A lot of guys do not know many fashion rules, but the rule most guys know like the back of their hands is that you never wear a striped tie over a striped shirt. This is the golden rule of fashion. Most tie wearers will tell you that matching a striped dress shirt with a striped necktie will not work.
The patterns of vertical stripes on the dress shirt and diagonal stripes on the tie will bite each other and create “busy” look. While it may be smart for a necktie newbie to avoid this combination, it can actually be done is a very fashionable way. What matters is not the pattern itself, but the size of the pattern.
What will create a “busy” look is not stripes on stripes, but narrow stripes on narrow stripes. Taking a fine striped shirt and a much wider striped necktie on the other hand is a perfect combination.
1. Keep the scales different
The number one rule when it comes to matching stripes is that the stripes of your shirt and stripes of your tie should be different sizes: thick stripes go with thin stripes. What happens if you wear stripes of the same thickness? You will probably look like an optical illusion.
Already wearing a tie with wide stripes? Then choose very thin stripes for your shirt. Matching wide stripes with wide stripes can make you look “heavy”, while thin stripes with thin stripes can be messy if not done carefully.
Wide and thin stripes can be a killer look!
2. Keep the stripes in opposite direction
Ideally you would want to mix diagonal stripes on your tie with vertical lines on your shirt. The same rule applies to all garments in your ensemble: suit, jackets, pocket square, etc. The key takeaway is not to repeat the pattern more than once
3. Go for complimentary rather than matching colour
The colors of your shirt and tie should be complimentary or coordinating. For example, blue goes with yellow, but you can also match different shades of the same color: light blue shirt with navy blue tie.
Basically, the rule to remember is: you can mix patterns if they are different in size, and you can and mix stripes as long as they are not the same thickness.
Now you know, get those lovely stripped material out and make the best of them.