It’s a color that can be tough to work with but looks great when coordinated correctly. So, what color shirt should you wear with light blue pants?
Light blue pants can be worn with shirts in darker shades of blue (eg. navy) or neutral colors (eg. white and grey) for a muted and subtle look. If you want more contrast, wear light blue pants with “warm” colored shirts (eg. reds, oranges, and yellows).
That’s the short answer, but there’s more to it.
After going through the key guidelines to consider whenever you match light blue pants with shirts, I’ll go through 5 great combinations you can try out for yourself.
Let’s get to it.
Color Matching Light Blue Pants With Shirts: Guidelines
It’s important not to think of these “rules” as restrictive. At the end of the day, your personal preferences will play a huge role here.
However, sticking to some basic principles of color matching will always give you better results.
1. Go For Contrast Between Light And Dark
Light blue pants are exactly that – light.
When wearing a light color on one half of your body, going for a dark color on the other half produces a great sense of balance.
Contrasting light-colored pants (eg. light blue) with a shirt in a dark color is a great first step to a well-coordinated outfit.
Of course, how light/dark the items are is only one piece of the puzzle. But it’s an important factor to consider.
2. Consider The Formality
Light blue pants will never look formal. In fact, they’re unlikely to look “business-casual” either.
They’re simply too light and bright.
Pants that are light blue in color should only really be worn in casual and smart-casual settings.
How smart they really look will partly depend on the color and style of the shirt you choose to wear with it.
If you want a more formal pair of blue pants, go for a darker and more muted shade such as navy blue.
Light blue simply wouldn’t cut it in these settings.
3. The Color Wheel Is A Friend
The color wheel is a tool that many people love but some people hate. The main reason some people don’t find it useful is that it’s made more complicated than it needs to be.
But it is useful when it comes to color-matching clothes when it’s used correctly.
This is really all you need to know about it:
- It shows the relationship between colors and can be broadly split into “warm” colors and “cool” colors.
- Warm colors include oranges, yellows, and reds. They’re vibrant, summery, and striking.
- Cool colors include purples, blues, and greens. They’re soothing, relaxing, and more winter/fall-appropriate.
Both warm and cool colors can look formal or casual. The darker and more muted they are, the more formal they’ll look. The lighter and brighter they are, the more casual they’ll look.
“Light blue” is a cool and casual hue – this fact is important because it’ll guide some of the combinations we put together later on.
5 Light Blue Pants And Shirt Combinations
Monochromatic and neutral combinations will generally look less casual – we go through these combinations in the first two examples.
The last three combinations make use of the color wheel to mix warm colors and cool colors, producing a more casual aesthetic as a result.
So, consider the formality of the setting you’re attending when you make your decision.
Example: Light Blue Pants With Navy Blue Shirt
A “monochromatic” color scheme makes use of different shades/hues of the same color.
It doesn’t mean mixing exactly the same shades of blue – this won’t look good.
Here, we’re working with a light blue pair of pants. The simplest “monochromatic” combination to go for here would be to pair them with a shirt in a darker shade of blue.
The image above shows a pair of light blue pants laying aside shirts in different shades of blue.
As you can see, the contrast between the light blue pants and the navy blue shirt produces a nice sense of balance (as explained in the core guidelines section earlier on).
Overall, a monochromatic color scheme has a pretty sharp and subtle appearance to it.
The light blue pants won’t ever look formal, but going for a monochromatic color scheme would definitely look smart-casual and maybe even business-casual.
Light Blue Pants With Neutral Shirt
Example: Light Blue Pants With White Shirt
Neutral shirts are fantastic because they can be paired with practically any color you can think of without any risk of a color clash.
Neutral colors are white, black, and grey. Shirts in any of these colors can be worn with light blue pants easily and you wouldn’t really have to give it much thought.
The image above shows a pair of light blue pants with a white shirt. It’s a classic and stylish combination that’s very hard to go wrong with.
If you want a little more contrast, go for a darker neutral such as black or grey instead.
Much like the monochromatic color scheme in the previous example, going for a neutral-colored shirt will also come across as less casual than the following examples.
Light Blue Pants With Cool-Colored Shirt
Example: Light Blue Pants With Mint Green Polo
Wearing light blue pants with a cool-colored shirt would be mixing a cool color with another cool color.
Mixing cools with cools is actually pretty easy to do – generally easier than mixing warms with warms.
In order to pick a cool color, refer back to the “cool half” of the color wheel posted earlier on.
The colors we can choose from include other blues (as per the monochromatic color scheme), or greens and purples.
The image above shows a pair of light blue pants and a mint green polo shirt. The two colors blend well together to produce a laid-back and relaxed aesthetic – typical of cool colors.
There’s enough contrast between the two colors to be noticeable, but not as much contrast as you’d get from mixing a cool color with a warm color (as per the next example).
Light Blue Pants With Warm-Colored Shirt
Example: Light Blue Pants With Pink Shirt
Now we’re really going for contrast.
The “cool” light blue paired with a “warm” colored shirt would definitely achieve that.
Refer, once again, to the almighty color wheel. From the “warm” half of the wheel, you can see that we’ve got reds, oranges, and yellows to work with.
Pink is a great “warm” color and works very well with light blue. However, feel free to experiment and find a warm color that works for you, taking the formality of the event and your skin tone into account.
Remember, both warm colors and colors can be made to look more or less casual depending on how dark and muted they are.
Light/bright pink will look more casual than dark/muted pink.
Ultimately, however, the contrast you’d achieve from mixing a warm color with a cool color like this will always look pretty casual. It’s just that certain combinations will look even more casual than others.
Light Blue Pants With Complementary Shirt
Example: Light Blue Pants With Orange Polo Shirt
Colors that lie directly opposite each other on the color wheel are known as “complementary”.
These colors will produce as much contrast as possible. As a result, wearing complementary colors together will always look very casual.
Referring to the color wheel, you can see that blue and orange lie directly opposite each other and should be considered complementary as a result.
The image above shows light blue pants and an orange polo shirt. As you can see, this combination of colors would definitely turn some heads.
In fact, it’s so eye-catching that it really may not appeal to you. However, if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd a little, wearing a set of complementary colors may be a reasonable option for you.
The colors do work well together. It’s just that they may be a little too attention-grabbing for your purposes.
Hopefully, that should clear up any confusion you may have had before. Matching light blue pants with shirts isn’t complicated, but it does need to be done the right way.
The information in this guide shouldn’t be thought of as “rules”. Pick and choose the tips and tricks you find most effective and feel free to experiment.