Tips for matching men's clothes

Written by mary freeman
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Tips for matching men's clothes
Patterned shirts worn with complementary-coloured garments make for a well-matched, effective look. (Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Matching men's clothing is generally not a difficult enterprise, as long as certain rules and combinations are kept in mind. Men trying to create a well-matched outfit can consult a colour wheel for advice on effective colour combinations; matching colour is the most important aspect of matching men's clothing. Although successful matching can tie an outfit together, improper matching can destroy the continuity of a look and should be avoided at all costs.

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Pairing the colours of garments appropriately and stylishly is the cornerstone of men's fashion. Men should wear slacks with muted colours, like khaki or brown, or blue jeans; brightly coloured trousers do not match well with shirts and detract from the overall look. When matching shirts with trousers, ties, or jackets, consult a colour wheel. Find the colour of one garment and look to the opposite side of the colour wheel to find complementary, or matching, colours, blue and yellow for example. Try to also match garments that have similar value, or brightness. Wear black shoes with black slacks, or brown shoes with brown or earthtone slacks. Belts and shoes should always have the same hue.


It is important to incorporate patterned clothing into a well-matched outfit carefully; otherwise, the patterns will jar and disrupt the continuity of your garments. Non-patterned, or solid-colour, garments, including ties, are always good matches and should make up the bulk of a man's wardrobe. Men should wear striped or intricate ties with blazers or casual jackets. Patterned shirts look great with single-colour zip-up jackets or collared shirts. Vertical stripes are slimming and make you look taller, but should be worn only on occasion. Trousers should never be patterned, unless the man is playing golf or wearing pyjamas.


Donning a matching suit is critically important to impress peers and supervisors in business or social situations. The colour of the tie and the shirt can either complement each other or have similar hue; either is considered acceptable. Choose a pale, solid colour shirt that directly complements the main colour of the jacket and slacks, or wear a white shirt to emphasise the colours of the tie. Pocket squares should complement the colour of the suit, but can be bright or vivid if extra colour is desired.


There are a number of matching mistakes that can throw an outfit into confusion and offend the aesthetic sense of the people around you. Red and green together makes an outfit look too much like something to be worn during the Christmas season and should always be avoided. Wearing too much white normally looks contrived and a bit ridiculous; so too, avoid solid-colour ensembles as a rule of thumb. Never combine vertical and horizontal stripes in a single outfit.

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