How to Pair Men's Dress Shirts with Pants

How to Pair Men's Dress Shirts with Pants

Men’s fashion may not seem as intricate and expansive as women’s fashion. But make no mistake about it: there are style opportunities galore for men, even when you are just working with the essentials. When a man has a sense of style and takes care in how he creates a professional appearance, it really does show. It’s all about the subtle, small details that will make a big difference. The following is a guide to help men find the best ways to pair dress shirts with men’s pants.

Get the Color Scheme Right

Before you can move on to any other aspect of pairing dress shirts with pants, you have to master matching and combining colors. There are simple, classic combinations like a light blue dress shirt with navy blue pants or black pants, a denim dress shirt with gray pants, or a white dress shirt with navy blue pants or black pants. If you want to rotate a few colors in your wardrobe, invest in the basics. When it comes to pants, have a pair each in black, gray, and navy blue in your closet. For shirts, purchase a go-to white dress shirt, a light blue dress shirt, and a black dress shirt. You can rotate these color combinations for multiple outfit choices.

Implement Contrast


There’s always the option of sporting monochromatic men’s dress shirts and pants, such as an olive green dress shirt with olive green pants. The key to making this look good is adding neutral accent colors and accessories, like a tie, watch, belt, or pocket square. However, you also want to incorporate contrast into your styling skills. Once you’ve gotten the basics of color down, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Pair two colors or two shades of the same color to create an effortlessly eye-catching outfit. For example, you can wear a light blue dress shirt on top and a pair of navy blue dress pants, or you could wear a dark gray or black dress shirt with a pair of gray dress pants. The lighter colors look best in warmer seasons, while darker colors made with heavier, thicker materials such as wool will look better in the fall and winter seasons.


When you want to make a splashy fashion statement and add a bit of sophistication to your look, play around with patterns. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this. If you decide to wear a plaid dress shirt, which is quite busy and eye-catching all on its own, avoid pants that are also patterned. Instead, pair a plaid shirt with a pair of solid-colored pants. And if you wear another kind of playful, patterned dress shirt, keep the bottoms simple so that the focus of the outfit is on the shirt while the rest of the ensemble remains coordinated.


After establishing the colors and patterns of your collection of dress shirts and pants, it’s time to consider your fabric options. These include khakis (also referred to as chinos), wool, cotton, and denim. Wool is the kind of material you want to preserve for the colder seasons. In the summer, stick to denim, cotton, and khaki. Once you have an idea of what fabrics you want to include in your wardrobe, you can begin to mix and match.

A cotton dress shirt with a pair of denim men’s jeans and a stylish belt is a great way to create a casual yet fashionable outfit without putting too much thought or effort into it. If you need to get dressed up for a big meeting in the winter, invest in something like a wool suit in any dark color with a crisp, white dress shirt. Having several fabrics in your wardrobe gives you the option to create a variety of distinguished outfits for both casual and formal occasions.

A Second Layer

If you are putting together a work outfit in the cooler months, you’ll also need a second layer over your dress shirt. This could be a men’s sweater, a zip-up cardigan, or a blazer. All three options look sharp and polished and will do the job of keeping you warm. It’s a good idea to invest in several sweater styles and other layers so you can add dimension to each outfit and more variety in your wardrobe. A pullover sweater with a dress shirt collar and cuffs popping out will add dimension to the look, whereas a blazer over a dress shirt will achieve that classic, man-about-town style.

With a little research and planning, you can create a minimalist yet fashionable wardrobe that allows you to effortlessly pair dress shirts with stylish pants. Take your time, try things on, and find the pieces that look most flattering on you. In no time at all, you'll be able to pair dress shirts and pants without giving it a second thought.

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