Certain suit and shirt combinations are so neutral that combining them with ties is usually a breeze. So, what color tie should you wear with a black suit and a white shirt?
A black suit and white shirt can be worn with a wide range of ties ranging from “warm” colors such as gold, pink, and red, to “cool” ones such as blue and green.
That’s the short answer, but let’s dig deeper.
After going through 7 tie colors you can easily wear with this combo, we’ll run through a couple of FAQs on the topic to finish up.
Let’s get to it.
7 Tie Colors You Can Wear With A Black Suit And White Shirt
Any of these tie colors could potentially be appropriate, but there may be certain situations where one would be better than the others.
A black suit and white shirt can be worn with a red tie in most professional and social settings. Ties in a lighter shade of red tend to come across as bolder, while darker shades of red (eg. burgundy) are more subtle and better suited to evening events.
A red tie is also known as a “power tie”. It’s said to symbolize authority and dominance in the workplace.
While this is useful to bear in mind, it’s important not to take it to heart.
A red tie will be even more eye-catching against the backdrop of a neutral black suit and white shirt.
Choosing a red tie that’s too bright, light, and bold may be seen as too much or even distracting.
In general, a muted shade of red would be best.
While darker shades of red such as burgundy, maroon, and mahogany are perfect for evening events, the subtlety can be appealing for daytime affairs as well.
A black tie can be worn with a black suit and white shirt for a monochromatic look. Consider choosing a tie that’s a very dark shade of grey as opposed to black for a bit of contrast. In addition, consider a pocket square to add a splash of color.
While some may shy away from the black suit, white shirt, and black tie combo for fear of being “boring”, it definitely has its appeal.
It’s simple and easy to coordinate.
Plus, a “black” tie and a “black” suit don’t necessarily need to be exactly the same color.
Choosing a tie that’s very subtly lighter than the suit should produce just enough contrast to be noticeable.
Plus, there are ways of adding a bit of contrast and visual interest to the outfit.
Consider a pair of cufflinks or a shiny metal belt buckle.
You could wear a pocket square of practically any color and get away with it.
However, choosing a neutral-colored pocket square such as one in off-white or light grey would work especially well, coordinating seamlessly with the black or dark grey tie.
A blue tie can easily be worn with a black suit and white shirt in professional and social settings. Ties in darker shades of blue such as navy, admiral, and azure pair especially well with the dark suit.
Blue ties are said to symbolize trust and confidence, making them a popular choice for the workplace. They also tend to have a calm, soothing effect.
Ties in lighter shades of blue such as sky blue, baby blue, and cerulean are especially eye-catching against the backdrop of a white shirt and in heavy contrast to the black suit.
The subtlety of ties in darker shades of blue is appealing to many, syncing well with the black suit without drawing too much attention.
A navy blue tie worn with a black suit and white shirt, for example, would look almost as subtle as a black tie. However, it produces just enough contrast to be easily noticeable.
A pink tie worn with a black suit and white shirt works well, especially for daytime social and celebratory events such as weddings.
The darker and more muted the shade of pink, the more “formal” it’ll come across and the more appropriate it would be to wear in the workplace.
Overall, however, a pink tie worn with a black suit will always be eye-catching and striking, simply due to the contrast.
Brighter and lighter shades of pink should be reserved for social settings where you don’t mind drawing a bit of attention.
In the workplace, however, keep things subtle, dark, and muted.
A black suit and white shirt can be worn with a green tie to a wide range of dress codes ranging from smart-casual to business-professional. The “cool” undertones of green lend themselves well to the fall and winter months.
Dark and muted shades of green such as forest green and hunter green work especially well with black suits.
Lighter and brighter shades of green such as chartreuse and lime are more eye-catching but can also be distracting.
When choosing a pocket square to wear with a black suit, white shirt, and green tie, you can choose to either keep things simple or consider the color wheel.
To keep things simple, choose a pocket square either in a shade of green that’s different from that of the tie, or a neutral color such as white or grey.
If you wanted to be a little more daring, choose a pocket square that’s analogous (i.e close) to green on the color wheel such as blue. Here, you’re essentially pairing two “cool” colors together which tends to work well.
Doing so is a great way to add color to an otherwise simple black suit and white shirt combo.
A black suit and white shirt work especially well with a purple tie. Given the long-held association between the color purple and wealth, purple ties are a popular choice in the workplace. However, the black suit and purple tie combination can also easily be worn in social settings.
Much like the other colors on this list, the lighter and brighter the shade of purple, the more eye-catching it’ll be against the dark backdrop of a black suit.
Choosing a pocket square to go with a black suit, white shirt, and purple tie can sometimes be challenging.
To keep things simple, consider one in a different shade of purple or one in a neutral color.
However, choosing a pocket square in a color that’s close to purple on the color wheel (i.e another “cool” color) such as blue or green can also work well.
Gold ties work well when worn with a black suit and white shirt, especially for social and celebratory events.
Having said this, gold ties are also frequently worn with black suits and white ties in professional settings.
While gold does have clear “warm” undertones, it’s sometimes considered neutral given how easy it is to pair with other colors.
Choosing a neutral-ish colored tie such as this has the benefit of being subtle without the risk of coming across as boring.
It also gives you the benefit of having a wide range of pocket square colors to choose from.
Having said this, “warm” colored pocket squares such as reds, oranges, and yellows work especially well with gold ties, especially against the backdrop of the black suit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of FAQs on the topic to round things up.
Can You Wear A Black Suit And White Shirt With No Tie?
A black suit and white shirt can be worn with no tie in smart-casual settings. In fact, going tieless is a great way to dress down the suit.
If you’re dressing for anything more formal – whether it’s in a business-professional setting or a truly formal one – always wear a tie.
If you do feel as though going tieless would be appropriate for the setting you’re dressing for, consider wearing a pocket square to add a splash of color.
Can You Wear A Black Suit And White Shirt With A Red Bow Tie?
A black suit and white shirt can be worn with a red bow tie in formal settings. Bow ties in dark shades of red such as burgundy and maroon work especially well.
Red bow ties are a popular choice when wearing black suits.
Choosing one in a light and bright shade of red can sometimes be distracting, however. Wherever possible, consider going for one in a dark and muted shade instead.
The beauty of going for a black suit and white shirt is that it provides the perfect neutral background to experiment with tie colors.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.