Color matching pants with shirts may not be rocket science, but it’s easy to spot a badly coordinated combo. The question is, what color shirt can you wear with light grey pants?
Light grey pants can be worn with neutral-colored shirts such as those in dark grey, white, or black for a more formal appearance. They can also be worn with warm-colored (eg. maroon or pink) or cool-colored shirts (eg. navy blue or green) for a more casual aesthetic.
That may be the short answer, but there’s a whole lot more to it.
After going through some basic rules and guidelines to stick to whenever matching light grey pants with shirts, I’ll give you 5 combos to try out for yourself.
Let’s get to it.
Color Matching Light Grey Pants With Shirts: Guidelines
Consider all of these before putting together your outfit.
1. Aim For Some Contrast (Light/Dark)
Whenever possible, try to achieve some contrast between your light grey pants and the shirt you wear with them.
The easiest way to do this would be to choose a shirt in a dark color. Exactly which color you choose is what we’ll go through in the rest of this article.
But sticking to dark colors will produce a nice contrast between your top half (shirt) and your bottom half (pants), creating a sense of balance.
It isn’t essential, but often more effective than going for a light shirt + light pants combination.
2. Avoid Shirts Too Close To Skin Tone
This one is often ignored but is definitely important.
Avoid choosing shirt colors that are too close to your skin tone. It can often make the wearer look washed out.
Just something to consider.
3. Know Warm, Cool, And Neutral Colors
When color matching any items, it’s important to know the difference between “warm”, “cool”, and “neutral” colors.
To do so, having a slight understanding of the color wheel is always useful.
Here are the cliff notes:
- The true “neutral” colors are greys, whites, and blacks. However, in men’s style, navy blue, khaki brown, and olive green are also considered neutrals. They’re all muted, subtle, and extremely easy to coordinate with other colors.
- “Warm” colors are vibrant and bold. They include reds, oranges, and yellows.
- “Cool” colors are calm and soothing. They include blues, purples, and greens.
Light grey pants are great because they’re clearly a neutral color that can easily be paired with practically any color of shirt you can think of.
The color wheel is a diagram that shows the relationship between colors. It can be split into two halves with the “warm” colors on one side and the “cool” colors on the other.
While light grey pants would technically work with any neutral, cool, or warm-colored shirt out there, putting some thought into it is always a better approach.
- Neutral-colored shirts will have a more formal and subtle look to them.
- Warm-colored shirts will have a more summer/spring-appropriate, vibrant look to them.
- Cool-colored shirts will have a more winter/fall-appropriate, calm, and laid-back look to them.
5 Light Grey Pants And Shirt Combinations
Using the guidelines and knowledge of the color wheel/color temperatures you’ve gained from the section above, let’s go through five combinations you can consider for yourself.
Example: Light Grey Pants + Dark Grey Shirt
This is one of the most formal combinations you can go for – definitely suitable for formal and business-professional settings.
A “monochromatic” color scheme is one where the items are different shades of the same color.
It doesn’t usually mean the two items are exactly the same shade. In fact, having your pants and your shirt the same shade of light grey would be a bad idea. It rarely ever looks good.
A much better option would be to achieve some contrast between the light grey pants and the shirt by choosing a shirt in dark grey.
Slate grey and charcoal grey are both good options.
Given how you’re pairing two neutral colors, the combination will always work.
Light Grey Pants With Neutral Shirt
Example: Light Grey Pants + Black Or White Shirt
Remember, the true neutrals are whites, greys, and blacks. While navy, olive green, and khaki are also (kinda) considered neutrals too, we’ll keep things simple here.
Both black and white shirts can work very well when paired with light grey pants, producing an effortlessly formal and professional aesthetic.
While the contrast you get from a dark shirt/light pants combo is usually something to strive for, going for a white shirt with light grey pants would also work.
The reason for this is that white is a non-color – so light that you could wear light grey pants and still get enough contrast for the combination to look great.
Light Grey Pants With Warm-Colored Shirt
Example: Light Grey Pants + Maroon Or Pink Shirt
Light grey pants worn with shirts in “warm” colors such as maroon or pink would produce a vibrant and bold look, ideal for summer or spring.
Compared with the previous two neutral combinations, the appearance is more striking and also a little more casual.
Because of this, it may not be appropriate for formal or business-professional settings. It really depends on how formal the setting we’re talking about really is.
After all, baby pink shirts are generally considered acceptable in most office settings.
The main point here is that we’re using “color temperature” (i.e warms and cools) to change the overall aesthetic and vibe of our light grey pants.
Instead of muted, we’re going for something a little more in-your-face. That’s the beauty of using warm colors.
Referring back to the diagram of the color wheel, warm colors are reds, oranges, and yellows.
Maroon and pink are colors on this spectrum that clearly work well.
It’s worth experimenting with shades and hues of these colors to find one that works for you.
Light Grey Pants With Cool-Colored Shirt
Example: Light Grey Pants + Navy Blue Or Green Shirt
Light grey pants worn with shirts in “cool” colors such as navy blue, or green would produce a calming and laid-back look, ideal for winter and fall attire.
Comparing the last two images, you can easily see how the vibe is completely different due to the simple switch from a warm-colored shirt to a cool-colored one.
Referring back to the glorious color wheel, the “cool” colors you have at your disposal include greens, blues, and purples.
Remember, light grey pants are neutral enough for any of these colors to work. But contrast is usually the way to go.
Picking a cool color in a dark shade often works great, whether that’s a dark blue (eg. navy), a dark green (eg. hunter or forest green), or a dark purple.
As a side note, yes, some might say navy blue is a “neutral” color. But to keep things simple, we’ll consider it a “cool” color here.
Light Grey Pants With Multi-Colored Shirt
Example: Light Grey Pants + Flannel Shirt
People are often a little anxious about color-matching multi-colored shirts with pants, simply because they don’t know which of the colors they should be focusing on.
The main takeaway point here is this:
When you’re wearing truly neutral-colored pants (eg. light grey ones), it really doesn’t matter what colors are included in your multi-colored shirt.
It’ll work, assuming the colors within your multi-colored shirt aren’t so out-there that they conflict with each other.
What’s more important is that you decide whether the shirt alone suits the vibe or aesthetic you’re going for based on the predominant color it includes.
The shirt in the image above is a flannel that includes the colors blue, red, and white.
However, taking a step back, it’s pretty easy to see that the predominant color is blue.
Because of this, it’s best to think of this shirt as a blue one – a “cool” color with soothing and calm properties and more appropriate for winter/fall settings.
There you have it. Hopefully, a quick and easy guide to color-matching light grey pants with shirts.
Sticking to basic principles should make the process a whole lot simpler. The combination examples should also serve as some inspiration.