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How to Build A Shirt Wardrobe With Only Two Colors

Color causes men great confusion when they’re getting dressed. That’s strange because we really don’t wear that many colors. There are two fundamental colors for almost everything we wear. Shoes are either black or brown. For most men, suits are either blue or gray. So if you have trouble deciding what shirt to wear, we’re out to show you how simple it can be when you narrow your choices down to just two colors.

Embrace Simplicity

We can hear some of you saying “BO-RING” and rolling your eyes, but before you jump to any conclusions, picture the most stylish guys you’ve ever seen. Perhaps you think of movie stars or menswear icons or this guy. No matter who you thought of, chances are you pictured him in a solid white or blue shirt. That’s because the best dressed men tend to wear a lot of white shirts, choosing to mix things up with blue.
So why, when the average guy wants to turn his style up a notch, does he immediately pulls out some loud shirt in some crazy color? Don’t be that guy. You don’t need all that. A good collection of white and blue shirts is all you need. Here’s how to do it.

The Ultimate Shirt Wardrobe

These dress shirts will get you through just about any situation in style. From the business meeting to the weekend wedding, these shirts cover all of your bases and can be worn with just about any suit, jacket or slacks in your closet.


Our recently released Savoy Line featured only white and blue shirts with subtle differences, yet, as you can see here, the shirts work with everything in your closet.

White Out

The true man of minimalist style can live on white shirts alone. That’s because a great fitting white shirt flatters everyone. The unenlightened man derides white as “plain vanilla” but he knows not of what he speaks. Vanilla, which is extracted from an orchid that only grows in Central America, and the islands of the Indian Ocean and Tahiti, may be the most exotic thing the average person ever eats. Like vanilla, quality white dress shirts can be exceptional and sublime.

  1. With the Persian Blue suit the white shirt matches the intensity of the blue allowing for simple styling like a brown knit tie and dark brown shoes.
  2. With a pinstripe suit a white shirt is almost mandatory. Here we put it to use for a look that would stand up in a courtroom or board room (and will look good in the barroom at happy hour).
  3. With a suit that contains two subtle tones, like this Blue Gray Birdseye, a white shirt provides the perfect neutral canvas that never clashes.

A Case of the Blues

For those who like a little color, you only need one: blue dress shirts, solid and patterned, give you seemingly endless options. Second only to white in its versatility, blue does one thing better than white: it pairs with browns. As you’ll see below blue and brown creates chromatic harmony (think land and water) that is
hard to beat.

  1. The Charcoal Brown three-piece suit could be earthtone overdose, but the blue shirt adds color to the look. Further, this shirt subtly brings out the blue overcheck in this suit.
  2. The most varied (and forgiving) color in menswear is blue. Want to wear it head to toe, we won’t stop you. Just be sure you’ve got a great fitting shirt like this one to get the job done.
  3. Just as white can step up the formality of an outfit, blue shirts work for a more relaxed vibe like a blazer and pants look. A gingham pattern adds to the casual element of this look, while the tie keeps it balanced and business ready.

The Power of Two

Doubling down on these two colors is easy. Start with a bunch of whites (you can never have too many white shirts). Differentiate them with details like collar types and you’ll always have a go-to shirt in your closet. Then supplement your whites them up with a selection of blues shirts and you’ll the options are endless. Easy, right? Tell us how you’re paring down your shirt wardrobe to one or two colors in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “How to Build A Shirt Wardrobe With Only Two Colors”

  1. Gilbert says:

    Glad to know blue and brown always work out. Now, I’m thinking of pairing my powdered blue shirt and my (future) charcoal brown single breasted suit. The powdered hue of the blue shirt and the charcoal coloring on my suits seem like two compatible analogous hues.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Brown is a neutral color, making it really versatile, but yup, we love it with light blue. We refer to this combination like Billy Dee Williams refers to Colt 45 Malt Liquor, it works every time.

  2. RAY says:

    Hey, i need a fashion guidance.
    On a wedding i am planning to wear grey twill weave blazer, sky blue shirt, blueish pocket square, black trousers, and a slim black tie. I am confised about black or brown derbys (derbys…the shoes, obviously). What should go with black trousers?
    Kindly reply asap since wedding is on coming friday!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Great example of how a blue or white shirt is all you need. This sounds like a nice outfit you’ve got lined up for the wedding.

      The black shoes are the ones to go with. The decision to wear a black tie and black trousers is as close as you can get to signing a legally binding contract that you will wear black shoes. There are some exceptions. We have, on occasion, put on a pair of oxblood Oxfords with a pair of black pants but that’s not in line with what you’ve got going on in this outfit. Go with the black derbies and everything will be cohesive.

  3. Gavin S. says:

    It’s too bad so many men (especially 20s and 30s) wear hideous and cheap monochromatic shirts in crazy colors to the office. Fuchsia, lime green, yellow, deep red, etc. Just terrible. They look like they dressed in the dark. Plus, many also wear day-glow polo shirts. Reaching for those crazy colors in cheap fabrics marks you as one that attempts to buck establishment, but fails to understand classic style and principles of matching. As you stated, I only wear white or blue shirts with my suits. White and blue are handsome and stylish, and are the antithesis of the hackneyed “pop of color” movement. Although I have to disagree that white does not pair as well with brown. In my opinion, a shirt must have a lot of white to be worn well with khaki trousers.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Preach, Gavin!!!

      To address your point about white and brown, look back under “A Case of the Blues” and you’ll see we actually prefer to pair blue and brown. It’s a favorite color combination of ours. That’s not to say we disagree with you about there being a right type of white shirt to wear with brown or khaki trousers—there totally is. Like in many cases, a crisp white shirt should be required of all men.

  4. sylvester says:


    1. Black Lapel says:

      You know what they say, teachers keep on teachin’. So we say, keep on comin’ back for more.

    2. Robert says:

      Next, they’ll teach you about the CAPS LOCK key 😉 It’s that one to the left of the ‘A’ key.

  5. Lovemore Ruwende says:

    Wow!!! This is fantastic. Never ever thought that an eye catching appearance boils down to two color shirts – Blue/White. I have such a variety of colors in my wardrobe but from now my focus has changed as I just want to look like “That Guy.” Well Done BLACK LAPEL. You certainly have given a new impetus to men’s menswear world.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      And see how easy it is to look like “that guy”? Small changes sometimes make the biggest differences. We’re satisfied to have changed your perspective. Thanks for your kind words, we may love you more than your name.

  6. Tony says:

    For the simple man those two colours have lots of options, from stripes, checks, herringbone, dots, tone on tone and many more, not to mention collar style. Great ideas.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s the idea, Tony! My man!

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