If you’ve already mastered the solid color shirt-and-tie pairings, it’s time to graduate into the class of mixing patterned shirts and ties.
This sartorial choice will add a unique flair to your outfit and signify you as a man in-the-know as this look can be difficult to grasp. Clashing prints can result in a dizzying moiré pattern or optical illusion that leaves onlookers struggling for a safe place to rest their eyes. To guide you, follow these simple rules of thumb and you’ll look cool and pulled together as you flex your style savvy.
Pick your primary color. Starting with your button down shirt, determine the dominant color of the shirt; which color arrests your attention upon first glance? Is it the navy background or is it the accenting green plaid that your eye is immediately drawn towards? Once you decide the primary color of your shirt, then…
Pick a tie that has that dominant color of your button down within its print. Your necktie is meant to be an accent against your printed shirt—but not so much of a punctuating adornment that your outfit looks confused.
The shade of your tie is crucial. It’s important to note that your tie should always be darker than your shirt. A blue shirt calls for a navy tie; a grey checked button down needs a charcoal grey tie; even shirts in deep colors like a red wine or hunter green print require a tie that is equally dark.
The proportions of your prints are key. There are a few go-to prints combinations that are always safe and look sharp: gingham shirt and a plaid or wide striped tie; a striped shirt and a twill striped tie or a club print tie. If you want to embark on your own mix-and-match variety, just remember to keep the proportions of your prints balanced and in check, pairing a large print with a small print but never the same together.