Certain suit and tie combinations are effortlessly sleek, sophisticated, and elegant. But is this one of them? More specifically, can you wear a blue suit with a red tie?
A blue suit can easily be worn with a red tie in formal, business-professional, and smart-casual settings. Wear dark shades of blue and red in more formal settings, reserving lighter shades for more casual events.
But there’s definitely a whole lot more to it.
After going through some crucial tips for pulling up a blue suit and red tie combination to perfection, we’ll run through a few FAQs on the topic to round things up.
Let’s get to it.
7 Tips For Wearing A Blue Suit With A Red Tie
There’s a good chance that a few of these may make all the difference for you. Consider all of them before putting your suit together.
Make Sure It’s Appropriate
A blue suit can be worn with a red tie in a wide variety of settings and for a range of different dress codes.
Appropriate dress codes include:
Inappropriate dress codes include:
Let me explain.
“Formal” events are usually those where a 2-piece suit would be required at a minimum. While some formal settings may require a dark suit, most would be happy with a blue suit and red tie of any variety.
The more you’re looking to dress up, the darker your blue suit and red tie should be (as we’ll learn in the next tip).
Business-professional settings are workplaces where a suit would be required. Corporate workplaces such as banks and law firms are often the first that spring to mind.
Smart-casual settings may not be the first dress code you think of when discussing suits and ties, but there are definitely casual suit fabrics and weaves that would work well in these settings.
Now, let’s talk about inappropriate dress codes.
A blue suit and red tie shouldn’t be worn to black-tie events because a tuxedo would be required at the very least.
It also shouldn’t be worn in business-casual settings because a “no suits” rule should usually be followed. Stick to a dress shirt/OCBD + chinos combination instead.
Darker Tones For Formal Settings
The more formal the setting, the more likely it is that a dark blue suit would be preferable. Navy blue is a good example.
The same goes for the tie.
Dark shades of red such as burgundy, maroon, and crimson would look a whole lot better in truly formal settings than lighter shades would.
Examples of formal events where this might be important include wedding receptions and other dressy evening social events.
Lighter Shades For Casual Settings
In more casual settings, consider a suit in a lighter shade of blue. Admiral and royal blue are examples, although the options really are endless.
You also have the option of going for a tie in a lighter shade of red – eg. scarlet.
These lighter, brighter, and bolder colors will always come across as more casual than darker tones.
So, if you’re wearing a blue suit and red tie to a smart-casual dress code, consider lighter tones.
Business-professional settings (i.e workplaces) are a tricky middle ground sometimes.
You would most likely be absolutely fine wearing a suit in a lighter shade of blue. However, if there was ever a risk of underdressing, consider a darker shade instead.
Let the suits of your colleagues inform you as to what’s considered the “norm” in your specific workplace.
Consider The Fabrics And Weaves
Certain suit fabrics will come across as more formal, while others undoubtedly look more casual.
In addition, certain fabrics are more appropriate during the summer and spring months, while others are better suited to the colder months of winter and fall.
So, consider the dress code and the season whenever you consider wearing a blue suit and red tie.
Here’s a summary of the main suit fabrics you’re likely to come across, as well as a description of when they may be most appropriate.
- Wool – Breathable, wrinkle-resistant, and versatile year-round. Consider worsted wool for more formal events given its luxurious feel.
- Linen – Breathable and wrinkly. It has a very laid-back look to it, often considered perfect for casual summertime events.
- Cotton – Less commonly found. Generally less expensive and lightweight, but not quite as breathable. High-end cotton suits could be worn in the workplace.
Here’s a summary of the fabric weaves you should know about:
- Seersucker – A dimpled weave, often patterned with blue and white stripes. It’s great for casual summertime events.
- Tweed – A twill weave that’s rough and rugged, often made from wool. It’s perfect for the winter and fall months.
- Herringbone – A V-shaped weave. A rough and warm texture that’s ideal for winter and fall. It makes for a great sport coat weave.
Stick To One Pattern Only
While patterns are a more casual feature, they can be a great way to make a simple suit look more interesting.
If you feel as though the event you’re attending is casual enough for a patterned blue suit to be considered appropriate, go for it.
From stripes to checks and from plaids to dots, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from.
However, stick to one pattern only.
What I mean by that is you should avoid mixing too many different patterns into your suit and tie combination.
If you’ve gone for a patterned blue suit, go for a solid red tie with no pattern.
Alternatively, if you’ve gone for a patterned red tie, go for a solid blue suit.
Mixing multiple patterns together, while possible, is never easy. It can be a little too much.
Keep things simple.
Stick To White Shirts
Referring to the color wheel, blue is clearly a “cool” color, much like green and purple. Red, on the other hand, is a “warm” color, just like orange and yellow.
Mixing a blue suit with a red tie works so well because it creates a nice sense of balance between warm and cool tones.
However, given how they’re both quite vibrant colors, avoid piling on too many additional colors into the outfit.
Stick to neutral colors for the rest of your outfit wherever possible.
The shirt is the main item to focus on here since it occupies so much of the upper half of the outfit.
To keep things simple, go for a white dress shirt.
You really can’t go wrong. Let the blue suit and the red tie be the pops of color in your outfit while the white shirt lays subtly in the background.
Black Or Brown Dress Shoes
It’s important to consider your footwear as well. The dress code should determine the color and the style of footwear.
Black and brown shoes are the easiest to pull off.
When wearing a dark blue suit with a dark red tie, a pair of black or dark brown dress shoes would be the best option.
Oxford shoes would be the most sophisticated and formal option. Avoid going for anything more casual than Derby shoes when attending a formal event.
When wearing a blue suit and red tie in a business-professional environment, it’s generally best to keep your shoe color dark too. Again, black and dark brown are ideal.
However, if you’re dressing for a smart-casual setting with a relatively casual-looking blue suit and red tie combo, consider dress shoes in a lighter shade of brown instead.
For example, if you’re wearing an admiral blue tweed suit with a scarlet red knit tie to a smart-casual event, consider a pair of tan brown Derby shoes or even monk straps.
In the summertime, a pair of suede loafers would be very reasonable in smart-casual settings as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions on the classic blue suit and red tie combo to really finish things off in style.
Can You Wear A Blue Suit And Red Tie To A Wedding?
A blue suit and red tie can be worn to the vast majority of weddings. For more formal weddings, consider a worsted wool blue suit. If the wedding is more casual, consider fabrics such as tweed or linen instead.
In many ways, the blue suit and red tie combination is perfect for weddings. However, it’s important to be sure there aren’t any specific dress code requirements before attending.
Ensure the wedding isn’t themed – have the wedding couple asked for a specific color?
In addition, ensure the wedding isn’t black-tie. It’s unusual for the wedding ceremony itself to be black-tie, but the evening wedding reception may well be.
If it is black-tie, a blue suit and red tie combo would be inappropriate. Wear a tuxedo instead.
Can You Wear A Blue Suit And Red Tie To An Interview?
A blue suit and red tie can often be worn to interviews in professional and corporate settings. If you feel as though there’s a risk of underdressing, go for a dark blue suit to play it safe.
The combination does, in general, ooze professionalism.
While it does depend on the specific work setting you’ll be attending, it’s usually a pretty safe assumption that it would be considered appropriate.
Be sure to keep things simple by wearing a white dress shirt.
If the workplace you’re applying to has a suit and tie as its mandatory (or assumed) dress code, you should definitely be wearing a suit and tie to the interview.
If the workplace has a more “business-casual” dress code where an OCBD and chinos combo wouldn’t draw any awkward stares, you’ll still want to wear a suit to the interview.
In general, it’s best to dress more formally for the interview than what you’d be expected to wear if you were to get the job.
Can You Wear A Blue Suit, Red Tie, And Grey Waistcoat?
It’s definitely possible to wear a grey waistcoat with a blue suit and red tie. The grey waistcoat adds a touch of contrast while keeping the outfit relatively formal.
While it’s usually more common to see people wearing 3-piece suits consisting of a waistcoat that matches the suit color, switching things up can look great when done correctly.
A grey waistcoat would work well here because it’s neutral enough to blend into the background without causing a color conflict.
As you can see, there are plenty of instances where a blue suit and red tie would work exceptionally well. In fact, the combination could eventually become a go-to favorite.
However, it’s important to consider the dress code and the season whenever you decide on the shade and fabric of the suit and tie you go for.
Once you start doing that, the rest falls into place.