Tall Tales

Styling select dropdowns with svg arrows

September 03, 2019

The CSS is below. Here’s your starting point.

select {
        display: inline-block;
        font-size: 15px;
        font-weight: 700;
        height: auto;
        color: #444;
        line-height: 1.1;
        padding: .6em 1.4em .5em .8em;
        box-sizing: border-box;
        margin: 0;
        border: 1px solid #aaa;
        box-shadow: 0 1px 0 1px rgba(0,0,0,.04);
        border-radius: .5em;
        -moz-appearance: none;
        -webkit-appearance: none;
        appearance: none;
        background-color: transparent;
        background-image: url('data:image/svg+xml;charset=US-ASCII,%3Csvg%20xmlns%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F2000%2Fsvg%22%20width%3D%22292.4%22%20height%3D%22292.4%22%3E%3Cpath%20fill%3D%22%235E72C7%22%20d%3D%22M287%2069.4a17.6%2017.6%200%200%200-13-5.4H18.4c-5%200-9.3%201.8-12.9%205.4A17.6%2017.6%200%200%200%200%2082.2c0%205%201.8%209.3%205.4%2012.9l128%20127.9c3.6%203.6%207.8%205.4%2012.8%205.4s9.2-1.8%2012.8-5.4L287%2095c3.5-3.5%205.4-7.8%205.4-12.8%200-5-1.9-9.2-5.5-12.8z%22%2F%3E%3C%2Fsvg%3E'),
          linear-gradient(to bottom, #ffffff 0%,#e5e5e5 100%);
        background-repeat: no-repeat, repeat;
        background-position: right .7em top 50%, 0 0;
        background-size: .65em auto, 100%;

        &::-ms-expand {
            display: none;

        &:hover {
            border-color: #888;
        &:focus {
            border-color: #aaa;
            box-shadow: 0 0 1px 3px rgba(59, 153, 252, .7);
            box-shadow: 0 0 0 3px -moz-mac-focusring;
            color: #222; 
            outline: none;
        &:focus::-ms-value {
            background: transparent;
            color: #222;

        option {


Changing the arrow color was odd, mainly because you have to wade through the ASCII gibberish in the background-image above. The key is to look for the “5E72C7” in that long ASCII URL. Simply replace those six characters with the hex code you want instead.

Here’s the final result:

Dropdown with custom SVG arrow

Bill Pliske

Written by Bill Pliske, who lives and works in the Arizona desert trying his best to stay cool.