Certain shirt colors are so light and subtle that color coordination becomes simple. But choosing the right color of pants to go with them depends on several factors. So, what pants colors go well with khaki, beige, and tan shirts?
They can be worn with neutral-colored pants such as charcoal, slate grey, black, or even navy blue. If you want a more casual aesthetic, consider pants in dark and muted shades of red (eg. burgundy, maroon) or green (eg. hunter or forest green) instead.
That’s the short answer, but there’s more to it.
After running through some essential tips to make it work, we’ll go through some shirt and pants combinations you can try out for yourself.
Let’s get to it.
Color Matching Khaki, Beige, And Tan Shirts With Pants
While these shirt colors are similar, they’re not exactly the same. As you can see, they’re all very light shades of brown.
Tan is the darkest, khaki the second darkest, and tan the lightest.
When color-matching pants, however, the same principles will apply to shirts in all three of these colors.
1. Consider Formality
Avoid wearing shirts in any of these colors in formal settings – go for a white or light blue shirt instead.
Khaki, tan, and beige shirts would be much better suited to business-casual or smart-casual settings.
The dress code of the event you’re attending does matter when choosing the right color of pants to wear with the shirt.
In business-casual settings, consider wearing a khaki, beige, or tan shirt with pants in a neutral color.
You could go for a dark neutral such as charcoal, grey, or navy blue. Alternatively, you could go for a light neutral such as light grey.
“Smart-casual” settings are casual but not so casual that a shirt and dress pants combo would look awkward. Think garden parties, first dates, etc.
Here, you could wear these shirt colors with more exciting, brighter, and bolder colors, such as shades of red, blue, or green.
2. Avoid Shirts Too Close To Skin Tone
This tip has more to do with the shirt itself but is still very important for making the shirt and pants combo work as a whole.
Try to avoid wearing shirts that are too close to your skin tone. If you’ve got a lighter skin tone, it may be best to go for tan or khaki instead of beige.
If you’ve got a darker skin tone, a beige shirt would probably be better than tan.
While this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, it often leads to better and more effective results.
Wearing a shirt that’s too close in color to the skin tone can often look awkward.
3. The Color Wheel Is Often Helpful
The color wheel shows how non-neutral colors relate to each other. It can be helpful when color-coordinating clothes.
The wheel is broadly split into two halves – “warm” colors and “cool” colors.
Warm colors include reds, yellows, and oranges.
Cool colors include blues, greens, and purples.
Beige, tan, and khaki are light shades of brown that wouldn’t neatly fit into any of these categories.
However, they do have more warm elements than cool elements, and could be considered warm as a result.
Having said this, they’re also muted enough to be considered “neutral” like white, grey, or black as well.
In general, it’s easy to pair khaki, tan, and beige with any of these colors. It really depends on the aesthetic you want.
If you want a more vibrant and eye-catching aesthetic, consider warm-colored pants.
If you want a more formal and subtle aesthetic – go for neutral-colored pants.
Finally, if you want a more laid-back and relaxed aesthetic (especially during the winter and fall months), consider cool-colored pants.
Khaki Shirt And Pants Combinations
It isn’t all that common to find shirts in the classic khaki color. You’re much more likely to find chino pants in khaki.
Here are a few pants colors you could try out if you do happen to have a shirt in khaki.
In addition, here’s an example of a khaki shirt on Amazon:
Khaki Shirt With Black Pants
Black is arguably the easiest and best pants color to wear with khakis, with grey being a close second.
For whatever reason, dark and neutral-colored pants just work exceptionally well with khaki shirts.
This is great because neutral colors work effortlessly with other colors and require very little thought when coordinating.
The khaki shirt and black pants combo would be suitable for both business-casual and smart-casual settings.
Khaki Shirt With Grey Pants
Khaki shirts work very well with grey pants, especially dark shades of grey such as charcoal or slate grey.
The result is dressy, but not quite as dressy as a khaki shirt and black pants combo.
The pairing would work for both business-casual and smart-casual settings.
If you did want a more relaxed and casual combination, consider a khaki shirt with light grey pants instead. Cream-colored pants would work well here too.
Khaki Shirt With Burgundy Pants
Here we’re working with a dark and muted shade of red – burgundy. If you were looking for a similar alternative, maroon would work just as well.
Pants in maroon or burgundy look great with khaki shirts.
The “warm” yellow-brown tones of the khaki sync very well with the warm shades of red.
Warm colors work especially well during the spring and summer months, but can reasonably be worn all year-round to good effect.
While the khaki shirt + burgundy pants combo would work perfectly in smart-casual settings, it probably wouldn’t sit right in business-casual ones.
In these cases, stick to neutral-colored pants such as black or grey instead).
Beige Shirt And Pants Combinations
Out of beige, tan, and khaki, beige would be the lightest shade of brown.
Here are a few pants colors you could wear with a beige shirt.
Beige Shirt With Black Pants
A beige shirt can easily be worn with black pants in both business-casual and smart-casual settings.
In fact, beige is light and subtle enough to quite comfortably be worn in the workplace. However, white or light blue would usually be the more traditional option here.
Much like with khaki shirts and black pants, beige shirts and black pants make for a simple, subtle, and neutral combination that’s pretty effortless to coordinate.
It’s hard to go wrong here.
Beige Shirt With Brown Pants
A beige shirt can be worn with brown pants to produce a monochromatic combination consisting of a light shade of brown and a dark shade of brown.
The key here is to ensure that the pants are in a shade of brown dark enough to easily distinguish from the light tones of the beige shirt.
The more different the pants and shirt are from each other, the better.
You want contrast here. Go for dark brown pants.
Wearing a beige shirt with a light brown pair of pants could cause some issues.
If they’re very similar to each other, the two items could be seen as blending into each other too much – rarely ever a good look.
Beige Shirt With Khaki Pants
Beige shirts can be worn with khaki pants and the combination could be seen as monochromatic. It works well, as long as the khaki pants are significantly darker in color than the beige shirt.
Given how easy it is to find khaki pants, you may well be wondering whether it’s reasonable to wear them with a beige shirt.
Once again, the key here is contrast.
As long as the beige shirt is much lighter than the khaki pants, it should be fine.
In fact, it could make for a great monochromatic ensemble consisting of light and less light shades of brown.
Tan Shirt And Pants Combinations
Tan is the darkest of the three shirt colors we’re discussing here. Here are the colors of the pants to consider wearing with it.
Tan Shirt With Black Or Grey Pants
Tan shirts look great when worn with black or dark grey pants. The combination makes for a great smart-casual outfit.
However, tan shirts are significantly darker than beige shirts. Because of this, wearing one to a formal or business-casual setting would usually be unwise.
Reserve them for smart-casual settings and nothing else.
Once again, black and grey pants come out the winner here. They’re the easiest pants colors to pair with light/medium brown shirts.
Tan is no exception.
If you’re looking for more contrast between the shirt and the pants, consider wearing a tan shirt with light grey pants instead of dark grey pants.
Tan Shirt With Green Pants
Tan shirts work surprisingly well with green pants, especially those in dark and muted shades of green such as hunter green or forest green.
Here, we’re drifting away from the more neutral options of black and grey and going for pants in a “cool” color instead.
Cool colors include greens, blues, and purples. While any of them would work well with a tan shirt (especially dark, muted shades of these colors), greens tend to work best.
If you did want more contrast between the (relatively) dark tan shirt and the pants, go for pants in a light shade of green instead.
Olive or sage green would be the classic options here.
Khaki, tan, and beige shirts have similar properties but are different enough to make color-coordinating them worthy of an article.
Hopefully, you’ve now got a variety of pants options to try out with each and every one of them.