The Power of Contrast: Black Suit and Green Tie Guide

The black suit is a classic example of sophisticated elegance with a downside. When styled incorrectly, the intrinsic elegance of the suit gets lost to a funerary or work-a-day vibe that leaves you looking dull, dreary, and like a member of the event staff instead of a distinguished guest. 

However, when styled well, a perfectly fitted custom black suit is a knock-out. Luckily, it’s not that hard to make your black suit shine. Today, the style experts from Oliver Wicks will help you pick a stunning and little-used twist on the classic black ensemble that will leave you looking cool and in charge no matter what—the black suit and green tie combo.

Why is Green Usually Avoided in Formal Wear?

What do we mean by green? The many, many answers to that question are exactly why green is seen as a tricky color in the fashion world. We’re talking about everything from lurid limes to soft spring green, from sage to emerald, and it is tough to reach a consensus on what works where. Try and match two greens in any shop and you’ll understand the problem. 

As a combination of the yellow and blue primary colors, green can lean heavily to one side or another, and thus clash spectacularly with the wrong complexion or hair color. So, keep your own color palette in mind when making a choice.

Additionally, classic formal wear shies away from vibrant, saturated, and bright colors, and most green shades fit into one of those categories. However, when done well in quality fabrics, a pop of green can be a great way to liven up a black suit enough to make it a vibrant and happy choice. So, as with all fashion rules, this one can always be broken—if you do it right!

Can You Pull Off the Black Suit Green Tie Combo?

Absolutely you can! Before you even start, however, you need to make sure that you have a quality well-fitting black suit (or opt for made-to-measure for extra confidence, remember, it’s about finding the fit that suits you, not vice-versa) in a quality fabric that lacks shine. Shine always looks a little cheap. Here’s a fantastic option from the Oliver Wicks collection, or try this beauty on for size. There’s plenty more to explore in our ready-to-wear and custom collections, across all suit types.

You can make a black suit and green tie work well whether the tie is patterned or plain, but remember that patterns themselves can be tough to style—they can be busy and bold. So, if you’re new to this style trick, try a plain tie to start with. You can always get more adventurous as you gain confidence. 

Your green tie will be the statement piece of this look, so this isn’t the time to add other bold style elements to the table. Keep your shirt very simple. Most greens will look great with a quality white dress shirt. You can explore some of the softer, more desaturated neutrals and pastels with paler greens if the overall vibe is appropriate to the function. Think smart ivory, ultra-pale gray, or natural linen—bold and bright shirts are best left off the table for this to work. A black suit, black shirt, and green tie will work in some limited environments where personal style is the focus, but patterns are off the table—save them for a look where they can shine.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—what green are we talking about? Two greens to pay particular attention to are a black suit with an emerald green tie, and a look built around sage green. Both of these colors are having a moment on the wedding circuit—yes, green is now not only an accepted wedding color but one that’s very trendy! Sage green is very easy to wear, being somewhat desaturated and gentle on the eye. And a bold emerald green, like all the jewel tones, always looks luxurious and stately. Additionally, it’s a color that will make a black suit ‘pop’. If you’re looking to experiment with the black suit and green tie combo without being too bold, a darker, less saturated olive green strikes a nice balance between novel and stylish.

Blue stripped green Mogador silk tie by Oliver Wicks

Of course, they’re far from the only greens out there, and for weddings, especially, you can look for brighter pale greens if they suit the overall wedding palette. Keep the classic caveats in mind—what time is the function, what colors match the season, and is there a dress code? As a rule of thumb, more vibrant pale greens suit spring and early summer, whereas deeper jewel tones and dark greens suit autumn and late summer. Think paler earlier in the day and deeper and darker for the evening. When in doubt, olive and sage green will transition year-round.

The black suit with green tie combo is best kept for social functions, and typically for evening hours—although if the black suit itself will work during the day, the chances are that a great green tie will too. While a more somber, darker green could work for a little visual interest in the business formal and casual environments, keep the bright and bold tones for socializing. 

How to Accessorize and Complete the Black Suit and Green Tie Look

For a formal wedding look with a black suit and green tie, the chances are that you will want to add a pocket square to the mix. If you’re chasing personal sartorial elegance, it’s not the best idea to match the pocket square and tie, so look for a classic white, gray, or black, or an interesting maroon. As long as it’s not bright and it shares a similar mood with your chosen green, it will look good. 

You’re creating a focal look with your green tie, so you don’t want your other accessories to overwhelm that. We typically recommend sophisticated black leather for main accessories like belts and shoes. Classic Oxfords will never be wrong. Opt for watches with either a metallic band or a near-matched leather strap, and keep your metallic jewelry in the same shade for visual cohesion. If you need cufflinks, keep them either black or classy, expensive metallic with a simple design.

Black cap-toe Oxford shoes by Oliver Wicks

Where Can You Wear the Black Suit and Green Tie Look?

Wearing a black suit and green tie isn’t so avant-garde that you need to shy away from it, but it is a bold and novel look all the same. You want to make it work for you on occasions where breaking away from the classics is acceptable. We’ve run through some of these above, but let’s recap where this combo could look great

  • Well matched to an evening social event
  • Darker, desaturated greens can work to pep up a business look but err to the conservative
  • Pale, pastel, and soft greens work well in spring to early summer and daytime events
  • Keep greens ‘grown up’ for day-to-day events
  • Bold jewel greens are best for evening and autumn/early winter

If you’re looking for wedding-specific tips for this look, try these

  • Emerald green packs a punch as a groom, but could easily be too bold as a guest—except for high summer/autumnal evening events where personality is encouraged
  • Sage green is an incredibly popular wedding color and has timeless neutrality on its side, so is a good go-to choice
  • While ‘spring’ greens can be fantastic at a wedding, they’re best for the wedding party
  • One notable exception; an understated soft pastel green could work, but don’t upstage the couple
  • Stick to a desaturated darker green to walk the line between interest and elegance

We’ve shown you some stellar Oliver Wicks options to help you plan your look, but if you’re still struggling, try this classic combo of a black suit and darker green tie for a particularly versatile combination that will work almost everywhere and not look out of place. Be more daring if you choose! 

a suit in solid black wool by Oliver Wicks

And last, but not least, some things to avoid

  • Don’t mismatch your greens and seasons
  • Don’t use shiny or cheap fabrics
  • Don’t use a bold shirt on top of this already out-there combination
  • Use a neutral, but non-matching, pocket square
  • Save the brown leather for a different look, or you’ll have too much going on
  • If you’re attending a wedding as a guest, never upstage the bridal party


And there you have it! While a green tie isn’t as ‘safe’ a choice as a classic navy or red, it needn’t be a risky look when styled well. With a little thought to the season, time, and occasion, you can find the right green to warm up a black suit and leave you looking appropriate, elegant, and fashionable with a little personality. So, don’t be too scared to try this look—it may be novel, but it’s also fun and fashionable when done right!

Are you often looking for new ways to make your suit looks sparkle with personality? Remember that the Oliver Wicks newsletter is packed with helpful tips like this, and you can sign up from any page on our website to get it delivered straight to your inbox. Or give our team of expert tailors a shout at if you’re a groom looking to find the perfect suit, or just a fashionable gent needing some guidance on fit and flair.