The formality level of floral shirts has been a controversial topic for decades; some traditionalists may consider a floral shirt with a suit inappropriate. So, can you wear a floral shirt with a suit?
Despite being controversial, wearing a floral shirt with a suit is possible. Ensure you wear a solid-colored suit and avoid patterns or bright colors. In addition, stick to subtle accessories.
Although that’s the gist, there’s much more to it.
So, let’s get to it.
1. Avoid Patterned Suits
While it may seem tempting to pair your floral shirt with a patterned suit, you should avoid it in pretty much all circumstances.
Wearing a floral shirt is quite a bold statement in itself, so wearing a patterned suit alongside it would push it too far over the line of flamboyance.
Additionally, avoiding a patterned suit means that the floral shirt’s pattern is much more flexible.
This is because the concern of matching your patterned suit with your floral shirt is diminished – allowing for more floral shirt possibilities.
Instead, you should stick to solid-colored suits, with no patterns. This will create a much more sophisticated and elegant look and won’t overwhelm people with excessive color or patterns.
2. Pick Your Suit Color Correctly
Matching your suit color with your floral shirt correctly is arguably the most important factor when wearing this combination.
Knowledge of the color wheel can be very useful when picking the color of your suit.
The color wheel shows the relationships between colors. It can be split into two halves; these are warm colors and cool colors.
As a general rule, colors that are near each other on the color wheel work well together, for example, blue and navy. Colors that are close together on the color wheel are called analogous.
Conversely, colors at opposite ends of the color wheel, such as green and red, can also work well together. These are called complementary colors.
Having said that, if you’re going with a floral shirt and suit, the floral shirt will stand out enough: wearing complementary colors isn’t necessary.
Furthermore, the floral shirt and suit combination is the epitome of understated sophistication. So, complementary colors would stand out too much, thus detracting from the style.
Because of this, it’s best to stick to analogous colors over complementary ones when wearing a suit with a floral shirt.
Neutral colors are colors that don’t appear on the color wheel but will go with pretty much anything. Such colors include beige, gray, cream, black, and brown.
|Suit Color||Great Floral Shirt Colors|
|Black Suit||White and red floral shirt|
|Blue Suit||White and light blue floral shirt|
|Light Blue Suit||Cream or off-white floral shirt|
|Gray Suit||White, off-white, or light pink floral shirt|
As mentioned in the table, neutral colors like black and gray work with most colors. However, as a rule of thumb, you should try to keep your floral shirt color lighter than that of your suit.
3. Shoes Matter Too
Shoes have the ability to make or break an outfit, so you should never underestimate the impact they have.
Picking the right shoes to wear with a floral suit and shirt is essential and should, therefore, be a carefully-made decision.
There are generally two appearance factors regarding shoes: shoe type and color.
The type of shoes you wear depends entirely on the formality of the situation. For example, sneakers are very casual.
However, if you’re wearing a suit, the likelihood is that you’re attending an event of a semi-formal formality or greater.
In which case, Oxford shoes or Derby shoes are both great choices.
As for shoe color, when wearing Oxfords or Derbys, the safest and most traditional options would be black and brown.
Which one you choose is primarily down to personal preference.
However, because brown has different shades, and black does not, brown shoes can be a better choice for lighter-colored suits. They’re generally considered more versatile.
It’s also worth considering suede.
Suede dress shoes work especially well when wearing a floral shirt with a suit, simply because they have a similarly semi-formal aesthetic.
4. Accessories Can Work
Wearing accessories alongside your floral shirt and suit can elevate your outfit to the next level. But, it’s important not to go overboard with them, as this can look clumsy.
A pocket square is a great example of an accessory that can add an additional touch of personality to your outfit without looking overly flamboyant.
Whether you choose a block-colored pocket square or a patterned pocket square is up to you; although, a pocket square of the same pattern as your floral shirt can look fantastic.
If going for a pocket square, using the presidential fold is recommended, as this will be noticeable but not excessive.
Another great accessory option is a watch. Watches are practical and stylish accessories that have styles suitable for any formality.
When attending formal events, a leather-strapped dress watch is your best bet, whereas, for casual occasions, a diving or field watch is a better option.
5. Try To Avoid Texture
Texture in an outfit with a floral shirt isn’t generally a good idea. This is because a floral shirt brings enough to the outfit on its own, and anything more would appear excessive.
While it might be tempting to opt for a textured suit such as tweed, you should avoid it.
Floral patterns and tweed is an infamous mismatch. Both are rich in patterns and colors that are completely different from one another.
This creates a clash in color, texture, and pattern between the two and looks awkward, clumsy, and over-the-top.
Instead, go for a woolen suit with minimal texturing.
The same rule applies to your floral shirt: you should avoid texture as much as possible.
6. Consider The Weather
The weather is another important factor to consider when wearing a floral shirt with a suit.
This is because floral shirts are typically associated with warmer weather and climates, due to their flowery patterns and often bright colors.
Therefore, you should always think about the weather when you decide to wear a floral shirt with a suit.
Additionally, the weather will have an impact on the material and color of your floral shirt and suit choice.
For example, wool is a very breathable suit material and has temperature-regulating abilities, making it a brilliant choice for warm weather.
7. Find Out If It’s Appropriate
While floral shirts have varying patterns and colors appropriate for different scenarios, there are some situations where a floral shirt would simply not be acceptable.
An example where a floral shirt wouldn’t be appropriate – even alongside a suit – is an event with a black or white-tie dress code.
If you ever have any doubt about whether or not a floral shirt with a suit would be suitable attire for a situation, such as a wedding, asking the host(s) is highly recommended.
As a general rule of thumb, however, a floral shirt with a suit works especially well around the semi-formal to the business-formal mark.
Now you have 7 essential tips about wearing a floral shirt with a suit, you can pull it off successfully every time.