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How To Match A Tie To A Striped Shirt

man wearing a white suit and dotted burgundy tie with blue striped shirt with text reading how to match a tie to a striped shirt

Striped shirts (like a blue pencil stripe) are our thing this fall and they should be on your radar too. But to some guys, the idea of wearing a striped shirt is immediately followed by a wave of anxiety over what shirt and tie combo you’ll wear. Do the colors have to match the shirt or the suit? Can I wear a striped tie on a striped shirt? What about a bow ties? Ah, the hell with it, this seems like a lot of work, I’ll just stick with my old reliable solid shirts.

Sound familiar? Well, we’re going to cure you of this particular affliction with this visual guide to striped shirt and tie combos.

The truth is, you can match a striped shirt with all kinds of ties. You can also come out looking like a straight up clown if you mismatch a striped shirt. So here are the secrets to getting it right.

Shirt and Tie Combo 1: Striped shirt + solid tie

crop of a man's shirt with purple stripes and navy tie next to a full body shot of a man wearing an identical outfit

How Guys Screw It Up:

They pick a solid color out of left field. The stripes are red, so why the solid black tie? But black matches everything, they cry out in knee jerk reaction. Not so. The contrast of saturated colors against black is usually pretty jarring. Orange and black, may be a good choice for going to a Baltimore Orioles game or a Halloween party but not a great combo for your office getup.

How To Get It Right:

The color of the stripes and the color of the tie should agree. Notice that we didn’t say that they have to match exactly. A bit of contrast between the colors of the stripes and the color of the tie is fine. What’s the right color? That depends more on what you look like then on the shirt. For more on that check out our article on dressing from the inside out.

Shirt and Tie Combo 2: Striped shirt + striped tie

zoomed in crop of a man wearing pink solid shirt with gray striped tie next to a full-body shot of a man wearing an identical outfit

How Guys Screw It Up:

We’ve all seen the guy with the mix of stripes on stripes who looks like he’s wearing an M.C. Esher painting on his chest. When the stripes in the shirt and the stripes in the tie are the same size things go off the rails.

How To Get It Right:

Keep the scales different. When the shirt stripes are thin and tight, a broader striped tie stands out in a good way.

Shirt and Tie Combo 3: Striped shirt + patterned tie

zoomed in crop of a man wearing solid light blue shirt and red dotted tie next to a full-body shot of a man wearing an identical outfit

How Guys Screw It Up:

There are two types of people in the world. Those who show some restraint with their tie patterns, and those who go batshit crazy when it comes to patterns. The latter are the ones who end up looking like a hot mess when they wear an overblow paisley with sixteen colors on it with their striped shirts. Don’t be one of them.

How To Get It Right:

Match the scale of the stripes with the scale of the pattern. Got a shirt with fine stripes? Reach for a tie with a strong base color and small pattern. Got a shirt with broad stripes? Reach for a tie with more a spaced out geometric pattern to complement it.

Simple, right? So what are you waiting for? You don’t have any striped shirts, you say? Well, we can fix that. Check these out…

four men wearing shirts with ties four men wearing different colored shirts with different ties

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7 thoughts on “How To Match A Tie To A Striped Shirt”

  1. Daniel Udoh says:

    Is it okay to have a chequered tie on a striped shirt?

    1. Black Lapel says:


      Some would say this is an absolute no, some would say it can be done. We fair ourselves a glass half full kind of people, but there are some obvious limitations. One of the patterns has to be subtle, like real subtle. If you have two extreme patterns, like a wide stripe shirt and a plaid tie, that might look a bit strange. However, if your shirt is a very faint chalk stripe or a muted thin stripe, it could work.

  2. Macossay says:

    No. Don’t put a directional pattern on a directional pattern, regardless of the width of the stripes. It’s an upleasant effect. A non-directional pattern, like a pin-dot, is okay, but you’ll still look like you couldn’t afford to buy a solid tie. Never put three patterns together unless you want to look like an eccentric artist and have a wild hairstyle to go with it.

  3. Leonard says:

    Great advice, I liked your website. It’s always tricky to match it just right especially when you have a lot of ties and shirts but a couple favorites that you lean towards but want to avoid looking like you repeat your outfit all the time.

    Any advice or article on how to combine a striped suit? What ties to wear and what kind of shirt?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ve also given the striped suit its due in its own article. If you like striped suits, that’s a must-read.

      And, speaking of must-reads, if you read any article in The Compass, let it be our piece on how to choose clothes that match you. There you’ll learn how unimportant matching the colors and the patterns of your clothes is relative to how important it is that all your clothes match YOU. That’s the key to dressing well. Master the concepts in that article and you won’t have to worry much about matching your clothes because you’ll be able to build a wardrobe that is full of naturally matching clothes.

  4. Callum Palmer says:

    This is some great advice because, not only can it be hard to find a good tie, but making sure it matches can be pretty difficult as well. I particularly like that the article emphasizes how important it is for the colors to agree on the tie you choose. It helps to make sure that the colors don’t contrast too wildly and that they actually work together on the color-wheel.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Exactly, Callum. Stripes shouldn’t scare guys away from a shirt and tie combination. Thanks for reading.

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