Shorts represent the casual summer aesthetic better than anything else. But when it comes to color coordination, “casual” doesn’t mean “anything goes”. The question is, what color shirt should you wear with blue shorts?
Blue shorts can be worn with white, grey, navy, or black shirts in smart-casual settings. For events even more casual than this, consider shirts in bolder colors such as mint green, pink, or maroon.
There’s a whole lot more to it than that, however.
After going through some crucial tips for color-matching blue shorts with shirts, we’ll run through some great combinations you can try out.
Bear in mind that the color combinations would be relevant no matter what shirt style you’ve gone for – whether it’s a T-shirt, polo, linen shirt, or anything else.
How To Color-Match Blue Shorts With Shirts (Tips)
These tips could make the difference between an average/poorly-matched shorts and shirt combo and a phenomenal one.
1. Consider The Dress Code
In dressier settings, consider a muted or neutral-colored shirt when wearing blue shorts. In more casual settings, a brighter or bolder-colored shirt could be a great option instead.
While a pair of shorts should really only be worn in casual settings, it’s no secret that some “casual” events are dressier than others.
You could split “casual” into two categories:
- Truly Casual – In these cases, you’ve got a lot of freedom and choice when it comes to color coordination. A T-shirt and shorts combo would be welcome.
- Smart-Casual – Here, you’ll want to be a little more careful. These are settings where a polo or linen shirt may be more appropriate than a T-shirt or tank top. Eg. garden parties.
If you feel as though there’s a risk of underdressing, you’ll want to be more conservative with your shirt color.
Here, blue shorts could be worn with a white, grey, or black shirt. If you do go for a non-neutral color for your shirt, make sure it’s muted. In addition, go for a dressier shirt style such as a polo, linen, or OCBD shirt.
If the event you’re going to is truly casual and not smart-casual, experiment with your shirt color. Pink, red, or green shirts could work well.
We’ll go through these in more detail in the combination examples later on.
2. Neutral Shirts Are The Easiest
Ultimately, no matter what you’re dressing for, neutral shirts would be the easiest to pair with blue shorts.
They just work well and they do so effortlessly.
Color coordination requires little to no thought. Any style of white, grey, or black shirt would easily pair with blue shorts.
The same goes for nearly-neutral colors such as beige, off-white, khaki, olive green, and navy.
It doesn’t mean it’s essential. As you’ll see later on, you’ve got plenty of more vibrant colors to choose from (in more casual settings).
But regardless of what the dress code is, if you want an easy combo that’s just sure to work, just go for a neutral shirt color.
3. Consider The Color Wheel
The color wheel is a useful tool. It shows how colors relate to each other.
As you can see from the image, the wheel is split into two halves – “warm” colors and “cool” colors.
Warm colors are reds, oranges, and yellows.
Cool colors are blues, greens, and purples.
Knowing that the blue shorts you’re wearing would be labeled a “cool” color, is useful.
This is especially true when you’re planning on wearing a non-neutral shirt color (i.e a color that’s not white, grey, or black).
You can use the color wheel to pick a shirt color that’s close to blue for less contrast. This would probably be another “cool” color such as green or purple.
Alternatively, you could wear the blue shorts with a shirt in a “warm” color for a high-contrast and casual combination instead.
We’ll refer back to the color wheel later on.
Blue Shorts And Shirt Combinations To Try
Here are some great combinations you could consider for yourself.
While there are definitely others you could try, these ones are very simple to pull off no matter what shade your blue shorts are.
The shirt colors we’ll go through in this section are:
Blue Shorts With A Blue Shirt
Blue shorts can easily be worn with a blue shirt in casual and smart-casual settings. Monochromatic combinations such as these are very easy to coordinate.
For the best outcome, make sure the shades of blue are significantly different from each other.
An example would be a light blue shirt with dark blue shorts or vice versa.
Choosing blue shorts that are exactly the same shade as the blue shirt would usually be a mistake. It’ll often look awkward and out of place.
Instead, try to achieve some contrast between the two shades. It’ll make everything look more interesting.
When it comes to footwear, you’ve got plenty of options. Casual summer footwear options range from very casual (slippers, sandals), to less casual (espadrilles, boat shoes, loafers).
These footwear options could be worn with any of the following combinations on this list.
Blue Shorts With A White Or Grey Shirt
Blue shorts can be worn with a white or grey shirt in a variety of different settings. It’s hard to go wrong with neutral shirt colors such as these.
As mentioned earlier, these would be very easy options. They’re also generally the dressiest option when wearing blue shorts.
A low contrast example would be a white or light grey shirt worn with light blue shorts.
A high contrast alternative would be a white or light grey shirt worn with dark blue (eg. navy or indigo) shorts.
While it may seem basic or simple, the results are effortlessly effective.
If you’re looking to dress those blue shorts up a little, consider a white or grey polo or linen shirt instead of a T-shirt.
The bottom line here is that you should stick to neutrals if you’re ever in doubt or you feel as though there may be a risk of underdressing.
Blue Shorts With A Black Or Navy Shirt
A black or navy shirt can be worn with blue shorts, especially in dressier summer evening settings. This is true of casual shirt styles such as T-shirts, as well as dressier shirt styles such as polos, linen shirts, and OCBDs.
In general, reserve darker shirt colors for evening events whenever you can.
Both black and navy are dark and neutral colors that would easily pair with shorts in any shade of blue you can think of.
If you want a higher-contrast look, however, consider wearing a black or navy shirt with light blue shorts.
Alternatively, if you want a dressier and subtler low-contrast look, go for a black or navy shirt with dark blue shorts.
If you do choose to wear a navy shirt with dark blue shorts, try to make the shades of blue noticeably different.
Blue Shorts With A Pink Or Red Shirt
If you’re looking for a vibrant and eye-catching combination, blue shorts can be worn with a pink or red shirt with great effect.
These shirt colors are “warm”, as you can see from the color wheel image posted earlier.
You’ve got other warm shirt colors to choose from, including shades of oranges and yellows.
However, pink and red tend to work best with blue shorts.
Here, you’re mixing a “cool” color (the blue shorts) with a “warm” color (the pink or red shirt).
Mixing cool colors with warm colors produces a high-contrast, attention-grabbing, and casual aesthetic.
Because of this, it’s best to reserve these combos for casual events where there really isn’t a risk of underdressing.
For example, a scarlet red T-shirt with light blue shorts. The combination would serve well at the beach, but wouldn’t be appropriate for a garden party.
If you did want to wear these color mixes to dressier events, make sure the shirt style is more formal and the shade of the red/pink is muted (i.e not too bold or in-your-face).
For example, a muted salmon pink linen shirt with medium blue shorts.
Blue Shorts With A Green Shirt
Blue shorts can be worn with a green shirt in casual settings. The combination of typical “cool” colors works well and produces a laid-back and relaxed aesthetic.
Mixing cool colors with other cool colors is often more subtle and less attention-grabbing than mixing cool colors with warm colors.
Because of this, a blue shorts and green shirt combo could work in smart-casual settings, as long as the shirt style is dressy enough (i.e not a simple T-shirt).
Overall, it’s tough to go wrong with this color combination. However, it’s worth considering whether you want to go for a light or dark shade of green.
Light shades of green such as olive or mint green work well for daytime events.
If you’re attending a summer evening social, however, consider pairing a dark green shirt (eg. hunter green or forest green) with a dark blue pair of shorts.
Blue shorts are versatile – it’s tough to think of a shirt color that definitively wouldn’t work.
However, as you’ve seen, there’s a good chance that certain shirt colors may be more appropriate in your specific circumstances.
The dress code is pretty important. Remember, if you feel as though there’s a risk of underdressing, stick to neutral-colored shirts.