Celebrities and elegant women in fashion magazines always pull off daring outfits featuring bold red pants. If you recently found the perfect pair of red pants, you may want to give this statement look a try, too! So, what color shirt goes with red pants?
Red pants pair well with shirts in neutral shades like white, cream, black, or grey. For a bolder style, warm colors like gold or yellow can look good with certain shades of red pants, and contrasting colors like mint or dark green can also look good. Contrasting styles like denim or off-shoulder top can also look good with red pants.
In this article, you will discover fifteen different shirt colors that look good with red pants. You will find tips for what color most compliments red pants. Finally, you will learn what color shoes look good with red pants.
15 Shirt Colors to Wear with Red Pants
The top fifteen color shirts to wear with red pants offer a wide range of style choices for both men and women. For example, pairing red chinos and a pale pink top for men offers a trendy, monochromatic vibe. Adding a stark white button-up with silky scarlet pants creates a bold but workplace-appropriate outfit for women.
Before you dive into picking the best shirt to create the perfect outfit for your favorite red pants, consider a few things.
First, as a primary color, red draws the eye. This means that unless you want your pants to form the highlight of your outfit, you will need to carefully consider how to balance your top, shoes, and accessories. One easy way to make sure the top of your outfit is as engaging as the bottom is to pick a patterned or striped shirt.
Second, you often need to consider the shade of red to pick the perfect matching top. Would you call your pants cranberry red, crimson, vermillion, cherry, or scarlet, to name a few popular shades of red in fashion today?
This will help you pinpoint contrasting colors that pair well with that shade. For example, when you look at the color wheel, the shade of green opposite from the scarlet will look much brighter than the shade of green across from mulberry red.
This is because every varying shade of any color has more or less of its neighboring color mixed into it. For example, a lighter green has more yellow than a darker green because light greens lie next to yellow on the color wheel.
Keep in mind that quite often, a shade of a color that looks good with one shade of red will not look as good with another shade of red.
Finally, you also want to consider the texture of your shirt. A velvety shirt will have shadows and softness that make it look more interesting in most cases than a simple cotton shirt. If you want your top to draw as much attention as your red pants, you may want to find a shirt with an interesting texture besides a color that goes well with the red pants.
Neutral-colored shirts provide a calming backdrop for your vivid red pants. Neutrals include shades like white, cream, beige, brown, grey, and black. Sometimes navy blue is also considered neutral because it matches well with so many other colors.
Neutral colors shirts will not boldly contrast the red shade of the pants, but they will easily match with pretty much any shade of red. This makes neutral shirts one of the easiest and most popular options for pairing with red bottoms.
White shirts always match red pants because white matches pretty much everything! Try pairing a white button-down shirt with red pants to create a fun business casual outfit. The red pants may look a bit bolder than what you would normally wear to the office, but the professional white shirt tones things down.
Another popular choice is to add a full white blouse, as the looser outline of the white blouse can contrast the stark red line of the pants.
One of the great things about wearing white with red pants is that you do not need to worry about the shade of red. White will look with scarlet pants, and it will also look good with burgundy pants.
Black shirts paired with red pants tend to create a darker, more sophisticated silhouette. This holds true in several different styles.
For example, pair a black t-shirt with dark red pants for guys or a black button-down with dark red pants and loafers. For ladies, a close-fitting silky black blouse looks great with bright or dark red pants, especially if paired with black heels.
One of the benefits of wearing a black top with red is that the intensity of the black will balance out the boldness of the red pants, giving you an outfit that looks interesting from top to bottom.
Cream shirts offer a more gentle contrast to red pants than a starkly white shirt because cream has a tiny bit of yellow mixed into its softer shade.
For guys, a cream-colored Henley with red chinos or khakis will look casual and fun. If you add a black blazer over a cream button-down and red pants, you will have a dressier business casual outfit. Or mix typical work attire like a cream-colored button-down with red pants and white sneakers for a dressed-down, modern style.
For ladies, any cream-colored blouse will likely pair well with red pants for a work outfit. For a more casual style, try adding unique footwear like brown ankle boots or eye-catching accessories like a chunky belt.
Cream pairs well with red pants, but remember that not every skin tone looks great with cream. If your skin has cool undertones, you will often look better in a crisp white shirt than in a softer cream shirt.
A grey shirt with red pants contrasts the red while still looking neutral and easy to blend with various outfits.
A darker grey shirt looks quite similar to a black shirt in terms of style. Pairing a charcoal grey blouse with maroon pants will give you a sober, more muted outfit.
A lighter grey top presents more of a contrast to red pants. A light grey button-down top with scarlet pants will look brighter, less formal, and more summery.
One of the special benefits of wearing a grey top with red pants is that grey goes so well with black, Try adding a black blazer or jacket over your grey shirt, for example, or adding black shoes or a black belt to your outfit.
A pale brownish neutral, like beige, can also pair well with many red pants. Beige looks like a creamy, very pale brown, not as dark as tan (though you can also successfully pair a tan-colored shirt with many shades of red pants!).
A beige sweater goes well with darker red pants in the fall in winter for both men and women. In warmer months, women can create a simple, elegant outfit with just a beige blouse and fitted red trousers.
Another handy way to pair a beige top with your red pants is to mix beige and white. You can do this with a striped top or by layering a beige cardigan or jacket over a white shirt. This adds a little more interest to balance out the brightness of your red pants.
Contrast or Complementary
If you like the idea of putting a little thought into the color scheme of your outfit, pull out a color wheel and pick a shirt contrasting to your red pants. To do this, find your shade of red on the color wheel, and then draw a straight line directly across to the opposite side of the wheel.
Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are technically called complementary colors. They almost always match well with each other. Red and green lie across from each other on the color wheel, so you would say that red and green are complementary colors.
Of course, the tricky factor here is that not every shade of red is complementary to every shade of green, so you need to match carefully!
A mint green shirt will have a complementary shade of orange-red, like coral. If you have red pants with a pinker or oranger shade, you can create a bright, refreshing outfit by adding a mint green top. This looks especially good in the springtime, when lighter colors often make a comeback.
For guys, try adding a mint-green button-down with rolled sleeves to red slacks and loafers. For ladies, pair a silky mint green top with red slacks and white or cream-colored pumps or heels.
Mint green will already form a pleasing contrast to the complementary shade of the red pants, but you can always add a little more interest by picking a top with a pattern like fine stripes, too.
A bolder green shade, such as emerald green or forest green, will complement bright shades of red pants like candy red, scarlet, or even rose red.
The danger of this complementary pairing is that the bright red and green can look a little Christmasy. To avoid this, add a neutral element, such as a beige cardigan or a black blazer, to your outfit.
One of the best ways to pair a top with red pants is to pick a shirt with a unique contrasting style to make the top of your outfit look as interesting as the bottom. You can do this by choosing a patterned shirt or picking a shirt in a unique cut that draws the eye away from the bold line of your red pants.
You can also do this by picking a top with a texture that contrasts the pants, such as satin, velvet, denim, or the waffle weave of a Henley.
One of the easiest ways to pick a shirt in a contrasting style to your red pants is to find a striped shirt. You can play it safe by choosing stripes in a neutral shade, like black and white or beige and white. This will match pretty much any shade of red pants.
Or you can create a more interesting contrast by picking a colorful striped shirt, like a mint green striped blouse, to pair with summery light red pants.
Remember that finer stripes often look good when worn on curvier areas, as they do not boldly outline the curves. Vertical stripes can make you look thinner because they draw the eye up and down the body instead of side to side.
Another way to make your shirt interesting enough to match your red pants is to pick a printed or patterned shirt. This can be as bold as a printed Hawaiian shirt or as simple as a pale blue shirt with small red diamonds printed in neat rows.
One super easy way to match a printed shirt to your red pants is to make sure that the detail in print is the same shade of red as your pants. For example, find a white blouse printed with tiny cherries, and make sure the cherries are the same shade of bright red as your pants.
Another easy way to match a printed shirt to red pants is to make sure the main color in the printed design matches the shade of red in your pants. For example, neighboring colors like yellow often go well with red, as you will see later.
Off-Shoulder or One Shoulder
Wearing a shirt with a unique cut, like an off-the-shoulder or one-shoulder style, can also help balance out the bold fashion choice of red pants because the interesting shape of the shirt will draw the eye to both halves of the outfit.
This styling trick works better for women’s fashion than men’s. Look for blouses in unique, interesting cuts. You can find tops with cutout shoulders, a peasant-blouse off-the-shoulder style, a shirt with a zipper up the front, or even a backless blouse.
Finally, another easy way to contrast the style of your top with your red pants is to wear a denim shirt. This casual look has trended in recent years, possibly because the pale blue-grey shade of denim matches so well with many shades of red.
But denim also offers a nice texture difference from most red slacks, making it a good way to balance your style from top to bottom. Of course, denim is a casual choice, making a denim button-down paired with red slacks better suited for a day on the town than for most office settings.
What Color Most Compliments Red?
The colors that look best with red include shades of purple and yellow. This is because of color wheel science. The colors that neighbor, or sit to either side, of red on the color wheel include shades of purple and yellow. Blue with purple tones also looks great with some shades of red.
Color science gets a bit confusing because of the terms used. Earlier in this article, you learned about complementary colors, which means the color across from red in the color wheel. Complimentary colors simply mean any color that looks good with red–often neighboring shades like purple and yellow.
One of the most popular color shirts to wear with red pants is a light or pale blue top. A light blue Oxford shirt will look professional when paired with red slacks. A light blue t-shirt will create an interesting color block when paired with red chinos.
Dark red pants like maroon and burgundy look good with a pale blue shirt, but so do orange-red shades of red pants like scarlet or cherry.
Light blue acts almost like a neutral shade, pairing well with many shades of red pants. But you can also make a bolder choice by pairing a navy blue top with certain shades of red.
In cold weather, the warm, rich tones of a gold shirt can pair well with many shades of red pants, especially the darker colors of red often worn in the winter.
Try a creamier champagne gold for a men’s button-down paired with red slacks or a richer, more autumnal brown-gold for a silky lady’s blouse paired with burgundy trousers.
Another super popular neighboring color to pair with red pants is a yellow top. You can go with many different shades of yellow but try to match the brightness of the yellow to the amount of yellow in the red pants. For example, orange-red pants can pair well with a boldly yellow top, but a yellow top with more orange in it can pair well with darker red pants.
The danger of wearing two primary colors at once in your outfit is that it can seem a bit gaudy. To avoid this, try adding a neutral to the mix. One easy way to do this is to add a jacket or sweater in a neutral color like grey, cream, or beige.
Pink shirts can also look great with red pants for a stylish, monochrome appearance. Not every shade of pink looks good with every shade of red, though. For example, a salmon pink shirt would clash with burgundy pants!
The rule here is to think about color saturation. A pink top will go with the red pants if it looks like a washed-out version of the same color of red.
A pastel pink top has much less color saturation than burgundy pants and can look quite good paired together. But for scarlet pants, you want a pink top with a little more orange in it to match the shade of red in the pants.
What Color Shirt Should You Wear with Dark Red Pants
Shirts in neutral colors look great with dark red pants, but bolder choices like olive green or gold can also look great with the warm tone of dark red pants.
You can’t go wrong with a light neutral such as a white or cream shirt with dark red pants, because the top offers a pleasing contrast to the darker color of the pants. If you want to add a touch of color, look to the purples neighboring red on the color wheel and find a lavender or pale purple shirt to provide a little complimentary color to your outfit.
Alternatively, you can look across the color wheel from dark red and find olive green or hunter green shades that contrast or complement dark red pants. This is the boldest fashion pairing with dark red pants, but it can make you look chic and put together.
In the winter, mixing darks by pairing a black top with dark red pants looks understated and stylish, too.
What Shoes Should You Wear With Red Pants?
The easiest color of shoes to match with any shade of red pants is beige. You can wear beige heels, beige loafers or dress shoes, or even beige sneakers without worrying about whether the undertones in the shoes match the shade of red in your pants.
But you can also pair many other shoe colors successfully with red pants.
- Navy blue shoes look good with bold red shades because red and blue are primary colors. Avoid wearing navy blue with orange-red shades of red pants, though.
- Light brown shoes or ankle boots often look great with most shades of red pants or trousers.
- Dark brown can look good, but it often goes better with darker red pants than with brighter red pants.
- For ladies, shoes in neighboring colors like purple and yellow can match well with red pants, especially if you add another accessory like a necklace in the same color.
Avoid wearing black shoes with red pants unless you wear a black top or blazer. Also, avoid reddish brown leather like burgundy dress shoes because it is too easy for that shade of red to clash with the red in your pants.
At first glance, it may seem challenging to match a shirt to red pants, but you can find fifteen colors of shirts to pair perfectly with your bright trousers. The easiest color to match with red pants is any shirt in a neutral shade like white, black, grey, or beige. Complementary colors that lie across from red on the color wheel make a bold but matched pairing with red pants, too.
One of the easiest ways to match colorful shirts to red pants is to pick a neighboring color on the color wheel, like yellow or purple. Patterns like stripes or prints can help your shirt balance out the bright color of your pants, as can picking a unique cut or style for your top.
Do you have a favorite pair of red pants? What is your go-to outfit to pair with the red pants? Leave a comment below to let us know!