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How To Wear Grey Pants With A White Shirt

December 22, 2022
How To Wear Grey Pants With A White Shirt

Sticking to minimalist, neutral colors is a great way to keep things simple. The question is, can you wear grey pants with a white shirt? 

Grey pants can easily be worn with a white shirt in a wide variety of dress codes. More casual white shirt styles such as linen shirts and OCBDs would work better with more casual grey pants styles such as chinos and linen pants in a lighter shade of grey. 

That’s the short answer, but there’s more to it. 

You’re about to get 7 tips for making this combo look great, each and every time. In the end, I’ll run through a couple of FAQs to really round things up. 

Let’s get to it. 

7 Tips For Wearing Grey Pants With A White Shirt

As always, consider all of these tips before putting your outfit together. 

Consider The Dress Code

It’s important to consider the dress code before you pop on any old combo. 

Remember, “grey pants” can refer to a wide range of different things ranging from grey jeans to grey chinos, slacks, linen pants, or anything else. 

The same goes for “white shirts”. It could refer to a white dress shirt, OCBD shirt, linen shirt, polo shirt, and so on. 

As you can see, certain grey pants and white shirt combinations will look a whole lot more formal than others. 

Because of this, it’s important to consider how formal or casual the setting you’re dressing for is before choosing the style of shirt and pants you want to wear. 

If you were dressing for a “formal” setting, consider a white dress shirt and grey dress pants (i.e slacks) combination. Better yet, go for a grey 2-piece suit with a matching suit jacket and pair of suit pants. 

formal white shirt grey pants
A more formal look

Image From Deposit Photos

If you were dressing for a “business-casual” setting, a white dress shirt or OCBD shirt would pair well with a pair of grey slacks or chinos. 

What about “smart-casual”? 

It’s a dress code that’s a little tougher to define, but is a notch more casual than “business-casual”. 

If you were dressing “smart-casual”, consider a white OCBD shirt, linen shirt, or corduroy shirt to go with grey chinos or jeans. 

white shirt and grey linen pants
Image From Deposit Photos

The main point here is that you’ve got a wide variety of shirt and pant styles to choose from. The dress code is the main thing that should influence what you choose. 

Choose The Right Shade Of Grey

Dark grey pants will have a more formal or business-professional look when worn with a white shirt than light grey pants would. 

The darker the shade of the grey pants you wear, the more it’ll contrast with the white shirt. 

In the previous tip, we talked about how the style of shirt and pants you choose can make a huge difference. The shade of grey you choose is just as important. 

Light grey pants worn with a white shirt will look very different from a more “professional” looking pair of dark grey pants. 

casual white shirt and grey pants
Image From Deposit Photos

So, if you were looking for a more laid-back and smart-casual appearance, consider going for a pair of pants in a lighter shade of grey instead. 

Pick A Tie Color With Purpose

When wearing grey pants with a white shirt, consider a blue, black, or grey tie if you want a more neutral, minimalist aesthetic. For a bolder and more colorful outfit, consider a tie in a “warm” color such as burgundy red or a “cool” color such as green. 

Remember, you don’t need to wear a tie at all. If all you wanted was a laid-back, smart-casual outfit, consider going tieless.

The main point here is that the grey pants and white shirt combo is so neutral that you could wear a tie in practically any color you could think of. 

But try to choose a tie with purpose, taking into account your preferences and the setting you’re dressing for. 

If you just prefer a more minimalist or neutral look, go for a navy blue, black, or grey tie. 

Images From Deposit Photos

When going for a grey tie, try to choose a grey in a different shade to that of the grey pants. 

If you want to add a splash of color with your tie, consider the dress code. In general, the darker the tie color, the more formal it’ll look. 

Images From Deposit Photos

Navy blue, deep purple, burgundy red, and hunter green would be great options. 

However, if you really wanted a more casual, bold, and striking look, go for a tie in a lighter and brighter color. Think mustard yellow, chartreuse, or baby blue. 

A Neutral-Colored Blazer

Wearing a neutral-colored blazer in black, grey, or navy blue would be a great way to make a grey pants and white shirt combo look a notch more formal. 

Blazers are different from suit jackets in that they can be worn with a non-matching pair of pants. 

While you could go for a blazer in a bolder color (eg. maroon or burgundy red), in general, it’s better to keep things simple when it comes to the blazer. 

Stick to neutral colors.

chinos ocbd and blazer
Image From Shutterstock

It’s an easy way to make a white shirt and grey pants combination look more formal. It could transform it from a simple, smart-casual outfit into a business-casual one. 

Brown Or Black Dress Shoes

Both brown and black dress shoes would work incredibly well with a grey pants and white shirt combination. Go for black or dark brown for a more formal aesthetic, or a lighter shade of brown for a more smart-casual outfit. 

Once again, the dress code is important here. 

Black dress shoes would be the most formal option by far but may lead to too much of a business-professional result for your needs. 

If you were looking for a more smart-casual or business-casual outfit, a pair of brown shoes would be a much better option. 

Brown shoes will always look a notch more casual than black shoes. 

In addition, the brown will produce a good amount of contrast with the white shirt and grey pants. 

If you wanted to take things even more casual, consider brown shoes in suede as opposed to a shinier grain of leather such as calfskin or cowhide. 

A Matching Belt

For a well-coordinated and polished aesthetic, make sure you wear a belt that matches the shoes.

If you’ve gone for black shoes, go for a black belt. If you’re wearing brown shoes, wear a brown belt. 

While it’s a simple “rule” of men’s style, it’s very often forgotten. Unfortunately, doing so can often make any shirt and pants outfit appear inadequate. 

The closer the belt matches the dress shoes, the better. 

White Sneakers If Casual

If you were wearing grey pants and a white shirt in a more casual or smart-casual setting, white sneakers can work very well. 

But it’s important to wear them with the right style of shirt and pants. 

If you were wearing a formal white dress shirt with a pair of grey dress pants, there’s a very high risk of a formality mismatch between the formal shirt/pants combo and the ultra-casual white sneakers. 

But if you were wearing a white linen shirt with a pair of grey chinos, white sneakers would probably work a treat. 

The same goes for other casual shoe styles such as suede loafers and boat shoes. 

The more casual the shirt and pants styles you’ve gone for, the more options you’ve got when it comes to footwear. 

If you were wearing a more formal white shirt and grey pants combination, try to stick to black or brown dress shoes to keep things simple. It’s tough to go wrong with those. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a couple of FAQs on the topic to really round things off in style. 

Can You Wear Grey Pants And A White Shirt To A Wedding?

In general, it’s best not to wear grey pants and a white shirt alone to a wedding. Instead, consider wearing a full grey 2-piece suit with a white shirt. A tie would usually be necessary as well. 

While a simple, neutral shirt and pants combination wouldn’t be the worst option as a wedding guest, there’s still a very real risk of underdressing. 

Even the more casual of weddings would usually request that guests wear a blazer and slacks/chinos combination. 

However, it’s almost always best to simply wear a 2-piece suit as you’re very unlikely to be considered underdressed. 

This is unless the dress code is black-tie. In this case, a tuxedo would be required and even a 2-piece suit wouldn’t cut it. 

Can Groomsmen Wear Grey Pants With A White Shirt?

Grey pants and a white shirt shouldn’t be worn by a groomsman unless it’s the attire specifically requested by the groom. In most other situations, it would be considered underdressing. A 2-piece suit should be worn instead. 

It’s very common for a groom to request that his groomsmen wear the same or very similar outfits. 

If that happens to be a simple white shirt and grey pants combination, that’s what should be worn. 

However, if no specific outfit has been requested, play it safe and wear a proper suit. As a groomsman, you’ll want to show that you’ve made an extra effort to dress up for the occasion. 


It’s a combination that’s tough to go wrong with, but as you can see, there are definitely tips you can use to make sure it looks great.