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How to match shirts and ties

Haven’t you got the memo yet? Formal dressing is back in fashion. And if you’re looking to dress smarter this year, Thomas Pink is here to offer advice on pairing shirts and ties – with help from celebrity stylist Gareth Scourfield.

Wearing shirts and ties is something most men have been doing since their school days, back when they first perfected the art of the Windsor knot in front of the mirror. But gradually, ties seemed to fall out of fashion. These days, even the most corporate office environments have relaxed their dress code, and ties are often only brought out for formal weddings and first-round job interviews (or appearances on The Apprentice).

But 2024 is the year of the tie, according to the founder and CEO of The Business of Fashion, Imran Amed. Back in January he reported on the unexpected return of the necktie, as spotted on the catwalks at Milan fashion week, due to a growing demand from consumers returning to the office and wanting to dress up again.

Stylist to the stars Gareth Scourfield has also noticed a resurgence in ‘men dressing up again’.

‘It has been slowly growing momentum over the past year or so,’ he says. ‘Men have found purpose in going to the office and seeing colleagues again – even if it’s only a few days a week – and by doing so they want to present themselves in a smart, professional manner. Suits are a uniform, but I’ve noticed men are having a bit more fun and playfulness with the way they are wearing them – sometimes as a set two-piece or broken up. Adding knitwear over shirts helps soften the overall look.’

Indeed, menswear in the 2020s is more playful, diverse and experimental than ever before. Scourfield, who has worked his magic on the likes of Ben Whishaw, Tom Hollander and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig has long been an advocate of a bold striped shirt, inspired by the type worn by his grandfather in the 1970s. ‘I love a proper big candy stripe,’ says Scourfield. ‘I would add a plain dark woven tie with the shirt, but with a subtle texture. Navy, dark green or brown work well with a blue- and-white candy stripe. If I was feeling brave I’d add a bold stripe tie in navy or brown with the striped shirt – as long as the scale was different enough.’

Fashion’s current affinity for colour and bold style has, according to Scourfied, played a major role in the ‘revival of shirt and tie combinations’.

‘Bold colour and texture are a good way to inject some individual personality,’ he explains. ‘Silhouettes have become more oversized with broader cuts and fuller trousers, maybe in a nod to the fact that suits can be created with ease of movement and comfort in mind.’

For formal suits that are effortless to wear, Thomas Pink’s ‘Unstructured’ range of blazers and matching trousers fit the bill, with their comfortable, unlined construction. As for shirts and ties, Thomas Pink delivers with a huge range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. And if you’re looking to brush off your existing favourites for a return to smarter dressing – or think it’s high time to invest in some new buys – Scourfield has a few tips to nail different looks:

A classic, simple combo

‘I would opt for a classic white cotton poplin shirt with a cutaway collar and a navy silk woven tie. Maybe a navy knitted tie with a small white polka dot.’

A bold and colourful combo

‘I’d recommend something like a strong pink or coral plain shirt, adding a geometric, paisley or jacquard print tie – something in a contrasting but complementary colour to the strong coral, such as a brown or green.’

Clashing patterns

‘Go for a multi-stripe shirt, in blue or pink to maximise the colour and pattern, and opt to put a check or bold spot tie with the stripe – something that is super contrasting with the stripes.’