Today we will be considering the best suits to get as the norm is to abuse the “black” suit. Choosing men’s suit colors can be HARD. It’s important to understand which color to wear, and why. The trouble is it is often done wrong. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there so we’ve put together this one-stop guide to help you make sure your suit works for you and for your environment.
The basic men’s suit colour is Black, Gray, and Blue. We’ve broken these down further into 8 colour variants, which we’ll discuss today.
The Eight colour variants we will be discussing are:
We will be discussing these colour variants under three subheadings which are the 3 most important factors you need to consider so that you can get the most out of your suits.
1. Formality and Colour
As you know, formality is an important factor in determining which colours to select. (You don’t see pink shirts or blue suede shoes on corporate professionals too often, do you?). Similar rules apply for suits.
When it comes to formality, the black suit reigns supreme. Black is a colour reserved for the most formal events, like black and white tie. The black suit is popular and readily available but it is too formal to be worn as a regular business suit and for this reason, it is not recommended for most environments.
Midnight Blue is a great alternative to black and comes in one rung down on the formality scale. If you attend a great many formal events, it’s a safe and classic alternative and is more versatile. Midnight Blue is generally reserved for formal wear, i.e. tuxedos, and isn’t ordinarily used on a regular business suit.
Next up, we have Charcoal Gray. Gray is one of the best men’s suits colours when you’re starting up. Every man should own a grey suit. It’s perfect for the business environment; it’s formal but not formal enough for black or white tie. It’s an ideal suit for when you’re starting off, especially if you’re younger: it signals wealth and wisdom.
Navy, along with Charcoal Gray, is a classic colour and a great choice for a suit. It can be worn in any business situation and with a multitude of colours. Some men with fairer complexions choose a navy blue suit over gray to avoid looking “washed out”. It’s also a good choice for older men who want to look more youthful.
Gray is known as a ‘chameleon colour’, meaning it works with almost any colour of the shirt and tie and it looks great in the office. Medium Gray is another great day-to-day suit. It is lighter than Charcoal Gray so is considered less formal, but can still be worn in a business environment.
Light Gray & Light Blue
2. Opportunity to Wear Men’s Suit Colors
In this section, we focus on the opportunity you’d have to wear each colour on a day-to-day basis. This depends largely on your personal circumstances, so adapt the information to suit you.
Black & Midnight Blue
Black and Midnight Blue colours are reserved almost exclusively for formal attire for men. If we compare them, Black is the more formal of the two as Midnight Blue stands out more. If you have to make a choice, go for Black. Midnight Blue could be used if you’re at a 2-night event and you want to add in an outfit change to avoid repetition.
Charcoal Gray, Medium Gray & Navy
All of these colours can be worn to a business event. They make great foundation suits. They can be dressed down easily by losing the tie or wearing more casual shoes (perhaps a Chelsea boot or a suede semi-brogue). Navy is less common as a business suit outside the USA but is still seen frequently.
Gray can make certain skin types look washed out, and the Navy can make you look younger. Remember, always dress for your age and skin type. Use what works best for you.
True Blue is a beautiful colour for a suit but can lead to challenges. Because it’s so memorable, people will notice you’re wearing it repeatedly so don’t make this your only suit. For that reason, this is not a good first suit. If you’re starting off, go with Navy or Charcoal Gray.
Light Blue & Light Gray
Both these colours can be fantastic choices but there are fewer opportunities to wear them. Both are memorable suits, especially light blue, and are perfect summer or hot weather suits. You’ll want to add these suits to your collection once you’ve got the staple suits in place, especially if you live in a hot climate.
When you are starting off, you should pick the most versatile suit: one you can wear in the majority of situations and environments. There is no point spending good money on a suit, only to find you can only wear it a couple of times a year.
Black & Midnight Blue
These are the least versatile colours in our range and should only be worn to high-level, formal events. Black is the more formal of the two and is too dark to wear with a lot of colors. Black and Midnight Blue can be overpowering in everyday situations so be cautious with these colours and use them sparingly!
Charcoal Gray is more versatile but it’s not a great choice if you’re looking for an interchangeable wardrobe. Due to its stark contrast, it is too formal for a lot of shirt colors and shoes. It won’t work with softer colours and patterns and leans towards Black and Midnight Blue in the formality scale.
Navy and Medium Gray
Navy and Medium Gray have excellent interchangeability. Navy is one of the most common colour choices as it’s so easy to pair with different colour ties and shirts. The blue suit/brown shoe combination is a classic. Both navy and medium gray are the perfect choices when starting up your wardrobe. Both work with many shoes and styles and can be dressed down for less formal events.
True Blue is a stunning colour but has poor interchangeability. The weakness is the blue – it is bright and so it is less versatile. Because it’s a such a vivid colour, it will bring out the brightness of other colours in your outfit. This means mixing it with other solid colours is a no-no unless you want to look like a cartoon character.
Light Coloured Men’s Suit
These suits have great interchangeability and sit at the bottom of the formality scale. They are suits which can be worn informally and they don’t demand attention. Of the two, light gray is more versatile than light blue – which is a more unique colour. They are ideal choices when you want the focus of attention to be your accessories, such as your tie or pocket square.
Remember to stick with navy blue or medium gray for your first suits and build on those, depending on your budget and personality. It’s all about finding a suit that you’ll wear often because it “suits” your lifestyle.