Skip to Content

What Color Pants Go With A Black Shirt? (Pics)

December 22, 2022
What Color Pants Go With A Black Shirt? (Pics)

Wearing a neutral-colored shirt gives you the benefit of choice when it comes to color-matching. So, what pants colors should you wear with a black shirt? 

A black shirt can be worn with black or grey pants for a more neutral and dressy combination. If you want more contrast, consider wearing a black shirt with maroon, khaki, navy, or sage green pants.

As you can see, there’s a wide range of potential options. But some will always be better than others depending on the setting you’re dressing for. 

First, we’ll go through some “rules” or “guidelines” to consider whenever you’re color-matching black shirts with pants. 

Then, we’ll run through some combos you can try out for yourself. 

Let’s get to it. 

Color Matching Black Shirts With Pants: Guidelines

Consider all of these guidelines before putting your outfit together. 

black shirt and red pants
Image From Deposit Photos

1. Always Consider The Dress Code

Black shirts are best suited to dressy evening social events, but can actually be worn in a wider variety of settings ranging from smart-casual to formal. 

This matters because the dress code might influence the color of the pants you choose to wear. 

In more formal settings, you’ll probably want to pair the black shirt with a more neutral and dark pair of pants such as charcoal grey. 

black shirt and dark grey pants
Image From Deposit Photos

In more casual settings, you’ve got plenty of options. Ultimately, black is a neutral color that will combine with practically anything. 

We’ll run many of the available options later on (with pics). 

2. Consider The Time Of Day

As I mentioned, black shirts often look better in the evening. However, if you were going to wear one during the day, consider going for a light-colored pair of pants to add some balance. 

For example, consider a light grey, khaki, or light blue pair of pants instead of darker tones. 

It isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but it often works well. 

3. Darker Pants Will Look Dressier

The more contrast you’ve got between the black shirt and the pants, the more casual it’ll generally look. 

A black shirt with white pants, for example, is about as high contrast as you can get. It works great in smart-casual settings, but wouldn’t usually be appropriate in anything more formal than that. 

The same goes for other light-colored pairs of pants.

If you want a dressier ensemble, consider a darker (and ideally neutral) pair of pants instead. Again – charcoal grey works great. 

4. Consider The Color Wheel 

A black shirt is neutral enough to pair with absolutely any color, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the color wheel when choosing the right pair of pants. 

Color wheel
Image From Deposit Photos

The color wheel is split into “warm” colors and “cool” colors – they form the two halves of the wheel. 

A black shirt paired with warm-colored pants (i.e reds, yellows, oranges, browns) will have a different feel from one paired with cool-colored pants (i.e blues, purples, greens). 

Warm-colored pants would often look more vibrant and eye-catching when worn with a black shirt. 

Cool-colored pants generally look more laid-back and relaxed when worn with a black shirt. 

unbuttoned black shirt and blue suit
Image From Deposit Photos

We’ll go through examples of each in the next section. 

Black Shirt And Pants Combinations

Here are some great examples you can try out for yourself. 

Note that the monochromatic color scheme is likely to be the dressiest option, 

Monochromatic Scheme

Example: Black Shirt With Black Or Grey Pants

black shirt + black pants + slate grey pants
Images From Deposit Photos

A monochromatic color scheme consists of different shades of the same color. 

Examples would include wearing a black shirt with black or grey pants. 

In many ways, it’s the most “formal” and dressy color combo to go for and is also the easiest to coordinate. It just needs very little thought to pull off. 

Remember, the darker the pants, the dressier the combo will look. 

However, an all-black outfit may look a little jarring when worn during the day. Because of this, you may want to go for a black and light grey outfit instead. 

It’ll look a little more casual, but would definitely look more appropriate in daylight. 

black shirt with black blazer
Image From Deposit Photos

Black Shirt With Neutral Pants

Example: Black Shirt With White Or Cream-Colored Pants

black shirt + white pants + cream colored pants
Images From Deposit Photos

You’ve also got the option of wearing the black shirt with other neutral colors which don’t fall within the same spectrum. 

Examples would include white, off-white, beige, and cream-colored pants. 

Pants in these colors would combine very easily with a black shirt, but are likely to lead to a pretty high-contrast outcome because of how light in color they are.  

You can see that from the image above. 

Because of this, it won’t look quite as dressy as going for a monochromatic outfit like the one in the example earlier. 

Reserve it for smart-casual settings and nothing more formal than that. 

Black Shirt With Warm-Colored Pants

Example: Black Shirt With Brown, Khaki, Or Maroon Pants

black shirt + brown pants + khaki colored pants + maroon pants
Images From Deposit Photos

Referring to our color wheel, you can see that “warm” colors include reds, yellows, and oranges. 

Given how neutral a black shirt is, you can pair it with any of these quite easily and get away with it. 

However, pants in lighter, brighter, and bolder shades of these colors will always look more attention-grabbing and casual. 

If you wanted to play it safe (or just wanted a dressier option), go for a dark and muted shade of one of these colors. 

Examples include maroon, burgundy, brown, khaki, and even burnt orange. 

Wearing a black shirt with a warm-colored pair of pants is a great way to make an otherwise straightforward outfit appear a little more vibrant. 

It works especially well in the summer and even better for evening summer social events. 

Black Shirt With Cool-Colored Pants

Example: Black Shirt With Blue, Navy, Or Green Pants

black shirt + navy blue pants + medium blue pants + dark green pants
Images From Deposit Photos

Wearing a black shirt with a pair of cool-colored pants won’t look quite as vibrant and eye-catching as a pair of warm-colored pants. 

If you were looking for a more relaxed and subtle combo, this may be what you need. 

“Cool” colors include blues, greens, and purples. 

Just like with the warm-colored pants, however, dark and muted shades of these cool colors are best if you’re looking to dress up. 

Navy blue and sage or forest green pants work especially well. 

While some may say that cool colors such as these are more appropriate during the fall and winter months, overall, it’s pretty easy to pull off year-round.


There you have it. Hopefully, that was everything you could ever want to know about color-matching black shirts with pants. 

As you can see, you aren’t ever going to be short of options. 

But the color of pants you choose is probably going to be influenced by how formal you’re looking to dress. 

For dressier settings, go for darker, more neutral colors with less contrast.