Check out our complete guide on black and charcoal suits; with tips and tricks on everything from the different shades to consider, to how to mix and match with your shirts.Read more Men's Style Guide features.
There is never a bad time to wear a charcoal or black suit. Even when we hit our two weeks of heatwave weather per year, you'll still look amazing even if it does get hot under the collar. However, it can be easy to ruin all of those good intentions for a classy look with some ill-advised combinations. Fear not, though, as we're here to help you get that style on point. It can be the problem with choice sometimes. Too much of it often leads to us making a poor decision than when just faced with a couple of variables. Unless you're rocking suits every day (and if you are, ensure you have a good selection on rotation) then it is likely you'll only don a suit for those special occasions. If it only arises every once in a while, that's even more reason to nail it. Dark suits are typically used for more formal affairs, including interviews, business meetings and unfortunately sombre events such as funerals. If you aren't a fan of navy blue, or you're after another string to the sartorial bow, look no further.
Charcoal Colour Suits
There's so many options when it comes to charcoal suiting - this is what makes it so exciting to wear out a charcoal suit, as there are a plethora of ways to flaunt your style without looking too 'out there'. You can choose minor deviations to the suit fittings to give you a more unique look as well. Consider adding more or less length to the tails to give it a different hold, and if that still isn't sufficient then opt for a double-breasted jacket, peak out the lapels... there are many dimensions to the suit game! There are definitely various stages of charcoal along the colour chart, since charcoal offers that slightly darker colour. You wouldn't necessarily attain this cordial appearance from a lighter grey suit. This helps to increase the level of formality whilst still not looking like it's too free-spirited.
Charcoal Grey Suit
For one thing, charcoal grey suits ought be omnipresent in every man's wardrobe simply because of their neutrality. Grey is a colour that is difficult to clash against any other, therefore making it a perfect suit to throw on alongside some brighter shirt and tie options. Let's commence at the slightly lighter end of the dark suit array. The preferred selection of many a businessman since they are lighter than the very formal black suit, there are also many different options to bring a charcoal suit to life and make it your own.
Charcoal Suit Blue Shirt
Pastel shirts are commonly considered to be the one to go along with a charcoal colour suit and perpetuate a fresh look. Colours such as light blue and light pink fit perfectly into this category, as they appear understated in the best way, such as a blue tie with a black suit. It just draws a minor extent of attention but such choices can blend in with the suit tone perfectly. Should you already have an apothecary of good looking shirts, but you feel like you're missing out on an elevated suit game, charcoal could be your answer.
Dark Grey Suit
So what is the difference between dark and charcoal grey? Definitive answers will be left to Dulux colour coders, but charcoal is generally a darker tone somewhere between grey and black, a noticeable shade less than absolute black. Dark grey therefore is somewhere along this scale as well. If you can pinpoint the disparity you may well lean towards a specific shade, but both of these colours lend themselves well to the advice above.
If you feel like all the conversation about charcoal suits has been continuing on for ages in terms of the 'style rules' set out, it pales in comparison to our relationship with the humble black suit. I say humble in reference to the beginnings of a suit from cotton bud to a Prince Charming essential, but a black suit can heighten an appearance unparalleled to others.
How to Wear a Black Suit
What is the meaning of life? How long is a piece of string? Many hypothetical and seemingly unanswerable questions have rumbled on since earlier stages of civilisation and differing opinions over how to wear the black suit will always be contested. Some people will be insistent that it be worn a certain way and only one way. Fear not, it isn't an impossible task to fix up your black suit attire. Some people look more distinguished in a black suit than others, and the first thing is to make sure it fits right. How well a suit hangs depends on a number of factors, including quality of suit (of course) and what size you are. For the larger sized men amongst us, sometimes it is better to be honest and take a size up to stop everything from bulging in the wrong place, and if the suit is too tight, it will turn when you turn.
All Black Suits
Assuming you've managed to get that bit nailed down, and you've sought out a style of fit you're happy with, it's time to look at all of the different options to wear it out with. With opportunities to attend all sorts of affairs and events with a serious feel in a black suit, possessing an enlarged spectrum of styles you can rock it with is paramount. And, if you've ever wondered what suit to wear to a wedding or what colour suit to wear to a wedding then I'd pay attention in this part. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tr9axmJ3oI
Black Suit Combinations
We'll begin our journey through the combinations to talk through the most common options people go for when looking for something to go with a black suit. Remember, black suits are the most formal suit you can go for, so whatever you choose to go with it has to match those intentions. If you are to be attending a funeral, a bright green shirt may not be your best bet.
Black Suit and Tie
Right then, let us talk about the tie and start pairing some black suit combinations. Although it only appears to be a thin strip of material, it is nothing inconsequential when chosen correctly. With the right colour and material, ties can thus elevate a suited and booted look from classy to model status. A tie is a way to add a bit of colour or pattern if you are confident it will compliment the look, but be careful not to go too avant-garde. Ridiculous ties may work for dress-down Fridays and that photo shoot you just don't want to be a part of (and are trying hard not to be in), but for formal occasions they just won't be competing in the same race.
Black Suit Red Tie
Returning to the black and red mix. It's still fashionable just a few paragraphs later, don't worry. Red ties can implement just that little hint of excitement without coming on too strong. You don't want to detract from how amazing the rest of your ensemble is with something so insanely boisterous that you miss the rest, but a splash of red on a tie can do wonders to add that little bit of flair into the black suit attire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FRt6GHvrpY
What Colour Shirt with Black Suit?
As we have already alluded to, lime green and fluorescent orange aren't likely candidates to make your crisp black suit sing like a star. Unless your face is so perfect that nobody will notice what shirt you're wearing, it's probably best to not stretch the limits of people's visual acceptance too far. That doesn't mean you can't jazz it up a bit with some flair, but we'll get to that a bit later. In case you're wondering what shoes to go with your new suit, see our guide to formal shoes here.
Black Suit White Shirt
Ah yes, the timeless classic. The black suit and white shirt phenomenon has existed since before we had photographs that only developed in black and white. Whilst Queen Victoria was mourning the loss of her Prince Albert a couple of centuries ago, black became the new vogue as everyone dressed with a bit more sadness. We have all come a long way since then, but the formality of the black suit and a white shirt is still an enduring feature. Finish the job off with a black tie, unless it turns out to be super serious but not the saddest thing to happen, in which case you might be able to drop in some mild pinstripes on the tie to detract slightly from the overall serious tone you are conveying.
Black Suit Blue Shirt
Here we are encroaching into the realms of breaking away from the classic black and white feel. Alongside a good quality shirt and well-woven stitching, you can find some appropriate colours to blend in with a black suit and still look cool as anything. A quick look of celebrity hot takes and there are plenty of this blue shirt theme to be found, adding an informal, much less serious undertone to the overall striking semblance of a contemporary black suit.
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