Although men's outfits tend to involve a lot less work than women's, you can't deny the fact that putting together a suit can be a challenge for many men. It doesn't matter if you're getting dressed for work, attending a fancy dinner party, or going for a job interview, you want to look your best. Mismatching your clothes is no laughing matter. It can cost you a job or make you the topic at the water cooler. Follow this simple advice and pretty soon every man is going to be asking you for fashion advice.
The general rule is to first pick out a suit, then a shirt, and finally a tie. You can go in reverse, but some may find that more difficult. When matching suits with button down dress shirts and ties, never have all three the same pattern. There is nothing worse than a pinstriped suit with a striped shirt and a striped tie. The same can be said for checkered patterns. Also do not have all three items the same color. Monochromatic is not a good look for anyone. Remember that opposites attract. Match patterns with the unpatterned and tiny patterns with large patterns.
How do I match colors? The goal is to have all the colors harmonize, yet contrast well. There always has to be a balance. Too much of the same color is boring, but colors that clash will make you look like you came from the carnival. Just about any color tie goes with a blue suit and light blue shirt. If you wear a blue suit with a white shirt, avoid flashy colors since the blue and white already provide a contrast. Gray, blue, and black suits always look great with red ties. Black ties look best with white, gray, light blue, pink, or red shirts. Pink looks exceptional with gray/silver, black, light blue, and white. Remember, dark shirts with light colored ties or light button down dress shirts with dark colored ties.
Three of a kind may look terrible, but two of kind is fashionable. You can wear striped ties with striped designer dress shirts as long as the stripes are not the same size. The same rule applies for striped suits and striped dress shirts. Checkered and patterned fabrics follow the rule as well. Checks need to be very different in size and shape in order to stand out. A patterned shirt and tie can look very nice together as long as they are not the same. Similar patterns need to be very different sizes. However, if the patterns are completely opposite, the sizes should be similar. A little confusing? Yes, but fashion is never easy.
What about three different styles? It can work, but it's not a simple feat to accomplish. I wouldn't recommend trying this. When in doubt, keep it simple. A solid necktie can never fail and neither can a solid shirt. If you're on a budget, buy mostly solid button down dress shirts and pair it with bolder patterned ties. Have a little faith in yourself. If you think the outfit looks good, it most likely is good. When you feel confident, you look confident!