I often hear (or read) that you should not wear striped ties with striped shirts. I don’t know the origin of this “rule.” It may not even be a rule at all, but a tip to keep sartorial novices such as myself to stay away from pattern matching. What I do know is that wearing striped ties with striped shirts is one of my favorite things.
Pulling off a striped tie with a striped shirt relies on the same principle as any pattern on pattern matching. It is all about scale. It is also not complicated, at least in theory. The two patterns simply have to have enough difference in their scale to work. In general, it tends to work best when the shirt pattern is smaller than the tie’s pattern, but I am sure that there are exceptions to this.
Traditionally I wear a blue university striped OCBD with a striped tie. Like I said, it is one of my favorite looks. However, using different kinds of striped shirts opens up endless possibilities. I am slowly working on adding a new stripe type or color to my closet (Common types of shirt stripes). I recently purchased a pinpoint shirt with red stripes from Brooks Brothers primarily to wear with one tie in particular (see the combo here!), but I know that I will find many more to wear with it through experimentation.
I like rules. They provide structure and guidance. Rules can help you to avoid things that should be avoided without you having to fully understand why. On the flip side, once you better understand the reason for the rule you may be able to apply it as necessary instead of blindly following it. For those of you who don’t do stripes on stripes I hope this post encourages you to give it a go.