Choosing the Color of Your First Suit

Are blue suits more versatile than black suits? What about charcoal suits? Does color even matter? Recently we got a question from one of you regarding what color to get a first suit:

“I’m going to be buying my first suit, but don’t know what color I should get for the most use. I can’t decide between navy or a charcoal grey. I’m leaning toward charcoal because I love to wear colorful shirts and the charcoal seems to be more flexible. On the other hand, a navy jacket would pair well with chinos and a colorful shirt. I can’t afford two suits, yet, so I want to make the first one count.”

Here are a couple of tips to think about before deciding on the color of your first suit!

To ensure that you will get the most use out of your suit, consider where you will be wearing it most. If you’ll be wearing your suit mostly at work, there are a couple of considerations to take into account. A black suit is always formal. Moreover, it is near impossible to dress down a black suit. Unless your work calls for black tie, a blue, grey/charcoal, or brown suit will be more versatile. Let’s break it down:

Every color suit is a blank canvas, however, each color lends itself to certain color combinations, seasons, and dress codes.

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(from: dapperQ)

Black suit: Always formal; Looks best with black accessories.

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(from: voxsartoria.com)

Blue suit (and by blue I mean navy blue): Can wear for all seasons; goes with almost all color shirts/ties/all that jazz. Great for separates —wear blazer one day, trousers another.

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(from: www.gq.com)

Brown/tan suit: Primarily a fall and winter suit; looks best with neutral accessories (shirts, ties, pocket squares); Can be dressed casual or formal.

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(source unknown)

Grey/charcoal suits: Second in versatility to a blue suit; great for all seasons. Suit separates not as versatile (gray pants and blazer don’t go with as many color combinations as blue separates); can be dressed casual or formal.

Outside profession, there are no logistical concerns that you should worry about in regards to color. As mentioned above, if you’re not going to wear your suit at black tie functions, the color of your suit is up to your personal style. If I had to choose, I would get the navy suit. As this inqwearer said, a navy blazer goes with just about anything. It can be dressed up or down. I can’t think of a color that looks bad with blue, so shirts shouldn’t be a problem. Also, navy blue suits look great with both black and brown shoes (charcoal not so much). 

For suit shopping, Qwear recommends Topman, Men’s Wearhouse, Saint Harridan, Fourteen, Indochino, Tomboy Tailors (for those in Bay area), and J.Crew

I leave you with one amazing picture of something you can do with a navy suit jacket:

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(source unknown)

Cover image: LK Weiss in a suit by Saint Harridan