Striped Shirt & Striped Tie

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.
TodayPulling 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.

Stripe tie & shirtClose up
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.
Stripes on Stripess
Green Rep tie & Uni StripeI 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.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

18 Comments on "Striped Shirt & Striped Tie"

  1. Thank you for mentioning this particular style point! Your own looks here are classic and admirable. Have you considered pale pink university stripe shirts (or pale green/yellow)? Might be a subtle way to shake things up just a bit if that’s what you’re after.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

  2. James says:

    Do you wear a tie everyday Jerrod?

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Heinz – Thank you. A pink uni stripe is on the list. Maybe it will be my foray into Mercer.

    James – Not everyday, but 2-3 times a week.

  4. Old School says:

    “It is all about scale”.

    Jerrod, you have a knack for concision.

  5. CAY says:

    When it comes to stripes, I just make sure I’m not mixing stripes with plaids. That is usually a huge failure.

    I’ve always liked the university stripe with a classic repp. You have some excellent examples here.

    Mercer just sent a blue OCBD (my first one) and it is everything I want in a shirt. I don’t think you will be disappointed at all if you go for a Mercer. Their pink university stripe is next on my horizon, too.

  6. Bluchermoc says:

    Nothing wrong with stripes on stripes!

  7. Joe says:

    well said – it is all about scale….

  8. Fred Johnson says:

    Very well done, all classic good looks. Stripe shirt with stripe tie is a timeless look that is hard to screw up but even harder to do really well as it is indeed all about scale. So many ways to liven up a simple blazer as the perfect foil for experimentation.

  9. CAY says:

    What about tattersall shirts? Only emblematic ties?

  10. oxford cloth button down says:

    CAY – Emblematics sure do look good with tattersall! I have seen both stripes and foulards paired well with tattersall, but that is definitely not as easy as single colored stripes. I think the biggest issue with tattersall matching is that it involves a lot more matching/theory.

  11. NaturalShoulder says:

    I am a fan of the stripe shirt and stripe tie as well. You provide many fine examples of how to execute the look.

  12. Ezra Cornell says:

    Wonderful, inspiring looks! I love it.

  13. Reactionary Trad says:


    Please ignore Christian’s recent nasty remark on Ivy Style.
    Your blog is authentic Trad/Ivy. His isn’t.

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      “Nasty”? Since when was simple contradiction “nasty”?

      Oh yeah. Since we abandoned the concept that it’s possible to criticize an idea or position without criticizing the person.


      Unfortunately, Christian is right, in that the Trad/Ivy look is not as unremarkable as we wish it were. Perhaps the most unremarkable outfit in modern America is jeans, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes (or whatever you like to call them). Having said that, Jerrod’s typical ensemble is about as unremarkable as one can get and still look nicer than the jeans-and-T-shirt default.

  14. George says:

    Your philosophy, nut-shelled in the last paragraph, is almost flawless. I would only change “without you having to” to “until you can”. Enthusiastic two-thumbs-up.

    Pale colors do, indeed, turn heads…in a positive way. I’m a fan, too. Great point. Too seldom exercised, but that saves the impact for those who do.

    Darned nice outfit, sir. Wish I had your frame.

  15. Richard says:

    Enjoyed your article on rep ties. I always wear wide rep ties with sports coats and narrow rip ties with suits and sold oxford buttons. Have you ever noticed on rep ties some stripes go left to right others right to left. I have read ties made in America are cut with the pattern facing up whereas in England the pattern faces down when cut. In one of your older blogs you had a picture holdind a canvas leather bag. What is the brand name or where can you find it. I wii appreciate it if you will also email me your reply. Thanks.

  16. oxford cloth button down says:

    Hollywood – I would have responded on his blog, but arguing on the internet is not something that I have found to be productive, but I will touch on it here. I did not understand the logic behind his comment. I am clearly interested in clothing, but I do not see how that means that I do not wear these clothes for other reasons. I do not make my living by blogging on the internet. I make my living working in an office. I dress the way I do to succeed in this environment, and yes I also like the way it looks.

    I agree with you that t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers are the norm outside of the office, but I will say that an OCBD with chinos and a pair of penny loafers is very unremarkable in my office experience. However, I live in the Midwest in what can be best described as Main Street USA which is a far cry from Wall Street or Silicon Valley. I attempted to speak to some of the virtues of trad clothing in my latest post.

    Richard – Thank you. You are correct that American’s wear their stripes in the opposite direction. The bag is from Billy Kirk’s cheaper line the Brothers Bray. I do not think that this version of the bag is available anymore which is a pity.

    Reactionary Trad – Thank you for the kind words.

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      Perhaps Christian’s experiences—California and New York—have left him with a different view of the typical office than yours.

      If you worked where I do (in California, unfortunately), you would be one of the best-dressed men around—and I have a couple thousand co-workers!

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