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How To Match Ties With A Plaid Shirt (Essential Tips)

December 22, 2022
How To Match Ties With A Plaid Shirt (Essential Tips)

When wearing a plaid shirt, it can be difficult to know what tie style is most suited to your shirt – particularly as ties come in many different shapes, patterns, and colors. The question is, can you wear a tie with a plaid shirt?

Pairing a tie with a plaid shirt can add some personality to your outfit. You should ensure the pattern on the tie is larger or bolder than that of the shirt. Textured ties, such as wool flannel and tweed, also work fantastically with plaid shirts. Col0r-matching correctly is essential.

While that’s the gist, there’s much more to explore.

So, let’s dig deeper.

6 Tips For Matching Ties With Plaid Shirts

Consider all of these tips before putting your outfit together.

1. Patterns Can Work

While it may seem an unlikely combination, patterned ties can work fantastically with plaid shirts.

However, it’s important not to go overboard as too many patterns or patterns paired incorrectly can appear overly flamboyant.

When matching a patterned tie with a plaid shirt, there are two primary factors that you should consider: the size of the pattern and the pattern type.

The size of your tie’s patterns should always be larger than that of the plaid shirt. Otherwise, the tie could get lost amid the patterns of the shirt.

For example, if you choose to wear a plaid shirt with a polka dot tie, ensuring the polka dot pattern is large enough so as not to get lost in the shirt is essential.

When it comes to tie patterns, there are three generic styles: checks, polka dots, and stripes.

Of the three, stripes work best; however, polka dots can also work well. Checks, on the other hand, should typically be avoided.

light blue plaid shirt with grey striped tie
Images From Deposit Photos

When wearing a striped tie with a plaid shirt, ensuring the stripes are large and bold is highly recommended, as this will make the tie stand out from the shirt.

light blue plaid shirt with polka dot tie
A plaid shirt and a polka dot tie
Images From Deposit Photos

2. Tie Size Matters

Tie width is a factor that’s often overlooked in men’s style. Despite this, ensuring you have the correct width tie is integral to looking good.

This is particularly true when wearing a plaid shirt due to the contrasting formality of the shirt and its patterns.

Typically, the best tie width to wear varies depending on your body type. This is no exception when wearing a tie with a plaid shirt.

man in plaid shirt and tie
Image From Deposit Photos

If you’re a man of average/athletic stature, the recommended tie width is 2.25-3.25 inches. 

The standard tie width is 3.25 inches; however, if you have an average or athletic build, any tie between 2.25 and 3.25 inches will work.

For the more slender gentleman, a tie of width 2.25-2.75 inches is recommended.

Any wider risks the tie looking disproportional to your body while also giving it too much of a spotlight.

As for the broader, more substantial man, a tie of anywhere between 2.75 and 3.5 inches is best.

3.5 inches is definitely on the larger end of the spectrum and should be avoided if possible; however, it can still work if you’ve got no others.

The optimal tie size for a larger gentleman is around the 3 inches mark.

The length of your tie is also something to consider; however, it’s much simpler to assess whether or not it’s the right length.

Your tie should sit somewhere between the top and bottom of your belt – or where your belt would be.

3. Consider The Formality

Formality is a factor that should always be considered when picking an outfit and its accessories.

This is especially true when wearing a plaid shirt with a tie.

The patterns of the plaid shirt clash with the generally formal characteristics of a shirt.

Despite the association of formal attire with shirts and ties, you should typically avoid wearing a plaid shirt and tie to a formal event; it simply wouldn’t be appropriate.

yellow plaid shirt
A plaid shirt would always come across as more casual than a solid-colored dress shirt

Image From Deposit Photos

On the other hand, wearing a plaid shirt and tie is a great option for settings that are semi-formal at most.

While a plaid shirt alone is pretty casual, adding a tie can move the formality up a notch.

4. Texture Looks Great

Because of the minimal nature of most ties, when wearing a tie with a plaid shirt, the tie can really get lost in the patterns.

Wearing a textured tie (as opposed to a standard silk tie) with your plaid shirt is a great solution to this and is very easy to pull off.

Tweed, wool flannel, and knitted ties are great examples of tie textures that go well with a plaid shirt.

Here’s an example of a knit tie on Amazon: 

More substantial fabrics like wool are fantastic for cooler weather and will add a touch of personality to your outfit without going overboard.

Additionally, the extra texture will make your tie stand out more than it would otherwise.

Seersucker ties should also be considered when wishing to add some texture to your outfit. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and great for the summer.

5. Choose Your Tie’s Color Wisely

Choosing the color of your tie carefully is essential for success when wearing a tie with a plaid shirt.

The color wheel can be a great help in knowing which tie colors to match with which plaid shirts.

It is used to demonstrate the relationships between colors and can be split into two halves: warm colors and cool colors.

Generally, colors that work well together are near each other on the color wheel; warm colors go well with warm colors that are near each other on the color wheel and vice versa.

Similarly, there are some neutral tones that will match well with pretty much anything. These include grays, browns, and black.

Furthermore, you should generally try to keep your tie darker than the plaid shirt itself; however, this isn’t always the case.

Here are some examples of tie colors that work well with blue, red, green, purple, and navy plaid shirts.

Plaid Shirt ColorIdeal Tie Colors
Blue Plaid Shirt Navy Or Gray Tie
Red Plaid Shirt Maroon Or Charcoal Tie
Green Plaid Shirt Blue, Navy, Or Gray Tie
Purple Plaid Shirt Cream Or Light Pink Tie
Navy Blue Plaid Shirt Dark Green Or Black Tie

While these are only examples of great tie color options, the principles are the same for pretty much every color.

Alternatively, complementary colors can also look stylish but require more caution. Complementary colors are colors that are on opposite ends of the color wheel.

6. Don’t Go Overboard

It’s easy to go overboard when wearing a plaid shirt with a tie. Especially if you opted for a patterned or colored tie.

Because of this, it’s important to avoid any other patterns with your outfit – whether it be pants, shoes, or even socks; it’d simply look too flamboyant.

Similarly, wearing jewelry alongside your plaid shirt and tie isn’t recommended. 

Doing so would create too much contrast in formality as well as being excessive when worn alongside other patterns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions on matching plaid shirts with ties to really round things off.

Can You Wear A Plaid Shirt With A Striped Tie?

A striped tie is the best tie option when wearing a plaid shirt with a tie. When wearing this combination, ensure your tie’s stripes are larger than the pattern of your plaid shirt. You should also consider the size of your tie.

Striped ties work fantastically with plaid shirts due to the boldness of each.

It’s important to ensure that the pattern of your tie is bolder and larger than that of your shirt. 

This will make the tie stand out and prevent it from getting lost in the patterns of your plaid shirt.

Can You Wear A Plaid Shirt With A Bow Tie?

Bow ties work with pretty much any shirt, and plaid shirts are no exception. It’s important to color-match your shirt and bow tie correctly to prevent the outfit from looking awkward. Avoiding bright colors or patterns on your bow tie is recommended.

Because bow ties are rarely worn with plaid shirts, it’s best to avoid any patterns or bright colors on your bowtie; these could make you seem overly eccentric.

Can You Wear A Plaid Shirt With A Polka Dot Tie?

While polka dot ties don’t work as well as striped ties do when worn with a plaid shirt, they can still look great. Aim for a tie darker than your plaid shirt but with a pattern bold enough so as to not get lost in the patterns of your shirt.

When wearing a polka dot tie with a plaid shirt, it’s also important to ensure the tie is the correct length and width.


In conclusion, it’s entirely possible to wear a plaid shirt with a tie. Striped ties work best; however, polka dots are also viable. The size of your tie is also an important factor to consider.