With only a few corporate environments that require men to suit up daily, it’s likely that you are out of practice when it comes to the art and science of pairing a shirt and tie pairing.  Yet, the holiday season’s cocktail parties are here to force the issue. But have no fear, there are certain tricks of the trade that will help you navigate this seemingly complex topic. Two rules of thumb that never fail are 1) opposites attract. So, a patterned shirt should have a solid tie, and a solid shirt should have a patterned tie.  And 2) the tie should always be darker than the shirt. If that’s all you remember, you’re good. See? Easy. More details? Read on.
When mixing patterns, pay attention to two main aspects to pull this off. First, the colors in the patterns – they should compliment each other, not compete. Second, mind proportions. For example, if you’re going with a micro checked shirt, complimenting this with a larger gingham patterned tie will work well.
Finally, consider how patterns add dimension, texture, and spike visual interest. Do be wary, there are certain patterns that you do want to use sparingly. Busy prints like plaids and paisleys should be paired with shirts that are more straightforward less you run the risk of becoming an excessive feast for the eyes. It’s a delicate dance but with most things in life – think mutual exchange and balanced scales.