Certain colors are easy to coordinate in theory but risk looking boring when done poorly. So, what color shirt should you wear with dark grey pants?
Dark grey pants can be paired with shirts in other neutral colors such as white, black, or other shades of grey for a more formal and muted aesthetic. Alternatively, pair them with “warm” colors (eg. pink and maroon) or “cool” colors (eg. blue and green) for more contrast.
But there’s more to it.
After going through the main “guidelines” you need to consider when matching dark grey pants with shirts, I’ll run through some fantastic combinations you can try out for yourself.
Let’s get to it.
Color Matching Dark Grey Pants With Shirts: Guidelines
“Rules”, “guidelines” – whatever you want to call them, consider them all.
They’ll make things a whole lot easier when putting your outfit together. Consider your preferences and the formality of the setting you’re attending when making your decisions.
1. Aim For Some Contrast Between Light And Dark
Dark grey pants work well with shirts in lighter colors.
It isn’t essential – at the end of the dark, a pair of dark grey pants and a black shirt is a pretty timeless and elegant combination (as you can see from the image above)
But going for contrast between your top half and your bottom half when it comes to light/dark will usually produce a great aesthetic.
The reason for this is that it creates a sense of balance. It’ll prevent your dark grey pants from being paired with a shirt that makes everything look too dark overall.
2. Avoid Shirts Too Similar To Your Skin Tone
Here, the specifics will depend on your individual features.
It’s a pretty important rule that would generally serve anyone well. When your shirt is too similar in color to your skin tone, it can make you look pretty washed out.
This would be the case no matter what color your pants were and dark grey pants are definitely no exception.
3. Don’t Neglect The Color Wheel
The color wheel is an illustration showing how different colors relate to each other.
It can be pretty helpful when color matching your clothes, although it is often made more complicated than it needs to be.
Dark grey is a “neutral” color, much like white and black. It doesn’t appear anywhere on the color wheel.
However, the reason why the color wheel should still be considered useful when wearing dark grey pants is that it splits the colors by temperature – warm and cool.
- “Warm” colors include reds, oranges, and yellow. They have a bold and vibrant feel to them.
- “Cool” colors include greens, blues, and purples. They have a more relaxed and soothing feel to them.
Pairing dark grey pants with other neutral colors will produce a different aesthetic than pairing them with “cool” colors and “warm” colors.
You’ll be able to see this pretty easily as we run through the following combinations.
5 Dark Grey Pants And Shirt Combinations
The monochromatic/neutral combinations will always look more formal than including warm and cool colors.
Example: Dark Grey Pants With Slate Grey Shirt
A monochromatic outfit would pair dark grey pants with a shirt in a lighter shade of grey.
The grey shades would need to be noticeably different for the outfit to work.
“Monochromatic” doesn’t mean choosing two shades that are exactly the same – this would rarely ever look good.
As you can see from the image above, a monochromatic color scheme has a naturally formal edge to it, especially when the color we’re working with is “neutral” like this.
So, this combination would be great for formal and business-casual settings. Round things off with a blazer or sports coat for an added touch of sophistication.
Dark Grey Pants With Neutral Shirt
Example: Dark Grey Pants With White Or Black Shirt
Neutral-colored shirts would be in white, black, or grey.
We’ve already talked about grey shirts in the “monochromatic” scheme of the previous example.
White or black are two other “neutral” colors that would effortlessly pair with dark grey pants.
Neutral colors can be worn with practically any other color you can think of – whether they’re warm colors, cool colors, or other neutral colors.
The image above shows a pair of dark grey pants with a white shirt and a black shirt.
Pairing neutrals is a safe option that’s very hard to go wrong with. It’s ideal for business-casual and formal settings where you don’t want to take risks.
It’ll always look formal enough for the occasion.
However, an entirely neutral outfit filled with “non-colors” such as this can sometimes come across as a little boring or uninventive.
That’s why it’s useful to use a neutral combination as a foundation over which you can add splashes of color.
For example, when wearing a simple dark grey pants and white shirt combination, you could add a hint of color with your necktie or pocket square (if you’re wearing a jacket with it).
Much like the monochromatic scheme, however, pairing dark grey pants with a neutral shirt is a great option if you’re playing it safe.
Dark Grey Pants With Warm-Colored Shirt
Example: Dark Grey Pants With Pink Or Maroon Shirt
Here, we’re starting to get a little more adventurous.
Ultimately, dark grey is neutral enough to be paired with any color on the color wheel. Which one you go for really depends on the aesthetic, mood, and seasonality.
Referring back to our glorious color wheel, we can see that the warm colors we have at our disposal are reds, oranges, and yellows.
Pink and maroon both land firmly within this spectrum of warm hues and both work great with dark grey pants.
But you’re very free to experiment with other warm colors such as shades of yellows and oranges.
At the end of the day, it’ll work.
However, take the formality of the setting into consideration. If you’re dressing for a more formal or business-casual setting, consider a darker and more muted shade of a warm color for your shirt.
Maroon works especially well here.
When dressing more casually, you’ve got the freedom to go for a warm color in a brighter, lighter, and more vibrant shade.
Dark Grey Pants With Cool-Colored Shirt
Example: Dark Grey Pants With Blue, Navy Blue, Or Green Shirt
“Cool” colors such as blues, purples, and greens have a different overall look and feel than “warm” colors.
For one, they tend to make people think of winter/fall and are ideal for those seasons.
They’ll also have a more soothing, calm, and relaxed feel to them.
But much like warm colors, cool colors can easily pair with dark grey because of how phenomenally neutral the color of grey really is.
The image above shows a variety of shirts in cool colors (light blue, navy blue, and green) lying aside a pair of dark grey pants.
Compare it with the warm-colored shirts in the previous example. They just have a different vibe to them in terms of boldness, as well as seasonality.
That’s what should drive your decision.
Much like warm-colored shirts, cool-colored shirts can vary in terms of how formal they look.
The darker and more muted the shade of your cool-colored shirt, the more formal it’ll generally look.
Dark Grey Pants With Multi-Colored Shirt
Example: Dark Grey Pants With Multi-Colored Flannel
When it comes to color-matching clothes, multi-colored items can be a little intimidating.
It can be tough to know which colors you should use to make your decisions.
However, it really doesn’t need to be that complicated.
Take the image above – you’ve got a flannel shirt consisting of the colors blue, white, and red.
However, take a step back and take a look at the shirt as a whole. Overall, it comes across as a blue flannel shirt despite the bits of red it has as well.
So, just think of it as a blue shirt (i.e a “cool” color) to keep things simple and use that to drive your decisions.
Hopefully, that’s a pretty in-depth, no-nonsense guide to pairing dark grey pants with shirts.
It isn’t complicated, but there are definitely good ways and not-so-good ways of making it work.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.