A blue blazer is extremely versatile – some may argue that every man should own one. However, it’s important to recognize that not all shirt colors will work with one. So, what shirt colors should you wear with a blue blazer or sport coat?
A blue blazer can be worn with a white shirt in formal settings, as well as a light blue shirt or light pink shirt in business-casual settings. When wearing a blue blazer in smart-casual settings, consider shirts in black, maroon, sage green, or even muted shades of purple.
There’s a lot more to it though.
After going through a few essential tips for color-matching blue blazers with shirts, we’ll go through some specific examples as well (with pictures).
For the rest of this article, we’ll use the terms “blazer” and “sport coat” interchangeably.
Color Matching Blue Blazers With Shirts: Essential Tips
When color-matching your blue blazer with a shirt, it’s important to consider specific factors that may influence your decision.
Here are some tips to see you through.
1. Consider The Dress Code
The dress code is the most important factor. When wearing a blue blazer to a formal or business-professional setting, stick to light and neutral-colored shirts only.
The more formal the setting, the more appropriate it would be to stick to a white dress shirt.
In slightly less formal (but still dressy) settings (eg. business-professional or business-casual) you could afford to go for a light blue or light pink dress shirt.
When wearing a blue blazer in smart-casual settings, you’ve got a whole range of options ranging from neutral to non-neutral, and from light to dark.
For example, you could reasonably wear a black, maroon, or mint green shirt to a smart-casual setting. There are more – those are just a few examples.
We’ll go through these examples in more detail later on.
2. Consider The Pants
The pants you wear with your blue blazer may influence the color of the shirt you choose.
When wearing a non-neutral pair of pants with your blue blazer, stick to a simple, neutral-colored shirt to avoid having too much color in your outfit. White and light blue would be your best options.
If you’ve gone for a neutral pair of pants with your blue blazer (eg. beige, grey, charcoal, or black), you can afford to go for a more exciting and vibrant shirt color if you wanted to.
This is especially important when dressing for a smart-casual setting, where a more exciting, non-neutral pants color may be an option.
The main point here is that you don’t want too many pops of color in your outfit. Stick to a single pop of color in your smart-casual outfit – whether that’s the shirt or the pants.
Let the other items remain subtle, neutral, and muted.
3. The Color Wheel Definitely Helps
The color wheel can be helpful, especially when you aren’t going for a neutral shirt color.
It’ll help you see how the shirt color you’re thinking of relates to the blue blazer.
Different combinations can produce different aesthetics and vibes.
As you can see from the color wheel, you’ve got a range of “warm” colors (reds, oranges, yellows) and “cool” colors to potentially choose from.
Not all of them are as traditional or easy to pull off.
A blue blazer is a “cool” colored blazer. Mixing a cool-colored blazer with a warm-colored shirt (eg. pink or maroon) will produce a high degree of contrast.
It’s eye-catching and this can be appealing, especially in more casual settings.
Mixing a cool-colored blazer with a shirt in another cool color (eg. green or a different shade of blue) is easy and often produces a great laid-back, subtle, and relaxed aesthetic.
Blue Blazer And Shirt Combinations To Try
Here are a few combinations you can try out for yourself. We’ll refer back to the tips above from time to time.
You’ll notice how some combinations (eg. neutrals/monochromatic schemes) tend to look more formal.
Here are the shirt colors we’ll be going through. Any of them could potentially work with a blue blazer or sport coat:
Blue Blazer With A Blue Shirt
Dress Code – Business-Casual, Smart-Casual
Other Potential Items – Chinos, derby shoes.
A blue blazer can be worn with a blue shirt but the result won’t look quite as formal as a white shirt would.
It’s still a great option in business-casual or smart-casual settings.
It’s important, however, to choose a blue shirt that’s a very different shade of blue.
Taking things a step further, it really works best when the blazer is a dark shade of blue and the shirt is a light shade of blue.
The two shades need to be easily distinguishable for the look to work.
The combination is “monochromatic” because you’re using different shades of the same color.
If you were wearing the combination to a business-casual setting, consider a neutral-colored pair of chinos (eg. stone grey or beige).
A suitably semi-formal pair of dress shoes to go with the combination would be a tan brown pair of Derby shoes.
Blue Blazer With A White Or Grey Shirt
Dress Code – Formal, Business-Casual, Smart-Casual
A blue blazer can be worn with a white or grey shirt in a wide variety of settings ranging from formal to smart-casual.
This is especially true of light grey shirts. The darker the shade of grey, the less suitable it would be for formal settings.
Overall, these colors are neutral enough to pair well with any blue blazer or sport coat you can think of.
It doesn’t require much thought – color coordination becomes a lot easier when you’re dealing with neutrals as opposed to non-neutrals.
It may not be as exciting, but you can be sure that it’ll work.
It also gives you more options when incorporating other colored items.
For example, you can experiment with tie or pocket square colors without any fear of potential conflicts with the shirt.
Blue Blazer With A Black Shirt
Dress Code – Smart-Casual (especially evening events)
Other Potential Items – No tie, charcoal grey dress pants, white pocket square
Blue blazers can be worn with black shirts in smart-casual settings, but should generally be avoided in formal and business-casual settings.
The combination is interesting because it’s dressy and relatively neutral, but doesn’t look traditional or professional enough to slot well into more formal settings.
It looks sophisticated, however, and works especially well in smart-casual settings.
Going a step further, it works great for dressy evening social events where a shirt and blazer would be appropriate.
Black shirts can be worn during the daytime, but they just tend to look a whole lot better at night.
When wearing this combination, avoid wearing a tie if you can. Instead, go tieless and undo the top button.
To add a splash of contrast, consider slotting a white pocket square into the blue blazer.
Blue Blazer With A Pink Or Maroon Shirt
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
Other Potential Items – Neutral-colored chinos, suede dress shoes
A blue blazer can be worn with a warm-colored shirt such as pink or maroon one in smart-casual settings. The combination produces enough contrast to be eye-catching.
Pink shirts work especially well with blue blazers, especially light and muted shades of pink.
In fact, a light pink shirt, blue blazer, and neutral-colored dress pants/chinos combination would make for a great business-casual outfit.
If you’re going for a darker or more vibrant warm-colored shirt (eg. a darker/brighter shade of pink or red), reserve the combination for smart-casual settings and nothing more formal than that.
The mixture of a cool color (blue) with a warm color (pink, red, or maroon) would be high contrast.
It’ll always look more casual than a white/grey/black shirt would when wearing a blue blazer.
Blue Blazer With A Purple Or Green Shirt
Dress Code – Smart-Casual
A blue blazer can be worn with a purple or green shirt in smart-casual settings. To keep things subtle, choose muted shades of purple and green.
For example, instead of lime green or chartreuse, go for olive green or sage green.
Muted shades of purple include mauve and plum.
Essentially, you don’t want the shirt to be too in-your-face or to stand out too much in the outfit.
While a blue blazer is pretty versatile (especially navy) and easy to pair with other items, you don’t want too much color and vibrance in your outfit.
If in doubt, go muted.
A blue blazer or sport coat could become a workhorse of your wardrobe. It could be worn in such a wide variety of settings that owning one should really be considered essential.
When color-matching a blue blazer with shirts, it’s important to consider the dress code, as well as your preferences.
Ultimately, you’ve got many options, but stick to neutral shirt colors whenever you feel there may be a risk of underdressing.