Best Men's Shirt Colors for a Brown Leather Jacket

Melissa B. Manuel, Ph.D.
The classic brown leather jacket.

A brown leather jacket, by its very nature, can be the epitome of casual cool. It can also be dressed up to look distinctive and professional. Deciding which colors to wear with your jacket can be somewhat of a chore considering the myriad of fashion choices that are available. However, your choice can be made with confidence by keeping a few key factors in mind.

Color Selection Considerations

When shopping for shirts to wear with your brown leather jacket, consider the jacket's shade and your skin tone. This is not an exact science, but it seems to yield consistently good results.

  • If the jacket is a lighter tint of brown with a tanned or russet-colored finish, choose lighter shirt colors. Shirts in more vibrant hues look stunning paired with darker leather jackets.
  • If you have a lighter skin tone, opt for medium to dark-colored shirts that provide optimal color contrast with your skin and highlight your skin tone rather than create a washed out appearance.
  • If you have an olive or darker skin tone, choose medium to light-colored shirts to highlight the warm undertones in your skin and create optimal contrast.

Great Shirt Colors for Brown

Some colors worth considering include:

  • Neutral hues like white, black, and grey: Traditionally, these colors have been staples worn in just about any garment combination, and they look fantastic against the background of a brown leather jacket. They are subtle enough to be casual, yet chic enough to be dressed up for a professional look.
  • Warm colors like cherry red, dark wine, burgundy and camel: Shirts in these colors will work handsomely against the backdrop of the jacket. The earth tones of the jacket blend effortlessly with these colors to create an amiable palette.
  • Cool colors like emerald or hunter green, sapphire blue, and violet purple: Past stereotypes regarding which colors can or cannot be worn by any particular gender have long been debunked. These cool colors will look great under brown leather, especially with darker shades of brown.
  • Pastels like light blue and coral: These pastel shirt colors would be great choices for a lighter shade of brown.
  • Prints like stripes and plaids: A shirt with thin, dark-colored vertical stripes would be the best choice to pair with brown leather because it would add nice contrast, but stay away from horizontal stripes. Pairing a plaid shirt with a brown leather jacket is also a good choice, and a darker-colored plaid shirt, i.e. red with green plaid stripes, would look even more attractive.

What About Brown?

While brown is not on the list of recommended colors, it is possible to pair a brown shirt with a brown leather jacket. However, you'll want to choose shades that are much lighter than the shade of your jacket. This will provide a stronger contrast and save you from looking washed out.

Shopping Tips

It won't be difficult to choose shirts to go with your jacket if you keep a few tips in mind.

  • Style: The traditional button-down shirt, a turtleneck or mock turtleneck, or even a polo-styled shirt are all options to be worn with a brown leather jacket. Remember that a button-down style typically represents a more clean-cut, professional aesthetic, while the polo style creates a more casual appearance. Either of the turtle neck options can be dressed up or down, depending on the style of the jacket.
  • Cost: Reasonable shirt prices can range from the low teens to the low hundreds, depending on the retail outlet and the quality of the shirt.
  • Quality: Quality is typically determined by fabric type, the quality and finishes of the seams, and the quality of the sundries, such as buttons, zippers, etc. Stay away from shirts with fabric defects, unraveling seams, loose buttons, and sticky zippers or snaps.
  • Fit: Shirts worn with this jacket should fit close to your true body size without being too tight or too loose. Shirts that are too tight underneath the jacket may give the impression that the jacket is being used for a cover-up. On the other hand, shirts that fit too loosely will distract focus from the distinct lines of the leather jacket.

Time to Hit the Store

The best way to figure out which colors work best with your skin tone and your jacket is to head to a store and start trying on different combinations. Don't hesitate to ask a clerk or another customer for his or her opinion, and don't be afraid to try colors that you haven't considered before. With so many attractive colors to choose from, you may want to explore some of those other color avenues before you reach for your staples. Armed with these tips and advice, you'll be able to choose crisp shades and rich hues that will look great on you!

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Best Men's Shirt Colors for a Brown Leather Jacket