Last Updated: June 9, 2017 | This Article May Contain Affiliate Links
get color coordinated for style

Get Coordinated: Color Rules For Looking Sharp

Hey there, looking to up your style game?

You’ve come to the right place!

With all the cool patterns and bright colors you see in stores and online during the summer months, you may be a little worrisome about the outfit you just put together.

No one wants to look like a style rookie.

If you mix and match the wrong colors or patterns, you’re guaranteed to set off everyone else’s silent alarms and get some strange looks.  For some reason, it always seems easier to look at another person’s style and think “man, that REALLY doesn’t go together.”

But could you be making the same mistakes as the goofy guy next door?

Spare yourself embarrassment and worry by reading our fashion pairing tips.

We provide some easy rules to remember when you are pairing your dressy outfits. If you follow these rules, you’ll go outside feeling and looking confident.  And hey, maybe Gary next door will pick up a thing or two from watching you leave looking perfectly put together.

1. You Can Never Go Wrong In A White Dress Shirt

Going to work? A wedding?  Church?  Fancy night out?

Oh no, what will you wear?!

Grab that white dress shirt!  Come on, everyone has a crisp white dress shirt that is begging for a day out of the closet.

A white dress shirt is never wrong.

White shirts make you look clean, professional, and ultra sleek.  The best part about a white dress shirt is that it ALWAYS looks good.


It can literally be paired with any color suit or tie and you never have to worry about whether it matches or if you chose the right color combo.  The only thing you need to think about when wearing your white shirt is if you have the right collar.


What’s that you say?  Don’t worry.  We know that not everyone is hip on what collars go with what occasion.

Maybe you’ve never even heard of different styles of collars on shirts!  Well now that you’re going to know better, you can do better.

point collar is the collar you see on every crisp dress shirt.  The point collar is strictly traditional and will keep you looking classy at a fancy occasion.

button down collar is a little more casual and can be paired with or without a tie for a nice night out.

spread collar is what most of your dress shirts hanging in the closet probably are.  It’s a great middle ground that is your everyday work shirt.

The tab, cutaway, pin, club, and band collar are also great options that are more nontraditional.

He Spoke Style put together this excellent guide outlining all the different collar types mentioned above in this article here – you should check it out!

Source: Bonobos

2. Colored Pants If You Know How To Pair Only

Ogling that brand new pair of coral dress pants from the trendy store on the corner?

Well, think about what you are going to pair it with before you buy bright and trendy colors.  Don’t get stuck in an awkward situation when you realize halfway through your day that you paired two colors that don’t go together, remember our tip above.

If you’re going to get bright and colorful dress pants, stick with a light shirt that is definitely going to match, white!

But, buying a colorful pair of pants also limits your options.  You can’t wear the same white shirt and bright pants everyday to work.

If you don’t have extra cash lying around, get the colored pants that are the most bang for your buck.

Stick with dark neutral colored pants like gray, black, and dark blue.  These dark colored pants can be paired with numerous colored and patterned shirts without looking like a style mishap.

While colorful pants are fun and add a new element to your style, you can’t go wrong with your neutral colored dress pants either.

3. Revisit 4th Grade Art Class

There’s no need to go look in your attic for your 4th grade complementary color wheel, but you should take a hint from it.

Colors that are across from each other complement one another.  This means that the colors look good together and you can be sure that using those colors together will keep you looking stylish.

For example, dark blue pants would look great with an orange shirt but not so great with a green shirt.  Blue and orange are complementary colors whereas blue and green are not.

Once you look into your wardrobe and start pairing complementary colors you’ll see how easy it is to ensure your outfits are color coordinated and sharp.

4. Monochromatic Can Look Sharp

Gone are the days of wearing all denim!

Remember Britney and Justin’s all denim threads?  No?

Go google that right now.

Wasn’t that a great laugh?

Now, monochromatic does not mean bringing that outfit back from the grave.  If it’s done properly, monochromatic is sharp and sexy.

Check out this outfit for a start:

Source: Pinterest

This is a great example of monochromatic done right.  He’s wearing all camel but then he has a pop of white.  That pop of white makes all the difference.

When you’re going with one color, don’t add in another color that will distract from the monochrome.

Stick to neutral colors completely.

Another example of monochromatic style is here:

suits vs blazers vs sports jacket

In this one, he is wearing all blue with some neutral colors mixed in.

The neutral colors match his shoes and complement the blazer color he is wearing.  You wouldn’t want to mix a more bold color and take away from the monochrome style.  If you follow those two examples and keep with neutrals and a pop of white, your monochrome style will look classy and sharp.

If you don’t have these suit colors and are unsure how to rock the monochromatic style with colors you already own, go search online!

There are tons of other examples you can find online with suit colors that are hanging in your closet.

5. Pairing With Your Partner Through Accessories

Remember phoning up your high school girlfriend to ask what color dress she was wearing so you could match your tux color perfectly?

Pairing outfits nowadays with your partner doesn’t need to look like your high school prom.  Long gone are the days of matching your waistcoat, pants, and jacket with your partner’s ensemble.

However, you can still match with your partner classily.

Accessories can be the perfect way to tie in both of your outfits without overdoing it.  If your partner is wearing a coral based outfit, get a matching coral tie or pocket square!

This simple accessory will allow you to look paired together but not embarrassingly matched.

This is especially great if you are going to a fancy event like a gala.  You can still stand out with your classy suit but stay in the same color scheme as your partner.

suits for men

6. Don’t Be Shy – It’s Ok To Ask!

It’s time to admit one of the flaws of the average male.

We absolutely hate to ask for help.

Why is that?

Things could be so much easier if we simply asked for directions to the restaurant, instructions on how to fix the window, or opinions on our brand new look.  If you want to be stubborn on the directions and instructions, that’s fine, we can’t blame you.

Hey, we’d probably rather get lost in circles for 15 minutes than ask which way to turn as well.

But guys, style is something we can’t be shy about.

We need to ask for help!

Say it with me: “I will ask the retail associate for help with pairing outfits.”  Great, glad we got that out of the way.  When you’re shopping for new outfits, ask the employees what their thoughts are on some outfits you paired together.

They see this stuff day in and day out and have an expert eye for what goes together well and what clashes together horribly.

If they don’t like something you picked out, they can easily offer you an alternative color or pattern from their store.  If you want a little bit of advice before going into the store, there are some great forums online that you can find tips and advice on as well.  One of our favorite is the Reddit Male Fashion Advice.

On this thread, you can look over people previously asking for advice or ask about an outfit you’re unsure about.

The users contribute to your style and are able to tell you whether or not they would wear it themselves.  If more than one person says you should consider changing the color or pattern, definitely rethink the outfit!

7. Instagram & Pinterest For Inspiration

Instagram and Pinterest are not just for the ladies, they are your friends!

There are hundreds of thousands of style examples on Instagram and Pinterest that can help you pick out a great outfit.  If you do a simple search of “blue monochromatic suits” you’ll find tons of results that you can copy.

If you are ever unsure about an outfit or about what to wear, look through some of the men’s style photos on Instagram or Pinterest to find similar pieces paired together that you might have in your closet.

Instagram fashion bloggers not only provide great inspiration but they also link where they got each item so you can grab the whole outfit if you’d like.  Your favorite men’s retailers also post the new items they are getting in that allow you to see the upcoming styles for the season.

By following these stores on Instagram you can also see when they have sales.  They’ll post special discount codes so you can buy that new suit you’ve had your eye on for a great price.

Pinterest is great for inspiration.

You can search different suit looks and see how people pair the colors and patterns together.  Copy the best-looking or most popular ones and you’re sure to be the classiest man in the room!

Shawn Burns | @toolsofmen

Hi, I'm Shawn! A beard and shave enthusiast! I am an aspiring writer that wants to give guys great tips on how to pick up better grooming habits!From beard oil to using a double edge safety razor (yes I do get rid of my beard every now and again), I wanted to create this site where readers can get great information about men's grooming.

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