Select Your Tie First
Most men’s fashion advice sites suggest that you first select the suit you want to wear, then the dress shirt, and finally the tie. We disagree. The necktie is the most expressive apparel item in a man’s wardrobe. The whole structure of suit with the lapels and V at the chest is aimed at showcasing the necktie. So, selecting your suit first and then your tie is like first picking the box and then the jewel to go in it.
Select your tie based on how you feel that day, who you will be seeing, and what type of impression you want to make (creative, businesslike, outgoing). Then select your dress shirt and, finally, your suit or sport jacket.
The first hurdle you have to clear is matching the colors of the various components. It is advisable, but no means a hard and fast rule, that one color in your tie should match the ground color of your dress shirt. Obviously, if you have selected a white dress shirt this does not apply. The main colors of the combined shirt/tie combo should compliment the primary color of the suit/jacket. Here are some guidelines:
Suit Color Shirt Ground Color Tie Color
Grey Black Navy Charcoal White Blue Pink Yellow Red Blue Black Pink Yellow Purple Gold Burgundy
Brown Khaki White Yellow Tan Ecru
Brown Rust Green Red Yellow Garnet Rust Orange Gold
Once, again these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. For example, a bright green tie may be a bit of a stretch with a navy suit. However, if the tie has blue in the pattern it will be a striking combination.
The next hurdle is pattern coordination. We assume after playing our How to Match a Tie and Shirt Game you are a wiz at putting patterned shirts and ties together. If you are going this route, we suggest that you select either a solid color or wide pinstripe suit.
Putting a strongly patterned suit with a patterned shirt and tie is pushing the fashion bubble and best left to window dressers and fashion editors. If, for some reason, you really MUST wear that plaid suit or sport jacket, let that be your fashion statement for the day and tone it down with the tie and dress shirt. For example, stick with a solid color shirt and subtly patterned tie like a paisley, madder, or neat all-over.