How to Match your Tie and Shirt: the 3 Easy Rules

If you regularly wear a suit to work, like many men you may have felt just the tiniest bit of trepidation when it comes to matching your shirt to your tie. Of course men’s shirts come in a range of colours, stripes and checks and as for ties – well the variation is limitless, so how do you get it right when it comes to pairing the two and how can you ensure that you’re making an dapper style statement and not a fashion faux pas that has your colleagues sniggering behind your back?

clashing patterns

Headache Inducing Shirt & Tie Combo

It can be tempting to stick with what you know but let’s face it there aren’t that many ways a guy can make an impact in the style stakes when in the office so paying a little more attention to your tie ‘n’ shirt combo can do wonders for your look. Let’s take a look at how to create a shirt and tie dream team because you do have several options.

1)      Plain tie with a plain shirt. This is obviously the easiest pairing to go for and a great way to experiment if this is your first foray into the wonderful world of men’s fashion. There is just one main rule to bear in mind when matching a plain shirt and tie and that is to avoid wearing either both light colours or both dark colours. Or heaven forbid, matching them exactly!

Trying out a plain white shirt or a pale blue or pink shirt with a colour popping tie is an awesome way of adding some interest to your office attire. If your shirt is white you have a whole host of colours to choose from but if your shirt is coloured you should stick within the same colour pallet to avoid looking garish. For example, pair a light blue shirt with a navy tie and you’ll be killing it at the water cooler.

plain shirt and tie

Perfectly Plain…But Not Boring

2)      Plain tie with a patterned shirt. Okay, this is slightly trickier but don’t panic just yet as you can still pull this off with panache with just a modicum of care. There is just one basic rule here: match the colour of the tie to one of the colours – or something within the colour pallet – of the shirt. For example, if you’re wearing a lilac and white gingham shirt opting for a purple tie will work well.

pink men's ties

Style Points for Wearing Pink

3)      Patterned tie with a plain shirt. This is exactly the same as above; if your shirt is plain light blue go for a tie that has a shade of blue in it too, for instance a blue and white polka dot pattern.

4)      Patterned tie and patterned shirt. Right, this is where things can get a little more complex but it’s still not rocket science so don’t abandon all thoughts of ever hoping to pull off the double-patterned look. There are three things to consider:

–          Pick a detail from your tie and coordinate it with the principal colour in the shirt

–          Watch your pattern sizes – the pattern in the tie should be bigger than the pattern in the shirt otherwise the scales will look out of proportion

striped tie and check shirt

Checks and Stripes DO Work

–          Mix your patterns up: you can rock a checked shirt with a spotted tie but don’t be fooled into thinking that you can wear a check shirt and a checked tie or, possibly even worse, a spotty tie with a spotty shirt. Unless the Coco the Clown effect is the look that you were after

So you see, making a little effort doesn’t have to be a pain in the behind and as long as you keep the basic principles about matching colour families and not going spot on spot in mind you should be just fine! Play around, have fun and before you know it you’ll have upped your game with a minimum of fuss.

What are your thoughts when it comes to pairing shirts and ties? Do you play it safe or you do you like to inject some colour and a dash of daring into your otherwise boring office apparel?  Let us know in the comments, why don’t you?!

And why not follow us on Twitter too for our occasional Tweets on men’s clothing and urban fashion. Annnnnd talking of urban wear, why not check out our new website where we’ll soon be selling our very own range of street wear style men’s t-shirts?

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How to Add Colour to an Outfit

Guys, are you guilty of wearing the same old boring outfit day in day out? The same colours, the same styles?  If you have a sneaking suspicion that you could and should be upping your game a few notches and there’s room for some improvement read on as we have some tips on how you can add a splash of colour to an outfit without spending a fortune. Yes, there’s really no need to fork out for new men’s t-shirts, jeans or even suits; with a few well-placed hints of colour you can be owning the street! Or at least your house. Something like that.

adding colour to an outfit

It’s probably fair to say that many men are stuck in a bit of a colour rut and don’t like to step outside their colour comfort zone so if this sounds a lot like you, but you don’t want to do the full on colour blocking or brightly hued skinny jean trend, you can still add an accent of colour without feeling like you’re a full on fashion victim/clown. So let’s take a look at a few ways men’s fashion can get fun – in a subtle way.

    • Pocket squares: these are all over the media at the moment and definitely seem to be having a moment. And you don’t need to be over 75 years’ of age or going to a wedding to wear one. If you spend your Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm in a drab suit a pocket square is the ideal way of adding a dash of panache.  You know as Huey Lewis once sang; ‘It’s Hip to be Square’. Actually, I don’t know why I just wrote that – it doesn’t make me look good. pocket squares
    • Let’s move swiftly on to men’s ties. Bit of an obvious one perhaps but your tie is just screaming to be given a colourful make-over. So ditch that boring sky blue-navy blue striped affair and brighten up with something in red, orange, green or even hot pink. Just avoid ones with cartoon characters on. Please.
    • Shoe laces. OK bear with me here but whilst you may have thought of changing the laces in your trainers/sneakers have you ever given a thought to changing them in your formal or work shoes too? This look will work best with a smart pair of brogues – if they’re anything less than tip top condition you’re not really going to be able to pull it off, but nice shiny brown leather + bright red, orange or yellow laces will look pretty rocking. Just keep the laces thin – fat sneaker style laces will make you look…I don’t know what they’ll make you look like but they won’t work, trust me on that.colored shoe laces
    • Cufflinks are another great way of adding a hint of a hue. Ditch your usual silver ones and search out something a little more interesting and colourful instead.
  • No list of how to add colour via your accessories would be complete without mentioning socks. I’m not talking about the garishly-coloured pair that Aunty Mable bought you for Christmas (for the sixth year running) but a pair of stylish, plain, striped or even spotted pair that will just add a flash of colour under the cuffs of your trousers.

So far so good but all of these are things that work with a suit or smarter trousers and if you don’t wear suits on a regular basis and yet you still want to up the ante on your casual gear, how do you do it?

    • The simplest way is to ditch that plain white t-shirt and grab something in a bold statement colour. Men’s tees don’t have to be navy, burgundy or white so why not take the plunge and buy men’s t-shirts in sizzling orange, zesty yellow, hot pink or bright red? men's t-shirts
    • Your footwear is another way of brightening up an outfit and if you’re not quite ready to slip in to a bubblegum pink t-shirt surely you’ll be big and brave enough to attempt a colourful trainer! Whether you’re a sporty Adidas or Nike kind of guy or skater style Vans and Converse are your thing, sneaker brands are not shy in putting their best foot forward when it comes to creating some eye-catching designs.
  • Finally, a bag is always a good way of adding a little interest. Ditch that boring black or navy backpack you got free with your gym membership and style it up with an acid bright holdall or messenger bag instead –they were seen all over the recent men’s fashion shows.holdall

However you add a little colour to your outfit it’s a great way of showing that you’ve thought about what you’ve put on that morning. Or afternoon or whenever it is you roll out of bed.

What do you think? What are your favourite ways of making a unique style statement? Let us know here or come on over to our Facebook page and share it on our wall for all and sundry to see!

What to Wear for a Wedding

It’s wedding season! Yes, once again that time of the year has rolled round and whether you love the opportunity to get dressed up, hit the dance floor and eye up your fellow wedding guests or the thought of sitting through a ceremony, listening to interminable ‘hilarious’ speeches and nodding politely to Great Aunt Edna’s ramblings at the dinner table brings you out in a cold sweat, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a distinct possibility you’ll get invited to a wedding this year.

For most people, and that includes guys and girls, upon receiving a wedding invite, our first thought is either something along the lines of “Yes – an excuse to go shopping!” or alternatively “$@*% – I’ve got nothing to wear!” If you’re honoured to be chosen as a member of the wedding party; best man, usher, ring bearer or the like you’ll probably have the matter taken out of your hands as the bride and groom will decide upon your look but if you’re just one of the rabble and you don’t have a stylish other half to help you get dressed, you might be wondering how on earth you’re going to cobble a half decent outfit together.

what to wear to a wedding

“Noooooooooooo! A wedding invite!”

If you don’t wear suits on a regular basis you might want to grab that one that’s hanging in the back of your wardrobe sooner rather than later and give it a once over. Yes, they can cost a lot of money but men’s suits don’t last forever and if you’ve been wearing yours to every wedding, funeral and court appearance (?!) for the last 15 years it may well have seen better days. Check the seat, the lapels and the elbows in particular for the shininess that indicates, well, that your suit’s next stop should be your local charity shop.

If that’s the case and you’re faced with the formidable task of buying a new suit there are a few things to bear in mind before you set out on your quest. First of all fabric: it may be summer but if you’re investing in a new men’s suit you might want to go for a material that can be worn all year round and avoid linen, no matter how warm the weather. Besides linen creases terribly and it won’t be long before you look as rumpled and disheveled as the bride’s drunken uncle Monty. Rule of thumb: stick with wool, or if you can afford, it a wool-cashmere mix.

Fit is crucial when buying a suit; tempting as it may be don’t just grab the nearest thing that ‘looks about right’ – after all buying men’s t-shirts is one thing but a suit is an investment. The shoulder padding in the jacket should fit your shoulders squarely and if the pads are drooping or hanging down or there are indentations in the fabric, it’s too big and you need to drop down a size.

men's suits

It’s all about the fit

The cuffs of a suit jacket are one sure fire way to tell if the suit is too big for you. We’ve all seen guys in ill-fitting suits that look like school boys trying to impress in their older brother or dad’s suit. Getting the length of the cuff right is vital if this is NOT the look you’re going for. Make sure that the cuffs hang no lower than the point where your thumb joins your hand.

You’ve got your suit but what about your shirt and tie? Contrary to popular belief, you can play around with spots, stripes and checks – just don’t go overboard or you’ll end up looking like a third rate comedian. Men’s shirts in a two-colour way check will look great with a plain suit and a bold striped tie. If you go for a stripy shirt AND a stripy tie ensure that the stripes are of different widths. Likewise if you wear a patterned tie with a striped shirt if the stripes are wide make sure your pattern is smaller or more low key – and vice versa.

men's suits and ties

A tasteful clash of stripes and patterns

Getting dressed for a wedding doesn’t have to be a complete nightmare and with a few pointers you’ll be able to relax and maybe even look forward to it! After all even the dullest sounding weddings can turn into nights out to remember. Although obviously it does help if there’s a free bar involved.

Have you got any crazy wedding stories or formal menswear fashion tips? Why not leave them in the comments or come on over to our Facebook page and share them on there? 

How to Tie a Tie: A Gentleman’s Guide

Any self-respecting gentleman should be able to tie a tie but it’s a sad fact that these days more and more guys are resorting to clip on ties. Sure, it might be quicker and it might be easier, but there is something so much more impressive about taking the time and effort to wearing a tie you have to knot yourself. This especially goes for important business meetings, job interviews and er…court appearances.

But there’s not just one way to tie a tie and depending on your shirt’s collar and the material of the tie, you should be tying different knots if you want to really give your appearance the edge. Here we take a look at three different knots – and how to create them.

For all knots you should be standing in front of a mirror with your shirt buttoned up and your collar up.

The Four in Hand Knot: this is generally the most common way of tying men’s ties – mainly because it’s the easiest! Use it when: your tie is made from heavier fabric and your shirt has a smaller spread collar.

  1. Make sure the wider end of the tie is hanging on the side of your body that you write with i.e. wide end on the right if you’re right handed and vice versa.
  2. Find the front seam on the narrow end of the tie and place the wide section over the narrow part ensuring they are crossing on the seam.
  3. Pass the wide part behind the narrow part and bring it around so it’s facing to your left
  4. Do this again then pull the wide end through the gap that is around your collar/neck
  5. Pull the wide end down through the knot at the front of the tie
  6. To tighten, pull it up by sliding it up at the narrow section. Finally straighten it and you’re good to go!
how to tie a tie

The Four in Hand Knot

The Half Windsor Knot: this knot is a somewhat small symmetrical triangle. Use it when:  you’re wearing a wide tie and a shirt that is made from a lightweight material with a standard collar.

  1. Ensure you have around 12” of the widest end of the tie hanging below the narrow end.
  2. Pass the wide section over the narrow end and bring it around and under the narrow part.
  3. Bring up the wide end and pass it downwards through the loop between your shirt collar and the tie.
  4. Next pass the wider section across the narrow part of the tie so it is going from right to left.
  5. Pass the wide part upwards into and through the loop for the second time.
  6. The wide section should then be pulled downwards through the front of the knot.
  7. Finally pull the knot tighter and make sure it’s central within your collars so it doesn’t look crooked.
tying a tie

The Half Windsor Knot

The Windsor Knot: similar to the Half Windsor but with a larger triangle-shaped knot. Use it when: you’re in a formal setting and wearing a shirt that has a wide spread collar.

  1. Make sure the wide part of the tie hangs approximately 12” below the narrow section then pass the wide part over the narrow.
  2. Pull the wide end through the loop that’s between the tie and your collar and bring it down towards the front of the shirt.
  3. Pass the wide part under the narrow end and towards your right hand side.
  4. Next pull the wide section through the gap again. If done correctly, you’ll have a triangle where the knot sits.
  5. Take the wide end of the tie and wrap it around this triangle – you need to be pulling it from right to left.
  6. Pass the wide part upwards through the loop yet again and then through the front of the knot.
  7. You’re nearly done – just adjust to make sure the knot is central and the tie is hanging correctly.
men's ties

The Windsor Knot

So there you have it: three different ways of wearing a tie; next time you’re wearing a suit, instead of reaching for the clip-on, why not give it the heave-ho and be brave and attempt to get knotted instead. It might mean setting the alarm an hour earlier to practice but at least you’ll be looking dapper!

Do you have any unique ways of knotting your ties that you’d like to share? Why not let us know in the comments box?

And if you’re looking for casual men’s t-shirts why not swing on over to our urban tee website