Some colors just aren’t that easy to color-coordinate. But with the right know-how, the results really can be fantastic. So, what color pants go with a purple shirt?
A purple shirt can be worn with neutral-colored pants such as light grey, charcoal, khaki, navy, or black in dressy situations. In more casual settings, consider a purple shirt with burgundy, hunter green, or light blue pants instead.
That’s the gist, but as always, there’s so much more to it.
After going through a few essential tips for color-matching purple shirts in the most effective way possible, we’ll go through some great combos you can try out yourself.
Let’s get to it.
Color Matching Purple Shirts With Pants: 3 Essential Tips
Consider all of these tips before putting your shirt and pants combo together.
1. Think About The Dress Code
While purple shirts can look dressy, they generally wouldn’t be suitable for formal events.
They may come across as a little too loud or attention-grabbing to be considered appropriate in a formal setting.
However, a light purple shirt would usually be acceptable in business-casual settings. Here, they’d usually work best with neutral-colored pants (dress pants or chinos) in either light or dark tones.
Purple shirts work best in smart-casual settings where you have a lot more freedom to experiment with color.
Here, you could pair either a light or a dark purple shirt with both neutral-colored pants, as well as brighter and bolder-colored pants such as shades of green or red.
To sum that up, reserve purple shirts for business-casual and smart-casual settings. Avoid them in formal settings where a simple white or light blue dress shirt would be a much safer play.
2. Dark Purple For Evening Social Events
Dark purple is a striking and pretty uncommon shirt color to go for. However, they can look great when they’re worn in the appropriate setting and with the appropriate pants color.
The bottom line here is that dark purple shirts should be reserved for dress evening social events.
Avoid them in formal and business-casual settings. Avoid wearing them in the workplace.
They have a distinctly social look and feel to them. They also seem to work best for evening events, as the dark purple tones often look a little awkward in daylight.
Dark purple shirts often work best with pants in dark and neutral colors such as black, charcoal, or navy blue. However, if you do want more contrast between the pants and the shirt, consider pants in a light and neutral color (eg. light grey) instead.
3. Use The Color Wheel To Your Advantage
Purple is what’s considered a “cool” color. The color wheel is a great way to visualize this and also review how purple relates to other colors.
Unfortunately, the color wheel is often over-complicated and misunderstood by people.
Here’s what you need to know:
- It can be split into two halves: “warm” and “cool” colors.
- Warm colors include reds, oranges, and yellows.
- Cool colors include blues, greens, and purples.
- Neutral colors – white, grey, black – don’t appear on the color wheel. They can easily be combined with any color on the color wheel.
If you want a whole bunch of contrast, pair the purple shirt with a color further away from purple on the color wheel (eg. a warm color).
If you want less contrast, consider a color a color closer to purple (eg. other cool colors).
Having said this, if you want an easy option, just pair the purple shirt with neutral-colored pants.
We’ll refer back to the color wheel when running through the combinations below.
5 Purple Shirt And Pants Combinations
Here are some great combinations you can try out for yourself. You’ll notice how some look dressier, while others look more casual.
Purple Shirt With Grey Or Black Pants
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
Color Scheme – Dark Neutrals
Wearing a purple shirt with dark and neutral colored pants such as charcoal grey, black, or navy, is incredibly easy.
It’s also as dressy as a purple shirt combo is going to get.
You don’t really need to give it much thought – they’ll combine exceptionally easily.
However, you should consider what shade of purple shirt you go for.
As mentioned earlier on, dark purple shirts work better for dressy evening social events. They work especially well with pants in neutral colors such as charcoal grey, black, and navy blue.
The dark tones sync well together.
Purple Shirt With Light Grey Or Khaki Pants
Dress Code – Business-Casual Or Smart-Casual
Color Scheme – Light Neutrals
Light grey and khaki pants are neutral but also light in color.
They work well with both light purple and dark purple, although they generally work better with light purple shirts.
While dark purple shirts can be work worn with light, neutral-colored pants such as these, the contrast is often too obvious and striking.
A light purple shirt worn with a light and neutral pair of pants, on the other hand, syncs well. It’s also a better option if you’re looking to wear a purple shirt to a business-casual setting.
While light grey and khaki are classic and easy light neutrals to go for, you’ve got a few others to work with.
Beige, tan, off-white, and even just white are all potential options.
Purple Shirt With Red Or Brown Pants
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
Color Scheme – Warm-Colored Pants
Now we’re working with “warm” colored pants, referring back to the picture of the color wheel posted earlier on.
Warm colors include reds, oranges, and yellows.
You have to be careful here.
Wearing pants in warm colors will lead to a high degree of contrast with the typically “cool” colored purple shirt.
The more contrast you’ve got, the more attention-grabbing and head-turning the combination will end up looking – and not necessarily in a good way.
The best way to keep things looking sharp but subtle is by choosing warm-colored pants in a dark and muted shade.
For example, instead of bright scarlet red, wear burgundy or maroon pants with a purple shirt.
Brown is also a great “warm” color to consider, as it generally appears quite neutral and is surprisingly easy to color match.
Given how you’re going for dark-colored pants, sticking to dark purple shirts here will often work best.
You’ll notice how pairing the purple shirt with warm-colored pants such as these will always lead to a more casual combo than pairing it with neutral-colored pants.
This is to be expected. Reserve it for smart-casual settings only and never wear it to formal or business-casual events.
Purple Shirt With Blue Or Green Pants
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
Color Scheme – Cool Colored Pants
Here we’re pairing a cool color (i.e purple) with other cool colors. This is generally easier than pairing cool colors with warm colors.
You’ll produce less contrast and because of this, the purple shirt combo will often look a little dressier.
“Cool” colors you can consider include blue and green.
If you’re going for a light purple shirt, consider a light or medium shade of blue or a light shade of green (eg. olive green).
If you’re going for a dark purple shirt, consider a dark shade of blue (eg. admiral or indigo) or a dark shade of green (eg. hunter or forest green).
Once again, light purple shirts tend to work better with light-colored pants, while dark purple shirts tend to work better with dark-colored pants.
Purple Shirt With Yellow Pants
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
Color Scheme – Complementary
“Complementary” colors lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel. As you can see, purple is directly opposite to yellow.
Purple and yellow, when combined, lead to a very high-contrast combination – but it works.
Just like other complementary combinations (eg. blue/orange, red/green), a purple shirt can be worn with yellow pants and it can work.
However, given the huge amount of contrast, the result is about as casual as you can get.
It should really only be reserved for the more casual of smart-casual settings.
In addition, it’s best not to go for a bright and fluorescent shade of yellow.
Keep things as subtle as possible.
Go for a dark and muted shade of yellow (bordering on yellow-brown) to really make this work and avoid drawing too much unwanted attention.
Both light and dark purple shirts can work in smart-casual settings with great effect. However, it’s important to pair it with the right pants color to ensure the result is effective.
Go for neutral-colored pants such as black, grey, or navy if you want a dressier outcome. In more casual settings, consider more exciting pants colors such as muted shades of red and green.