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What Color Pants Go With A Blue Shirt (Light, Dark, Royal)?

December 22, 2022
What Color Pants Go With A Blue Shirt (Light, Dark, Royal)?

Blue shirts are worn in many different settings – some formal and some a whole lot more casual. The question is, what color pants should you wear with a blue shirt? 

A blue shirt can be worn with neutral-colored pants such as grey, black, or beige in more formal settings. When dressing more casually, consider wearing a blue shirt with muted shades of red or green such as burgundy, maroon, or sage green. 

That’s the gist, but there’s more to it. 

First, we’ll go through the “guidelines”. Some key points to consider whenever you’re looking to color-match a blue shirt with pants. 

Then, we’ll run through some great combinations for you to try out. 

Let’s get to it. 

Color Matching Blue Shirts With Pants: Key Guidelines

Sure – blue shirts are versatile and that’s one of the reasons they’re seen everywhere. But it’s no secret that certain pants colors work better with blue shirts in certain settings. 

Here are the main points you need to consider before you put your outfit together. 

blue shirt and black pants
Image From Deposit Photos

1. Always Consider The Dress Code

Blue shirts work better with dark and neutral-colored pants in more formal settings. Eg. charcoal grey or black. 

In business-casual settings, you should stick to neutral-colored pants, but you could go for light and neutral-colored pants if you wanted to. Eg. beige or off-white. 

In smart-casual settings, you’ve got the option of going for non-neutral colored pants. “Warm” colors such as reds, oranges, and yellows, or “cool” colors such as blues, purples, and greens. 

To sum that up: 

  • Neutrals for formal and business-casual settings. 
  • Neutrals or non-neutrals in smart-casual settings. 

In truly casual settings (think T-shirts and jeans), it’s unlikely a blue shirt would be appropriate in any case. 

2. Consider The Shade Of The Blue Shirt

The shade of the blue shirt should also influence the color of the pants you choose to wear. 

In more formal settings, aim for less contrast between the shirt and the pants. Pair dark blue shirts with dark-colored pants and light blue shirts with light-colored pants. 

blue shirt with grey pants
Image From Deposit Photos

In more casual settings, you’ve got the freedom to go for more contrast if you wanted. Consider pairing dark blue shirts with light-colored pants and vice versa. 

In the workplace, it’s pretty likely you’ll be wearing a light blue shirt. 

In more social settings, you may be wearing a light blue shirt, a dark blue shirt, or anything in between (eg. royal blue). 

blue shirt with khakis
Image From Deposit Photos

Here’s a table showing shades of blue alongside potential pants colors to wear with them: 

Shade Of Blue ShirtPants Colors
Light Blue ShirtLight grey, tan, or olive green pants
Dark Blue ShirtCharcoal grey, forest green, or maroon pants
Royal Blue ShirtBeige, slate grey, khaki, or sage green pants

3. Think About The Color Wheel

When it comes to color-coordinating outfits, the color wheel is a useful tool but is often misunderstood. 

Color wheel
Image From Deposit Photos

To keep things ultra-simple, here’s what you need to know: 

  • It shows how non-neutral colors relate to each other. 
  • It can be split into two halves – warm colors and cool colors. 
  • “Warm” colors include reds, oranges, and yellows. 
  • “Cool” colors include blues, greens, and purples. 

The further apart two colors are on the color wheel, the more likely they are to contrast each other. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t work well together – it just means the contrast will be noticeable. 

We’ll refer back to the color wheel as we run through the combinations below. 

5 Blue Shirt And Pants Combinations

Here are some great combinations of blue shirts with a variety of different pants colors. Try them out and find one that works for you. 

The first two are more formal, while the rest of them are more casual. As explained earlier, the dress code does matter when choosing the right one. 


Example: Blue Shirt With Navy Blue Pants

blue shirt + navy blue pants
Images From Deposit Photo

A “monochromatic” outfit would consist of a blue shirt worn with a blue pair of pants. 

However, it’s important to ensure that the shade of the blue shirt is noticeably different from the shade of the blue pants. 

A shirt in a light or medium shade of blue would work well with pants in a dark shade of blue such as navy. 

Aiming for this contrast is the key to making it work. 

While it may seem like a safe option, going for a monochromatic pairing is incredibly easy and requires very little thought and effort. 

It’ll always work, but it’s a good idea to ensure the shades are different enough. 

A monochromatic combo is a good option if you’re looking to dress up. 

It would be reasonable to wear a light blue shirt with navy blue pants in formal or business-casual settings. 

Blue Shirt With Neutral Pants

Example: Dark Blue Shirt With Slate Grey Or Black Pants 

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

Neutral-colored pants include black, grey, white, and anything in between. That includes colors such as off-white, beige, and cream. 

Neutral colors don’t appear on the color wheel. They’re incredibly easy to combine with other items. 

They make for great foundations over which you can add brighter and bolder colors pretty easily. 

Wearing a blue shirt with pants in neutral colors such as black, grey, or white, is easy. 

It’s also great for dressier settings such as formal or business-casual ones. 

Remember, go for dark and neutral colors such as black or charcoal in formal settings. 

Go for dark or light and neutral colors (including beige, off-white, and white) in business-casual settings. 

Blue Shirt With Warm-Colored Pants

Example: Dark Blue Shirt With Maroon Pants

navy blue shirt + maroon pants + khaki colored pants
Images From Deposit Photos

Now we’re getting to the more exciting, yet undeniably more casual options. 

“Warm” colors include yellows, reds, and oranges. 

Blue shirts work great with pants in warm colors such as these, but it’s important to do so carefully. 

Firstly, it would really only be suitable in smart-casual settings where there isn’t much risk of underdressing. 

In addition, sticking to muted shades of the warm colors would always be a good way to go. The brighter, bolder, and more fluorescent the colors are, the harder they are to wear. 

Some great examples of dark and muted shades you could consider include pants in maroon, burgundy, and shades of yellow-brown. 

As you can see from the image above, wearing a blue shirt with pants in warm colors such as these is immediately more attention-grabbing than going for a neutral color instead. 

It’s more vibrant and eye-catching, but also more casual. 

Blue Shirt With Cool-Colored Pants

Example: Light Blue Shirt With Green Pants 

blue shirt + light green pants + dark green pants
Images From Deposit Photos

Pants in “cool” colors such as blues, greens, and purples are just as easy to pair with blue shirts. 

However, just like with “warm” colored pants, it’s best to reserve these combos for smart-casual settings and nothing more formal than that. 

Pairing the “cool” blue shirt with a different “cool” color (eg. green or purple pants) would produce a great effect. 

It won’t be quite as eye-catching as the blue shirt + warm-colored pants combo. It’ll be more laid back and relaxed. 

A lot of people may find this more appealing. 

Just like with warm-colored pants, muted shades work best. 

So, instead of lime green pants – go for olive, sage, or hunter green instead. 

Darker shades will often look dressier, with lighter shades often working better in more casual settings. 

Blue Shirt With Complimentary Pants

Example: Blue Shirt With Burnt Orange Pants 

blue shirt + orange pants
Images From Deposit Photos

The final combo to discuss is a blue shirt with orange pants. 

But what’s so special about it? 

Blue and orange are said to be “complementary” to each other because they lie opposite each other on the color wheel. 

Because of this, pairing the two leads to a high-contrast aesthetic that’s very eye-catching and also very casual. 

It works and it works well. But, it should only be worn in the more casual of smart-casual settings. 

In addition, stick to dark and muted shades of orange such as burnt or rusty orange to really make it work. 


There you have it. Color-matching blue shirts with pants in the easiest way possible. 

Consider the dress code, consider the shade of blue shirt, and use the color wheel to your advantage. 

Neutrals are generally more formal, while non-neutrals are more casual. 

A blue shirt may be versatile enough to work with them all, but it’s important to think about the event you’re dressing for when choosing the right one.