articles of clothing. Their style and versatility allow you to express yourself and showcase your individuality.
If you’re feeling a little wild and adventurous, wear your zebra-patterned shirt. The white and black stripes are perfectly appropriate to wear to work but are also a great way to show your desire to plan a safari trip.
If you’re a hidden artist working a 9-5 job, don’t let that kill your creativity. Go all out with geometric patterns on your shirt. Let that remind you that you love colors and shapes, and art.
The options for patterned shirts are endless, and you can wear whatever helps you express yourself. The real trick is to pair a tie with it. The choice of your tie can make or break your outfit.
Our goal is to make sure you step out of the house dressed to the nines, and here’s a quick guide on how to find the perfect pairing for your patterned shirts:
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The reason we are starting with plain ties is that the best way to jump-start your style journey is to start simple. Do not make outrageous fashion statements just yet. First, you need to master that well-dressed, elegant look, and a plain tie is the way to do it.
With no patterns on them, plain ties allow you to focus on contrasting and balancing colors without worrying about dimensions and scale. They are assertive, elegant, versatile, and have a touch of sophistication to them. They can be best paired with the following:
- Striped Shirts: Pick the dominant color from the shirt and match it with the solid-colored tie. It doesn’t have to be an exact match. It can be darker than the color of the shirt.
Plaid and Checkered Shirts: There’s already a lot going on in plaid and checkered shirts. To strike a balance, plain ties work best. Pick one of the colors from the shirt and coordinate it with the tie.
Floral and Paisley shirts: To balance out the boldness of floral and paisley shirts, pick a casual plain tie, one with muted colors. You can match this color to the most dominant color on the shirt or you can contrast it.
Subtly Patterned Ties
Once you have mastered the art of pairing plain ties with patterned shirts, it’s time to move on to subtly patterned ties. These ties are in solid colors, but they either have a texture or a pattern in the same color as the tie, making them nearly invisible. You have to treat these ties the same way you would treat plain ties. They go perfectly with floral, paisley, striped, and checkered shirts.
Polka Dot Ties
Use polka-dot ties as your first foray into pattern-mixing. The first thing you need to learn about mixing patterns is the scale. When you have a patterned shirt and you want to pair it with a patterned tie, you need to make sure that the scale of their pattern is similar, but the pattern itself should be different.
For example, if you have a tie with large polka dots, pair it with a shirt that has equally large stripes on it.
You cannot, however, pair a small polka dot tie with a shirt that has small round flowers on it. While the patterns aren’t the same, they are similar. The tie and the shirt will bleed into each other, creating an underwhelming look.
Polka dots are versatile and go with all kinds of patterned shirts. Although they are colorful and bold, they aren’t like florals. They add a playful touch to your attire, and you can wear them to work, a wedding, or a dinner. They perfectly toe that line of being fun and bold but not overwhelming.
All the paisley ties have these tear-drop-shaped patterns on them. In some ties, they are spaced apart, in others, they are swirling together with more intricate patterns around them. Paisley ties often have two to three different colors in them.
Since a lot is going on with paisley ties, they are best paired with shirts that have small-scale patterns in them. These patterns are so small and light that they are nearly invisible from afar, and you might often mistake these shirts as solid-colored shirts.
Paisley ties can also be paired with striped and checkered shirts if they have the same scale. Pick one of the colors from the shirt that you want to stand out, then use the colors of your paisley tie to do the job. For example, if you have a white and pink checkered shirt and you want the pink to stand out, pick a paisley tie that has dark pink/maroon hues.
Floral ties, as the name suggests, are flowery and leafy, and you need to have a very acute sense of fashion to make them work. However, once you do learn to pair them with the right shirt, you won’t ever have to worry about dressing for celebratory events. It’s an eye-catching, whimsical design, and people with fun personalities should make sure they wear it often.
Floral ties are best paired with subtly patterned shirts such as pinstripes because they are showstoppers on their own. If you ever must go to a wedding or a late dinner right after work, all you need to do is switch your work tie to the floral one, and it will lift not only your outfit but also your mood.
Striped ties are quite versatile because you’d find them in all scales and dimensions. Coincidentally, they are best paired with striped shirts. The rules are like that of polka dot ties. When pairing a striped shirt with striped ties, you need to make sure that the scale of the stripes is different. Large stripes on shirts, small stripes on ties, and vice versa.
The orientation of the stripes must also be different to create a cohesive look. If the stripes on the shirt are vertical, go for ties with diagonal lines in them. In short, the same patterns should have different scales, but different patterns can have similar scales.
As a beginner, we suggest using ties with classic stripes or subtle stripes to elevate your ensemble.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Acceptable to Wear a Tie with a Patterned Shirt?
As unique and odd as the idea may sound, it is perfectly fine to wear a tie with patterned shirts. Keep in mind that the term ‘patterned shirts’ is used for all kinds of designs and not just paisley. Polka dot, check, micro check, flannel, stripes, etc., are all considered patterned shirts.
How To Choose the Right Tie Width for Patterned Shirts?
Remember the golden rule; the width of the tie should be the same as the width of the shirt’s collar. Whether you are pairing your tie with patterned shirts or solid-colored ones, this proportion gives a balanced look to the whole outfit.
Can I Combine a Paisley Printed Shirt with a Paisley Tie?
This combination is rare and considered one of the pitfalls of shirt-tie pairing. Pairing a paisley shirt with a paisley tie creates an uneven look. Neither of them enhances the other; instead, they create a visually overwhelming appearance. This pairing will not work in a professional setting. A better combination would be a solid tie or a tie with subtle patterns when wearing paisley shirts.
Final Thoughts on What Tie Do You Wear With A Patterned Shirt
You can wear all kinds of ties with patterned shirts and attain that stylish and polished look that is often reserved for A-list celebrities and million-dollar business owners. The key is to strike a perfect balance between the patterns of the shirt and the colors of the tie. If you can pair the two to complement one another, instead of creating an overwhelming or an underwhelming look, you have found a winning combination.
Keep pairing and experimenting until picking the right tie becomes second nature to you!
Samoel Ovanessian is the founder and creator of StylishAlpha.com – a website dedicated to men’s fashion. As a proud owner of more than 200 ties, he loves digging through new clothing combinations for everyday use, formal events and even just for fun. You can read more about Samoel here.