10 Key Tie Colors and Styles: Easy Guide

Tanya Yevlanova

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Which tie to wear, when, and how to style it. Uncover all the secrets of the tie etiquette!

The impact of color

Have you been overthinking about what color tie with a black suit goes best? And have you scoured the internet not knowing what the right questions to ask are other than, with a black suit and white shirt, what color tie goes best? Rest assured that you’re not alone! There is so much to tie etiquette, and it might be a bit overwhelming at first. 

However, with a systematic approach that divides the topic into useful sections and gives concise and brief information for each section, we are going to equip you with just the right knowledge that you need!

We will touch upon each of the major colors of ties and when to wear them, about patterns and what you need to know about them, and then we will highlight the basic tie etiquette of the most common formal events

Classic and Timeless: The Black Tie

The Black Tie

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While some people might consider the black tie and black suit combination too basic and not trendy enough, the truth is far from it. The black tie is considered a classic and elegant look. With such little effort and consideration, the black tie can still add so much sharpness to the overall outfit. 

Black ties are ideal for events that you don’t want to overdress for but you still want to appear well dressed. Such events include a job interview, an evening meeting, a funeral, and generally most other events that take place after dark.

Another fantastic way to add appeal to the classic black tie look is by adding a hint of color or shine elsewhere in the outfit. This can be in the form of a pocket square with some color, cufflinks, or even a belt with some mild bling to it.

In any way, you just can’t go wrong with the timeless and safe option of the black tie!

Adding a Pop of Color

On the opposite end of the spectrum, colored ties are used to convey different emotions in different settings. Broadly speaking, colored ties for black suits are appropriate for events like weddings, daytime formal events, and casual gatherings. 

Colored suits hold a lot of power! Brighter ties make the suit appear more casual, while darker suits give a more formal appeal to the look. The color of the tie may also be symbolic of a culture or occasion, or it may be used to match the outfit of your plus one!

Remember to be mindful of the color of every other item in the outfit if you choose to go for a colored tie. In other words, keep an eye out for the color and shade of the socks, shoes, belt, cufflinks, and any other accessory you might have on you.

Note that it is best to avoid overly color-coordinating! This is especially true with a brightly colored tie.

Red Tie: Symbolism and best settings for wearing

Red Tie

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When it comes to red ties, the shade makes all the difference in the world!

Darker shades of red are ideal for evening gatherings and more formal events in general, while lighter and/or brighter shades of red go well with less formal events like gatherings between friends and family. Although, both shades are great for business meetings.

The reason why red ties are ideal for use in a business setting is the symbolism behind them. They symbolize authority, confidence, and certainty. These are exactly the character traits that you need to convey at work!

The symbolism behind red ties and the fact that it is so effortless to match them with the usual black ties also account for the reason why they are the most popular color choice!

Finally, keep in mind that the red color is considered best for happy events, like celebrations, and neutral events, like meetings. Avoid wearing that in events of sorrow or grief.

Blue Tie: Different shades and their connotations

Blue Tie

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Blue ties work exceptionally well with black ties! The subtlety between the two colors results in an eye-catching yet smart appearance.

As is the case with the red ties, the shade of the blue tie makes all the difference!

As is expected, darker shades symbolize formality and confidence, while lighter shades are more inviting and friendly. 

Dark blue, like navy or royal blue, is ideal for professional settings and evening events.

With the darker shades, it is also more socially acceptable to match the color of the socks you are wearing to the color of the tie.

Lighter shades of blue, like baby or sky blue, are fitting for more relaxed formal events, casual events, and daytime events. A quick lunch with long-term business associates, for instance, definitely calls for a light blue tie!

All-in-all, as is the case with black ties, blue ties are a safe choice.

Pink Tie: How to pull off a modern and youthful look

Pink Tie

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While not many people consider pink as their go-to tie color, it is actually a very classy choice! This, of course, extends to lighter and softer shades of the color.

Pink is also a happy color that should be worn on jolly occasions only. Weddings, anniversaries, cocktail parties, family gatherings, and the like. 

The secret to pulling off the pink tie look lies in allowing the tie to be the center of attention of the outfit. Keep it simple and keep it classy. Don’t over-accessorize, and keep the rest of the colors in the attire neutral. This extends to the socks and shoes as well.

Another consideration that should be taken when wearing a pink tie is your skin tone. A lighter skin tone is complemented best by subtler shades of pink. The opposite is true for darker skin tones.

Green Tie: What shades work best for business or casual.

Green Tie

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For casual settings, the rules are relaxed when it comes to green ties. Both dark and light shades are appropriate. For business settings, however, the rules are a lot sterner. 

Stick to dark and bold shades of green to maintain formality and a sense of seriousness. 

Other than considering the formality of the event when choosing a shade of green to wear, the time of the year also comes into play. What is meant by that is that colder seasons, like winter or fall, require darker shades, such as forest or olive green.

Warmer months call for lighter shades, like pistachio green. However, keep in mind that very bright shades of green may be considered tacky and should be worn with caution or avoided if possible.

Purple Tie: Elegance and creativity in your ensemble

Purple Tie

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Purple ties are extremely versatile!

Their versatility stems from the fact that they are considered both formal and casual. This also extends to the majority of the shades of the color. Purple is perceived as a royal and dignified color, which makes purple ties appropriate for use in the workplace, in celebratory events, in evening events, and so on. 

Despite its royalty, the color purple is still considered a fun and daring color, making it an equally appropriate choice for use in informal settings and daytime events.

So the verdict is that you can wear your purple tie to most events, from weddings and parties to business meetings and even gala parties!

Further, darker shades of purple can be grouped within the same category as dark blue shades, and they thus follow the same rules for styling.

Gold Tie: Adding luxury and shine to your outfit

Gold Tie

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The use of gold ties in celebrations is self-explanatory! The golden color adds a classy pop to your outfit and instantly elevates it. This is exactly what is needed in events like anniversaries, black-tie events, weddings, and the like. Consider the texture of the tie as well – silk gold ties are exquisite!

The best shades of gold include the following:

  • Champagne gold
  • Metallic gold
  • Pale gold
  • Honey gold

As for casual and work settings, the use of a gold tie is mostly appropriate if the color of the shade is not too bold. If it is toned down, then it might pass for a neutral tone with a bit more sharpness. Also, always remember to wear gold ties with darker-colored suits. While black is the ideal choice, a dark blue suit fits the look as well.

The Bold and the Beautiful: Patterned Ties

Patterned ties are a great touch to an outfit. They give character, they express your style, and they allow you to personalize a basic suit.

As for when it is appropriate to wear patterned ties, the general consensus is that they are more appropriate for casual events. They make the overall look more fitting for a casual occasion, and they make more formal colors, such as navy blue, appear less formal as well.

However, just because they are meant for informal events, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be classy. To maintain a graceful look, choose micropatterns over larger ones. 

Further, patterns, just like bold colors, become the center of attention of the entire attire. So, it is best to go easy on other details if the tie itself is heavily detailed or is of a bold color.

Lastly, it goes without saying that two differently patterned items of clothing do not go well together. This means that if you choose to wear a pocket square in addition to a patterned tie, the pocket square should either be of the same color as the tie without the pattern, or of the same color and pattern.

Patterned Ties

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White Tie with Light Blue Cashmere Motifs: When to wear and pairing tips

The cashmere print is an intricate and elegant pattern that transforms even basic looks into striking outfits. The white and light blue combination in particular is a popular one as it brings out the pattern and is easy on the eyes.

With the cashmere motifs being so alluring, it comes as no surprise that a tie with such patterns is exclusive to major events, especially celebratory ones. Examples of when to wear such a tie include weddings, formal dinners, and galas.

The tips about styling patterned ties apply here as well. The ideal shirt to wear with a white tie with light blue cashmere motifs would be either a white shirt or a light blue one. The same goes for the pocket square if you choose to wear one.

Making a Statement: The Burgundy Tie

The Burgundy Tie

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The burgundy color is exceptionally charming, and it fits dark-colored suits like a glove! Burgundy-colored ties are also a lot more versatile than one might think. For instance, they are commonly worn at weddings and other formal events, especially evening events, but they are also suitable for semi-formal occasions.

Such ties can also be worn during the daytime, as the sun beautifully highlights the burgundy color. As for business settings, burgundy ties are grouped under the categories of red ties and are thus an excellent choice for the workplace. They are bold, confident, and stylish!

Finally, as mentioned earlier, burgundy ties pair wonderfully with dark-colored suits. Black suits, navy blue suits, and even dark grey suits are the go-to choices with burgundy ties.

Universal Styling Tips

Universal Styling Tips

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When choosing a tie, your selection will depend upon the type of event, the time of day, and the season.

Regarding event type, obviously, joyful events like celebratory dinners, gatherings, anniversaries, and weddings usually call for bolder colors. In such a setting, pink would be a great choice! 

Funerals, on the other hand, require black as the default color of choice.

Formal and semi-formal work settings are flexible. But generally, stick to something not too bright, like navy blue, which is always a good choice in a professional setting.

Regarding the time of the day, pastel shades or brighter colors, like green are better are better for daytime events, while darker shades are more suitable for nighttime events. Some colors can work any time of the day. We have just gone over burgundy, and it is one such example.

Regarding the season, as is with the time of the day, brighter colors go with warmer seasons, like spring and summer, and darker colors go with colder seasons, like fall and winter. We have touched upon this earlier saying that it differs between shades, even of the same color. Taking the color green as an example, forest and olive green are best suited for fall/winter, while pistachio green is best suited during the summer and springtime.

Special Occasion Tie Selection 

Special Occasion Tie Selection 

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Not all special occasions are on the same level of formality! 

Special occasions that are celebrated with friends and family, like weddings and anniversaries, for instance, require brighter colors than occasions celebrated between colleagues or work associates. To give an example, a baby pink tie would be a good choice for a guest to a rehearsal dinner or a wedding but would be a less acceptable choice for an important business meeting.

However, in any event, the more formal the occasion is, the more you should avoid extremely bright colors. Very bright colors, like daffodil yellow, are too flashy, and not in a good way. 

You have to find the balance between wanting to stand out and be expressive and appearing too flashy or tacky.

Wedding Ties: Color and style suggestions

Wedding Ties

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First and foremost, check with the bride and groom about the dress code they have set for their wedding! Now that that’s out of the way, and if you have some flexibility with your choice, a great tip is to try to match the tie with the theme of the wedding.

In other words, if it is an outdoor wedding, perhaps colors that match the setting would be more appealing, like forest green. Meanwhile, a burgundy tie may suit a more modern wedding better.

Weddings are also a good time to bring out your nicest patterned tie! But, remember, smaller, micropatterns are always preferable and more chic!

Funeral Ties: Appropriate options for a somber occasion

Funeral Ties

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For somber occasions like funerals, you have to be as respectful with your choice of ties as possible. Your choice of ties should not be based on what can allow you to stand out more or express your style more. Instead, it should be about choosing simplicity and elegance. And, generally, simplicity and elegance go very well together.

An obvious choice of a tie to a funeral would be a black tie. As discussed earlier about black ties, the black-tie look is not a boring one but a timeless and sophisticated one instead.

Other appropriate options for somber occasions include dark shades of blue (like navy blue), grey, and even maroon.

Subtle patterns on ties are also acceptable for funerals.

Final words!

As you can see, the tie etiquette is far from being simple. But with a few rules of thumb, like lighter colors for warmer months and daytime events, and vice versa, your next choice of tie should become much easier! Especially that we have touched upon every popular tie color, about patterns, and about major formal events and which tie to use in each of them.

If you have some other rules of thumb or tips and tricks that you follow, share them out loud! We would also like to hear about which combinations and preferences you often go for. And, of course, let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or points of clarification.

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