August 27, 2020 - Clothing & Accessories

How to Accessorise your Men’s Shirts

Men's accessories styling tips

There are so many ways to style men’s shirts, particularly with accessories such as bow ties, neckties, braces (or suspenders), cufflinks, tie clips, lapel pins/flowers, pocket squares, watches and bracelets.

You can even style a men’s shirt with a waistcoat, blazer or sweater over the top and go for a Peaky Blinders inspired look by wearing a classic newsboy cap!

Peaky blinders newsboy flat cap mens clothing accessory

Choosing the Perfect Accessories for Your Look

High-quality accessories can really make a difference when matched with a shirt. They can help to transform your look and take it to the next level. Here are some great ways that you can accessorise men’s shirts to add interest and uniqueness to your outfit.

Accessorise with a Watch or Bracelet

Men's smart black leather watch to match charcoal herringbone suit

Watches are a really easy way to add some sophistication and style to your men’s shirt and outfit. They are available at many different price points, which depends on your budget. When searching for your favourite watch remember that affordable watches can still look good if you style them well with your outfit choice.

You may like to have a small collection of watches to suit different outfits and occasions. For example, chain links or leather watches are appropriate to wear to the office if wearing a formal suit. If your work environment is more casual, then you could wear a watch with a canvas strap instead.

Men's accessory style casual watch with canvas strap

The colour of the strap should also match the colours of your shirt and suit. For example, if you are wearing a dark blue suit then you could wear a gold or silver chain link or brown leather watch. If you are wearing a dark grey suit, then a silver watch colour is best.

Alternatively, you could wear a bracelet, which can be a great conversation starter! You could wear smart metallic bracelets such as bands to formal events to add some distinct detail to your outfit and help you to stand out by looking a little bit different.

A smart bracelet shows others that you have taken the time to make your outfit look good and are taking your appearance seriously. Make sure that your bracelet (especially metal ones) fit well, like watches, and remember that simplicity is key. If you are dressing for a formal event, then it’s best to wear only one bracelet.

Men's casual bracelets worn with suit

There are also lots of different casual bracelet styles that you can wear that look more natural including leather, beads and rope. You could wear lots of thin, rope cord bracelets on one wrist, which, unlike metal bracelets, can also be worn with a watch. We recommend wearing a bracelet (or bracelets) only on one wrist, so leave the other wrist bare.

Sharpen Up with a Bow Tie

Bow ties can be the ultimate finishing touch to a smart outfit. When wearing a bow tie, you should keep it simple, for example, with a plain white shirt with a black, navy or grey suit.

Black satin bow tie model wearing

You can use your bow tie to add a splash of colour to your outfit. For an all-out look, you could wear a bow tie with a three-piece suit. You can either wear a self-tie, which should be worn with a wing collar shirt, or a high-quality pre-tied bow tie that can be easily adjusted to your preferred fit and comfort.

If you are over 6-foot-tall with broad shoulders, then you could go for an oversize bow tie. If not, then you should wear a smaller-sized bow tie. A bow tie looks best when worn with a tuxedo for formal occasions such as a ball or black-tie wedding. Make sure that you wear a white shirt with a covered placket (hidden buttons) as shown in the photo below, which is more suitable for formal events.


Men's red floral African print fabric bow tie

Kitenge’s Red Floral African Print Bow Tie worn with a plain white shirt with a covered placket (hidden buttons)

Add a Stylish Necktie to Your Look

The essential necktie and matching shirt combinations can include a number of different colours, patterns and textures.

Men's necktie and shirt combination model wearing

The solid tie and shirt combination uses contrasting colours and is easy to get right. You can wear any solid, coloured necktie that you like when wearing a common shirt colour such as plain white, light blue or pink. You can also wear a light blue shirt with a dark blue necktie for example. Make sure that the colour of your chosen shirt and necktie is not too close together so that it stands out.

Solid-coloured neckties with patterned shirts can be a bit trickier to get right. You should try to match the colour of the solid necktie with one or more of the colours in the shirt pattern. For example, if the shirt pattern includes purple then you can wear a solid purple tie in the best matching colour shade.

On the other hand, you can also wear a plain-coloured shirt with a patterned necktie. One of the necktie colours should match the colour of the plain coloured shirt. For example, the model below is wearing a yellow and white African print fabric necktie with a plain-coloured shirt.


Yellow white peacock African print fabric necktie model wearing

Kitenge’s Yellow/White African print necktie worn with a plain white shirt

Patterned shirts and necktie combinations are also possible but are the most difficult to get right. It is best not to have the same pattern on both your shirt and necktie. The pattern on your necktie should be bigger and bolder than your shirt pattern so that it stands out more. Find the main colour in your shirt and make sure it matches some of the colours in your patterned necktie. It’s best to wear this shirt and necktie in combination with a plain, dark-coloured suit.

Wear suspenders instead of a belt

Suspenders (or braces) have made a comeback in recent years and are growing in popularity. Some men prefer to wear suspenders compared to belts.

Model wearing suspenders with shirt and bow tie

There are two different shapes: the Y shape is more appropriate for formal occasions and the X shape is for casual settings. They can either have a button (formal) or clip (casual) fastener. Thinner straps are known to look trendier and more stylish whereas a wider strap is more commonly worn. The colour of the straps should match the colour(s) of your shirt and tie. The suspenders should not be the same colour as your shirt as they need to stand out and be noticed.

Add small finishing touches

Men's cuff links model wearing

Finish off your formal outfit by wearing smart, sophisticated and stylish cufflinks for decoration. Your shirt must have either link or French cuffs in order to wear cufflinks, which are usually worn to black-tie events. They may also be worn in business settings, but it isn’t very common to see. They come in many different shapes, designs, materials and sizes.

Tie clips (or bars) can add a classic and stylish look to your finished outfit. They are designed to secure your tie to your shirt preventing too much tie movement.

Model wearing a suit with a tie clip

Like cufflinks, there are different styles, designs and sizes but make sure the width of the clip is not wider than your necktie. Place your tie clip between the 3rd and 4th buttons of your shirt.

More Shirt Style Tips

There are lots of different places where you can wear men’s shirts and accessories. Find out more in this blog where you can also learn about the benefits of owning a made to measure shirt. If you are interested in more shirt styling tips then visit Kitenge’s blog for endless expert shirt styling advice.

Kitenge’s African Style Accessories Perfectly Match Any Shirt 

Kitenge’s brand new African style accessories are a great way to add a pop of colour, especially to a plain-coloured outfit. Perhaps you would like to brighten up the office and your mood on a miserable wet morning by wearing a colourful African print necktie to match a plain-coloured shirt. Or are you looking for a bold and vibrant bow tie that will make you stand out at a formal event and help get you noticed?

Our online made to measure shirts and matching African print accessories are made-to-order, which is more sustainable as we do not carry stock. They are lovingly handmade by our expert menswear tailors in Tanzania, East Africa. Each made to measure garment helps to empower our tailors to improve their livelihoods.


African menswear tailor making made to measure shirts by Kitenge Store Tanzania

One of Kitenge’s menswear tailors, Emile, making a made to measure shirt

If you fancy designing and customising your own unique African print shirt then you can take advantage of our amazing special offer. When you purchase your first custom-made shirt you can get another one for free (use code: MTMFIRST)!


Men's made to measure shirts special offer


When you purchase more than one Kitenge necktie or bow tie you can get 10% off (use code: MENSTIES10). Customize and accessorize your look by browsing our colourful range today!



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