How to Match Clothes For Guys (4 Steps To Doing This Right!)

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For guys, matching their clothes together can seem a bit challenging.

Why? Because they’re worried about dressing badly or coming across as a show-off. 

As such, they stick to the same jeans and T-shirt combo, and some even avoid colors altogether and only wear combinations of black, white, and gray. 

How to Match Clothes For Guys

If you’re one of these people, then you’ll be happy to know that matching clothes is pretty easy once you know the basic rules. So, if you’re ready to learn these rules, keep reading. By the end of this article, you’ll be a pro at matching clothes!

Basic Rules of Matching Clothes for Men

To match your clothes well, all you need to know is which colors and patterns work together and which don’t. Once you figure this out, styling any item in your closet will be a piece of cake. 

Let’s begin!

1. Start With Neutral Pieces 

If you’re unsure about which items to get together, then stick to the neutrals, i.e., white, ivory, black, brown, olive-green, and navy. These colors are easy to match, both with each other and with other colors. 

what's not to love about a white sweater?
What’s not to love about a white sweater?
(Arctic trip optional.)

For instance, navy goes with white, gray, brown, and olive green. It also suits blue, red, and even mustard yellow. 

So, if you’re ever scared of wearing too many colors, start with a neutral base. It’ll look good on its own, and when you decide to add some color to it, it’ll become the perfect background for that pop of color. 

2. Incorporate Colors

Ah yes. Colors. As intimidating as they may be, they’re quite easy to match once you learn some basic color theory. But let’s skip that for now and start simple.

Stick to One Color 

If you’re still a color newbie, then add only one simple color to a neutral outfit. Start with something small like a colorful pocket square, tie, scarf, or even a beanie. 

Then, when you’re ready for a bit more, make either your top or bottom one large solid color. For example, add a blue jacket to black pants or wear a red sweater. You can also reverse it and wear blue pastel pants with a white or gray shirt. The possibilities are endless, so choose what you want and make it work. 

Play in the Same Color Family

Once you get comfortable with one color, add another color in the same color family, but not the same hue. This way, each color is still noticeable, yet they don’t compete for attention, taking away from the rest of the outfit. 

See Also:  What to Wear With Black Jeans (7 Great Style Ideas For Men)

To make it easier to imagine, say you’ve decided to wear a red sweater. Don’t choose a blue or black scarf to go with it. Instead, choose a brown or burgundy one. Likewise, if you’re wearing a light-blue top, choose navy or dark blue trousers for the bottom.

Add More Colors

Generally, wearing the same color from top to bottom isn’t ideal. The result may be a bit disturbing. Imagine someone wearing a full-green or yellow outfit. Doesn’t look the best, right?

The key here is to wear complementary colors! These are the colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. Think red & green, blue & orange, and yellow & purple. 

The Color Wheel

Now, you probably think that these combinations are way too loud to be paired together, and as is, you’re right. You’d look weird wearing bright green pants and a red top (or people may think you really love Christmas colors…). 

So, how do you make these colors work together? 

The trick is to make one color darker than the other.

Picture this; if you switch out the green pants with olive green ones, won’t the outfit look so much better? The same can be said for the other color combinations. Dark blue jeans will look great with an orange T-shirt, and so will khaki pants when they’re paired with a dark purple polo shirt. 

Now, we know. A fully colorful outfit may not be what you’re looking for. Maybe you want a pop of color and end it at that. 

man with pop of color from yellow sweater
A small pop of color can make an outsize impact

In this case, it’s best you stick with a neutral base and one bright color. The neutral base will contrast well with the color and allow it to shine, yet your outfit won’t end up being too over the top. 

Actually, it’ll be quite the opposite. You’ll look refined and sophisticated if you keep the colors to a minimum. This explains why in formal and semi-formal events, most people wear neutral suits with a simple colored tie and pocket square. 

3. Introduce Patterns 

Once you’ve mastered how to mix colors into your outfits, it’s time to introduce patterns in your closet.

Again, start small. A polka-dotted tie or a striped shirt should be more than enough. But make sure that the colors of the pattern don’t clash with the rest of the outfit. Also, the patterned item shouldn’t be the same color as the rest of the outfit. If it is, then it’ll disappear into the outfit, adding nothing to the look. 

So, stick with complementary colors and colors in the same family, but stay away from primary colors, aka red, blue, and yellow, as they can look a bit childish in the wrong shade. Also, if your outfit is dark, look for a brightly colored pattern and vice versa. 

After nailing how to work with one pattern, you’ll start to mix patterns. While mixing patterns was a fashion faux-pas in the past, it’s now quite stylish to do so, but there are some rules to it. 

Basically, different patterns of the same size are a no-go. They’ll fight for dominance, making your outfit too loud and headache-inducing. 

See Also:  What to Wear With Khaki Pants (Great Style Choices For Men)

The goal isn’t to make each pattern stand out; it’s to make them complement each other and the rest of the outfit. As such, you need to upsize or downsize one pattern. Say you’ve got a jacket with large plaids. For the shirt, you can wear a thin-striped dress shirt or a shirt with much smaller plaids. 

If you need to wear a tie with a vertically-striped shirt, choose a tie with a paisley or polka-dot print that’s a different size from the stripes. You can also wear a striped tie, but the stripes need to be in a different direction. So, in this case, go for horizontal or diagonal stripes, but again, don’t forget to upscale or downscale the print in relation to the shirt. 

4. Accessorize Well 

The final step in matching clothes is to wear the right accessories. We’re not just talking about watches and sunglasses here. You’ve got hats, shoes, belts, ties, pocket squares, jewelry (especially cufflinks), bags, and even socks. 

Could we interest you in a great wallet to go with that?

You need to know how to properly wear all these items because accessories can make or break your outfit. Let’s see how to match the most commonly used accessories to the rest of your clothes.


When it comes to shoes, it’s a continuation of your outfit. If your outfit is casual, then your shoes should follow the same style. If it’s formal, then you can’t exactly wear sneakers, can you?

So, keep in mind that boots, sneakers, boat shoes, slip-ons, and loafers are best with jeans and T-shirts, while brogues, derby shoes, and oxford shoes are for formal and semi-formal dress codes.

Although you can wear a cool pair of Chelsea boots with a suit if you know what you’re doing. 

But, what colors should you wear? Well, you can’t go wrong with black, white, and brown. These colors are versatile and can work with every single color on the spectrum. 

However, some of them look better with certain colors. For instance, black shoes will look good on navy pants, but brown shoes will look even better.

Again, brown shoes will suit gray pants, but black or white shoes will complement them a lot more. 

brown shoes blue pants
Brown shoes, blue pants – a classic combination

So, get yourself the basic colors, try them on with your outfit, and see which color suits your outfit the best.


For socks, the rules are much simpler.

In a nutshell, try to match your socks to your pants. Not only will this complement your outfit, but it’ll also create the illusion of longer legs, and who doesn’t want to look a few inches taller? 

Note that you don’t need to wear the same color socks as the pants; it only needs to have a similar hue. However, if you want to wear colorful socks, do so only if the rest of the outfit has hints of that color. 

For instance, if you’re wearing a gray suit with a burgundy tie, then your socks can also be burgundy as they’ll look like an extension of the outfit. You can also wear patterned socks, provided that they match the rest of the outfit. 

See Also:  Can You Wear a Suit Jacket With Jeans?


With belts, all you need to do is match them to your shoes. Hence, brown goes with brown and black goes with black. Simple, right?

There’s a small catch, though. Say you’ve got a brown belt with a yellow undertone and brown shoes with a red undertone. You’d think it’d be okay to match them together because they’re both brown, but sadly, that’s not true. 

We’re not saying they need to be the exact same. They just need to have the same undertone, without one being too dark and one being too light. 


Though many jewelry options exist for men, most still only wear watches and rings. So, if you’re the type of person who only wears a watch and a wedding band, then it’ll be hard to mess up your outfit. 

However, if you like to wear more than this, make sure the jewelry doesn’t clash with the outfit or take away from it. 

To be honest, unless you go overboard, it’s not easy to get it wrong since most jewelry tends to be silver, gold, brown, or black. Still, a good rule of thumb with accessories is to group gold with brown and silver with black. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Picking Clothes

After walking you through the basic rules of matching your clothes, let’s have a quick look at some factors to remember while choosing your outfit.

Your Complexion

If you pick clothes with colors that don’t suit your undertone, you can appear washed out. So, if you’ve got a warm complexion, stick to warm reds, browns, and yellows. On the other hand, if you’ve got a cool complexion, then blues, purples, and greens will make you look more lively and animated.

The Weather

Occasionally, some men will choose certain fabrics that don’t quite match the weather to achieve a certain look. However, not only will your body end up suffering from your choice, but you’ll also look extremely out of place. So, don’t wear a wool jacket in the middle of summer and don’t wear a linen shirt in the middle of winter. 

The Occasion 

The most important thing you need to remember is to match your outfit to the occasion. Make sure not to show up to a wedding in jeans because you like a certain look. You’ll just draw attention to yourself (and not a good one). 


Matching clothes doesn’t take a genius. You only need to remember a few simple rules, and you’ll be good to go. 

To recap, have a few neutral prices in your closet and use them as a backdrop to bright colors. If you’re mixing colors together, remember to go with complementary colors or colors within the same family. 

Also, don’t forget to use different pattern sizes if you’re mixing patterns, and finally, make sure your accessories don’t clash with the outfit. If you do all these things, your outfits will look incredible every day, be they casual or formal.