How to choose a tie for your dress shirt—the finishing piece for the perfect shirt, your tie is a crucial feature of dressing for business or formal environments. However, it’s all too often overlooked, badly chosen, or indeed overplayed, causing it to ruin an outfit. But when chosen well, a tie pins together all the best elements of your look and gives it a real lift.
We’ve waxed lyrical here about the huge difference made by wearing a crisp, well fitted dress shirt to go along with your suit. After all, it’s the shirt that holds your overall look together. But it’s not alone in this endeavor—the tie is its main running buddy for giving your outfit the perfect finishing touch.
Here we’ll take you through a few ways to choose the right tie to go perfectly with your shirt.
The Best Tie Styles for a Dress Shirt
Ultimately, you’re free to wear whatever tie you feel like wearing—loud, novelty, cheeky, and so on. We’re not here to tell anyone what to do. But when it comes to dressing smart, for the office or for formal events, we would advise you to play it cool and refined with your tie.
Solid colours are always a winner, as long as the colour compliments your shirt (more on that below). But aside from solids, some versatile and classy tie patterns are pin dots and diagonal stripes, glen plaid, and on occasion, paisley print.
Shirt & Tie Colour Combinations
For shirt and tie colour combinations, here are a few that will never let you down:
1. White shirt & whatever your heart desires
Black, navy, burgundy, brown, gold. Really, whatever you feel like as long as it’s refined. White shirts absorb the colour of your tie, and so it’ll go with just about any solid or subtly patterned colour.
2. Blue shirt & green tie
A combination with a lovely texture. Be mindful of quite how bright each item is, but most greens will go with most blues. A brown tie will also go lovely with a blue shirt in almost any shade.
3. Blue Striped Shirt & Burgundy Tie
A subtly striped shirt in light or dark blue will pair up beautifully with a burgundy tie. Want to go one better? Make it a pin dot tie for some extra texture. Anything bigger than a pin dot however, will render the whole look far too busy, so keep those dots fine.
4. Blue Striped Shirt & Navy Tie
This one will work a little better with dark blue stripes, as the colours will blend nicely together up to a point, and the white of your shirt will offset the darker shades. It’s the most conservative of our suggestions, but it always looks neat, tidy and respectable.
How Long Should My Tie Be?
The tip of your tie should just brush your belt line. Anything much shorter or longer, and you’ll run the risk of looking like a schoolboy.
How Wide Should My Tie Be?
Skinny ties have come and gone with skinny fit suits, so it’s perhaps best to overlook them. As for super wide ties, they pair with relaxed fit shirts. But those aren’t really appropriate for dress business or dress wear at the moment. Wearing one with a modern cut suit could end up with you looking very outdated.
It’s best to keep your tie narrow to medium in width, but not too thin. In fact, choose a width that runs parallel with your shirt fit—narrow tie with slim fit shirt, medium-width tie with regular fit shirt.
What’s The Best Tie Knot?
For some reason, people really love a Windsor and a Half Windsor knot, but both can be a little bulky for certain collars and certain occasions. As for the domineering Balthus, it’s just a little too big for its own good these days.
For a great all round tie know style, stick to the good old Four-in-Hand. It strikes the perfect balance between little and large, and it also works excellently with all kinds of collars, from straight points to cutaways.
We trust that now you know a little more about pairing the best tie for your dress shirt. Check out our related articles and guides below, and stop by the Nickson Online Store when you’re ready to purchase your next shirt.
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