Need to buy a suit? Not sure on the colour? Don’t panic, The Idle Man is here to help with everything you need to know on suit colours and providing you with all of the information necessary to pick out your perfect suit.
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Suits don’t just exist for formal dances and Oscar’s award ceremonies anymore, they have become a fashion staple and it’s time to get your wardrobe in order! Most men have at least one suit, you know the one I’m talking about – that black or grey number you have stashed in the wardrobe ‘just in case’ you need to dress up for an event that you were probably unprepared for. That poor, dusty, and probably badly fitted suit just won’t cut it (pun intended).
Choosing the right suit can be challenging, often because quality costs money, and, whilst every guy needs a good suit, funds are often limited. I am aware that money cannot replace firewood and should not be burnt or wasted on the wrong choices. Nevertheless, you need more than one good suit.
What Colour Suits Should I Own?
So, you've got to the point of buying your suit and you're wondering which colour to buy? In an ideal world a man should own a few different suits (sorry to break the bank). However on a very basic level every man should own a classic suit as they are fit most occasions.
Classic Suits Colours
Firstly, maximise your efforts by buying a suit you’ll wear often. This is where the classic suit or conservative suit comes in to it’s own. Different styles and colours have different versatilities. This makes the classic suit your absolute must-have, being equally as smart as it is adaptable.
The Classic Suit is the most basic suit, the dark and smart of the suit-wearing world – a well-tailored charcoal, black, or navy number to wear for any formal event is an absolute necessity for the modern man.
All suit makers will create their basic suits in black, charcoal grey and navy. These colours are particularly versatile and can be used for most occasions. Charcoal grey may add an air of maturity or age, whilst navy might could the opposite effect, so make sure that you have considered the look you are going for and the impression you want to make.
The classic suit will almost always make it seem like you’ve made perhaps a little more effort on your appearance than is the reality. Investing in this bad boy will please any date, event organiser or manager, so it really is worth it!
Classic Black Suit
The classic suit looks great with almost any shirt colours, but choosing an understated crisp white allows more freedom when choosing accessories, including your belt and tie. This makes the perfect effort-less combination.
However, charcoal grey and black are some of the easiest colours to match with, so if you want to stray away from that white shirt or plain tie, you are able to do so with less risk than with other colours. Light blues and pastel pinks are other classic formal shirts to choose, and go best with a plain black suit.
The classic suit is a staple outfit, it’s perfect for work and meetings as well as more formal events such as weddings.
Spring Suit Colours
So spring has finally arrived, the sun is coming out on rare occasion and suddenly that dark suit seems less wearable, too formal for the lighter and brighter days ahead. This is where light grey comes in. Distinctly lighter in colour and perhaps a little more casual, light grey is the perfect suit to wear to add a little more colour to your wardrobe without going OTT and investing in those bright red chinos.
Light grey is also a little more durable, giving you the freedom to patterned shirts such as stripes or checks mean your outfit will stand out, and will also add a bit of fun and carefree style to your spring wardrobe. Lined up against a lighter suit, the patterns will also be more visible.
Spring Suit Colour Guide
So, where to begin with spring dress shirt colours, I hear you ask? And what do I do about a tie?
Striped shirts are a classic, and work well with a plain or striped tie. If you choose to be daring and wear stripes-on-stripes, make sure that the pattern is not the same, for instance the stripes aren’t the same width apart on your tie as they are on your shirt! If your shirt has thin stripes (pinstripe), those a thicker striped tie. If you’re feeling more daring, you could even opt for subtle prints like small polka dots for this look.
If you choose a checkered shirt, I recommend that you got for a tie with a bold colour and/or pattern to ensure that it will stand out against your shirt. The more subtle the print of the shirt, the more vivid the tie can be. With this look, the tie becomes the main event. To make sure you pull it off properly, make sure that the tie is bolder and darker than your shirt, otherwise it can look drowned-out like a useless accessory.
Spring Colours for Men
- Dusk Blue
- Glacier Grey
- Classic Blue
- Toasted Almond
Summer Suit Colours
Summer colours for men are much brighter and a little more daring. It’s a good idea to invest in a warm-weather suit or two as the fabrics used are much lighter, which helps to avoid those dark circle under your armpits, which are less devil-may-care formalwear and more why-is-it-so-hot-in-here unpreparedness. There is also the option of getting a short suit combination, however this depends on the occasion you are going to.
Summer Suit Colour Guide
Summer calls equally for creams and beiges as it does for bright colours. Outfits are made from linen and more natural fibers, and neutral toned suits allow for bold colour choices of tie or shirt.Solid blues, patterns and stripes all suit these lighter-toned suits, as does gold or red.
If you decide to wear a tie, I recommend a plain colour to match a patterned shirt, for example a solid blue tie in a darker tone to blue checks, or a patterns tie to suit a plainer shirt. Although, perhaps the best part of a summer suit is that you aren’t always expected to be wearing a tie, especially as events in summer are often less formal, for instance family barbecues or golf, or on a yacht (I would still wear a tie to work though, it’s probably expected of you considering your otherwise flawless taste outfits throughout the year).
Summer Colours for Men
- Grass Turf
- Orange Rind
- Mauve Mist
- Deep Ocean
Autumn Suit Colours
Autumn suit colours are all about those forest greens, browns and tweeds. The colours and materials are warm and welcoming, meaning you’re comfy enough so sit by an open fireplace in wellingtons with a whisky on the rocks in one hand, a cigar in the other, and a deer-head nailed to the wall, should such a scene it take your fancy.
Autumn Suit Colour Guide
The best part of autumn is that you can break out that three-piece you’ve been dying to try out. Tweeds also look awesome with an added flat cap, which keeps your hair out of the wind and rain whilst also keeping your look on-point!
Fall Suit Colours:
- Dark purple, plum
- Tweed, green
- Brown, cream
- Burgundy, Red
Winter Suit Colours
Mens winter suits, much like autumn, should be made of heavier, warmer fabrics such as wool, tweed, flannel, or herringbone. Tweed and Herringbone are particularly durable sue to the tight weave of their fabrics, meaning they will last against the unpredictable elements of the UK. Whilst wool suits are more common and easier to get hold of at varying price ranges, suits with subtle designs can add depth to a slighter form, whilst straight lines and block colours are sometimes more slimming.
I’m not going to bore you with a longer spiel about the classic suit. Whilst winter requires darker tones, you don’t have to settle on black or grey. If anything, a bold, statement colour in the winter will help you stand out of the crowd and be noticed.
Winter Suit Colour Guide
If you aren’t feeling daring enough winter colours for clothes include dark reds and plums, you can use accessories to create a more stylised look to your classic suit, complimenting it with dark grey-black hues or contrasting with bold, solid colours. Scarves are a great way to do this whilst also serving a practical purpose. If scarves aren’t your style though, use your tie to up your trend, look for stronger patterns such as florals and checks, or try different textures. Knitted ties are incredibly versatile and add to your winter-esque look without being too overbearing.
Winter Dress Shirt Colours
Winter dress shirt colours are another way to make your conservative suit stand out in winter. As above, choose a plainer, ligther coloured shirt if you plan on wearing a coloured suit or patterned tie, but a bold colour or pattern doesn’t go amiss underneath a conventional suit. Still, wearing a bold, block-coloured jumper or a bright shirt pattern under your plain suit is sure to make you get noticed without having to spend hours on coordinating a tie with your new plum suit.
Winter Colours for Men
- Smoke Green
- Saddle Brown
- Iron Oxide
Patterned Suits and Mixing it up
Mixing up suits is becoming a fast trend. Fashion blogger Sergio Ines, editor of What my Boyfriend Wore, says:
Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and even textures, the trick is to make sure the scale creates enough differentiation so that they work together and stand apart
- Sergio Ines, Editor, What My Boyfriend Wore
When mixing up your outfit, try to remember:
- Choose subtle, complementary colours
- Ensure you are wearing a simple, plain shirt
- An simple way to start is by mixing different shades of the same colour
- Don’t forget to consider your shoes and belt
When wearing a suit, there are various extras to consider:
If you’re really struggling, remember you can always use The Idle Man’s personal stylist service!
So we know all about the different season and the colours available for you, now you need to know the basics of wearing a suit:
- You must know how to tie a tie, this is 1-0-1 suit wearing knowledge especially if you work in a business occupation
- Suits need to fit perfectly, this is the only rule that you really NEED to follow
- You've got to learn how to iron especially when it comes to dress shirts
- Know when you need to wear cufflinks, we love an extra bit of class but it's not always needed
How A Suit Should Fit:
Your Quick Guide to Coloured Suits
- Remember when first purchasing a suit lean towards the classic colours
- If your wallet stretches far enough you can start to consider different colours - try not to buy too "in season" colours as a suit should last longer than a season
- Always think accessories, this is the best way to tie your outfit together
- Remember there are rules to your suit and shoes that need to be followed
- Lastly, find a good dry cleaners and never leave them. This the best way to keep your suit as fresh as you first brought it
On That Note…
Formal wear doesn’t always have to be boring and uncomfortable, there are various different materials and styles so don't be afraid to go into store and try them out to find out which suit suits you best.
Now you have all the information you need to find your perfect suit, know what colours to choose and how to wear your perfect outfit – time to go shopping!