When Max suggested this topic, my hand shot up to claim it. For, with all the talk of pockets, side adjusters and button stance, Bob is primarily a shirt and tie guy. Of all the elements of classic menswear, shirts and ties, and how to combine them, is my true passion!
I’ve only got 500 (or so) words to wow with, so I’ll just outline some of the classic combinations I like. I could write 50,000 words on this, so please don’t take this as a definitive guide. But, here are some of the basics from your humble correspondent.
- Rather than wear a white shirt with a lounge suit, I prefer cream, ivory or eggshell. It looks richer than white, and you can save your white shirts for black tie occasions.
- With your elegant off-white alternative, you can wear brightly-coloured and/or vividly-patterned ties. You can follow Max’s example and wear a bold vintage tie with a sober eggshell shirt.
- You can never have enough blue shirts — light blue, cornflower, solids, subtly striped or checked. As with the off-white shirts, you can pair these with all sorts of bold ties.
- By all means: Go for stripes and checks! Whether in subtle or bold patterns and colours, these shirts will look great. However, stick to ties with smaller, more subtle patterns with boldly striped or checked shirts
- You can never have enough spotted ties. They go with everything: You can get them in a multitude of colour combinations, and they are always on point. As an example, I have a half dozen navy blue ties with white spots, each of them subtly different to the other, but they are really my go-to choice with bold strips or checks.
- Two of my absolute favourite colours are pink and lilac. I have several shirts in each colour, with variations (solids, stripes, checks), and they can really look exquisite with the right tie. With pink shirts, for example, I love navy blue ties. Sky blue looks great too – as do green shades.
- With lilac shirts, green ties are really amazing. Very dark purple ones with white spots and navy ties with purple spots will also work very well.
- Don’t shy away from the whimsical patterns and styles from the likes of Hermès — I have too many ties with elephants, teddy bears, bagpipers and others to mention. They’re fun, elegant, and always appropriate.
- And, never ever be afraid of contrasts! A light blue shirt with a fuchsia tie – why not? Ivory shirt with a bold purple tie — sure! Contrasts look great, and can really add character to our “uniform” of dark suits.
So there it is, a far from comprehensive shirt and tie guide, but a decent enough starting point. Let your shirts and ties express your character, and accentuate your elegant suit choices. Do what feels right, be bold and adventurous, and you’ll be the best-dressed man in any room you enter. BTWB/MM/YS