Every man looks his best in a good suit, however getting formalwear that both fits and looks great can be easier said than done. Once a base suit has been chosen, then comes the sometimes tricky task of identifying a shirt and tie that complements a suit perfectly. Thankfully, this task doesn't have to be approached with dread. In the following guide, we'll describe which shirt and tie types work with particular blazers and cuts, how to mix and match colours with ease, and where and when to use pattern in your suiting.

STYLE

STYLE

Proportion is key to ensuring a blazer, shirt and tie are working in harmony.

In simple terms, the tie and the widest part of the jacket's lapels should be the same width, while the spread of the shirt collar should be the same width, too. This works in almost every event, except when the jacket's lapel is especially large. In this case, choose a shirt and tie that work together as described above, making sure they are slightly thinner than the width of the lapel, while avoiding going too thin as this will completely throw the proportions out

Beyond body shape and proportions, the formality of the occasion is the other element that could influence the suit, shirt and tie you choose.

For more casual events, a button-down collar is a great choice, especially for those that can pull off a slimmer suit, paired with a slim tie. At the other end of the spectrum, black tie events unsurprisingly call for a tux jacket with a classic collar shirt and a bow tie. For anything in between, from a business meeting to a wedding or a funeral, a classic spread collar is the safest option, with a tie and jacket that match proportionately.

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COLOURS

COLOURS

Colour can be a bit trickier to master when it comes to suits, as many people seem to just know which shades work best together. However they aren't in the know with some sort of secret code, they have simply taken the time to learn and remember which colours are the right match for each other. This means that, with a little bit of help, anyone can put together a sharp, balanced suit.

The key to getting it right is by getting to grips with the colour wheel (pictured), a tool developed by Albert Einstein that shows the relationship between different shades. The best way to use it in a suit-buying context is to chose a base colour for the suit that compliments the wearer, before finding shades that are adjacent to, complement or contrast it. Be sure to remember however that a tie should always, without exception, be darker than a shirt.

If you're still struggling to get a formal outfit to work properly together, read on to find out the shirts and ties that work well with the most common suit colours.

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THE BLACK SUIT

THE BLACK SUIT

A black suit is the right companion to black tie events and formal occasions but they can be more versatile when paired with the right shirt and suit. As a rule of thumb, a white shirt will work with any coloured tie, but try to keep your patterns muted to stop the attention from being too focused in one place.

Black shirts look best with ties in black, grey or muted primary colours. To add some depth and modernity to this look, layer different textures together.

Blue shirts suit a wide range of colours. Navy, grey or black ties are recommended for subtlety. Or, you can add a pop of colour with shades of burnt orange, forest green, mustard or gold.

Pink & purple shirts will add a depth of warmth and candor to your style – perfect for first dates or family occasions. Pair these colour shirts with coordinating black, contrasting greens and blues, or similar shades of pink and purple that are a few shades deeper than the shirt.

Grey shirts will soften a black suit whilst remaining sincere. They look best when paired with various shades of grey or black ties.

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The blue suit

The blue suit

Blue suits create a relaxed look perfect for weddings and semi-formal events. Navy works well in the office and can be a good alternative to black in the summer or for formal occasions, whilst a lighter shade of blue tends to suit casual events and the warmer months.

White shirts are a classic combination with blue. Opt for a black, grey or navy tie to keep the look sharp, or add some colour with warm shades of soft pink or red. Contrast a blue suit with mustard yellow or brown for a modern look.

Pale blue shirts are a great look for spring and summer. To keep the look classic wear a black, grey or brown tie. Or for the more adventurous, try a bold shade of yellow or match it to your suit.

Pink shirts are great for creating a relaxed look. The trick is to keep things simple by pairing with a tie in a shade of blue, pink or navy.

Grey shirts create a clean, office-appropriate look. Keep your tie colours refined with shades of blue, navy or grey.

Black shirts look great when worn for evening events and nights out. Emphasise the suit's colour with a shade of navy, grey or black. And if you want to add some colour, try a deep shade of purple.

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THE GREY SUIT

THE GREY SUIT

A grey suit is a versatile piece that belongs in every gentleman's wardrobe. Perfect for both casual and formal occasions, a suit of this colour wouldn't go amiss at a wedding, dinner date or an important day at the office.

White shirts will create a crisp look. Pair with black or blue for a clean look, or add some warmth with a deep shade of red or purple.

Blue shirts tend to complement grey and create a stylish yet softened look. Opt for textured ties in the shame colour spectrum for coordination, or add a pop of colour with zingy shades of green, yellow or a soft pink. A black tie will create sharpness.

Black shirts look best with grey, black or purple ties.

Pink shirts will create a relaxed style befitting of a weekend or summer occasion. Pair this coloured shirt with deeper shades of pink, plum and purple or blue and navy ties.

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PATTERNS

PATTERNS

To make it work, it is again a story of proportion. Unlike with the size of the lapels, collar and tie, patterns need to be of different proportions to work properly together. And while we recommend experimenting with different patterns to see how they work together, the tips below can be used as starting points to help find the perfect look for you:

Same pattern style but different proportions
Example: Thin pinstripe suit, plain shirt, thick stripe tie

Different patterns
Example: Plain suit, narrow pinstripe shirt, polka dot tie

Patterned shirt only
Example: Plain suit, checked shirt, plain tie

Patterned tie only
Example: Plain suit, plain shirt, patterned two-colour tie (one colour matching shade of shirt)

Checks and polka dots
Example: Wide-check suit, gingham shirt, round motif tie

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