How Many Suits Should A Man Own? — 5 Different Suit Styles You Need
The 5 Different Suit Styles Men Should Own
There comes a time in every man’s life when he must ponder the big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? How many suits should I own?
Okay, maybe questions one and two are best saved for sessions with your life coach, however, question three can be answered quite simply: as many as you want.
But instead of asking, “How many suits should I own?”, the better question to ask yourself is, “How many suits do I need?” To really understand what suits to buy, you must first address your lifestyle. There are many different suit styles available, but if you don’t wear suits often, say for an occasional job interview or wedding, you only need a starter suit (go with a navy suit like these) and a “fun” suit for special events when you want to mix things up (we suggest teal or burgundy).
How Many Suits Does an Office Warrior Need?
Deciding how many suits a man should own is much different if you’re the guy who dons a suit 9-5, Monday to Friday, 50-some weeks a year. For you office-warring men, building your suit wardrobe takes time. Sure, you may dream of surveying your vast collection of suits that would be the envy of Bond, Eggsy, and Ryan Gosling’s character from Crazy, Stupid, Love, but if you’re not yet in a position to splurge on getting all of the different types of suits in every color, it’s all about strategy. The smart man has a game plan when deciding on what suits to buy: start with the basics, build up from there.
To make this concept easy, let’s turn to sports.
The 5 Suits in Your Starting Lineup
To help visualize the question of, “How many suits should a man own?” we decided to lay it out for you like a team roster. Treat the following five different suit styles kind of like a starting lineup for a pro basketball team, these are the powerhouse suit that you want to have in your wardrobe before anything else.
Side note: remember that much like athletes can sustain injuries, suits can too; keep them healthy and in the roster by cleaning and caring for your suits properly. We hope you’re not tired of the sports analogies yet…
#1. A Navy Suit, #2 A Gray Suit
If you’ve already learned how to buy your first suit, this may seem familiar. The first two suits in your lineup should be a no brainer. This may sound like beating a dead horse, but a solid navy suit and a solid gray suit should always be your co-MVPs.
These two suit styles are valued so highly because navy suits and gray suits are hands down the most versatile, all-purpose suits that you’ll look to again and again. Their classic appeal makes them ideal for conservative workplaces and occasions, but with a little more adventurous styling and accessories they’re equally at home in a creative startup environment or on a weekend outing. These staple suits are also the easiest to separate, giving you more utility when the jackets are worn simply as a blazer with jeans or khakis.
To get the most out of this indispensable duo, don’t stray too far from tradition. These two perennial all-stars should feature classic notch lapels, two-buttons in the front and double vents. Make sure they’re also made with all-seasonal wool so you can wear them year round.
#3. A Lighter Shade of Blue/Gray
Of course, how many suits a man should own doesn’t stop at two. Your third suit type should be a lighter shade of either a solid blue or gray. Yes, blue or gray again — your pick. Going back to a sports metaphor and jumping over to college football, think of blue and gray as the Clemson Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tides of suit colors; these two teams win, win, win, and produce players of the highest caliber year after year.
Just the same, a majority of suits are based on blue or gray color variations because they simply look great and can be worn anywhere and anytime. Get used to wearing these two colors because they’re winners, and don’t worry, once you have these five suits in your roster, you can move onto learning about other suit colors to add to your wardrobe.
Although you’re still limited to the blue/gray color family, a lighter shade of either will stand out on its own as it will bring something different to the team. It’s your swingman suit capable of holding down the boardroom scrums and Friday happy hour huddles with equal aplomb.
#4. A Subtle Pattern
Now that you have a variety of blue and gray suits in the regular rotation you can finally add some flair to the team. Your fourth suit should be one that comes with a subtle pattern — keyword, subtle. Don’t go overboard, it’s not the time.
The small scale pattern on a light gray herringbone suit (the one above) or a blue birdseye suit can look like a solid from afar, but up close reveals an intricate, sophisticated pattern that brings a scoring touch of authority.
#5. A Bold Pattern
Answering how many suits a man should own wouldn’t be complete without a bold pattern. That’s right, the final suit in your starting five is going to be the most daring yet, filling the role of the team trash talker. There are different types of suit patterns to choose from that come with a bolder pattern. A navy pinstripe suit (pictured here), windowpane, or plaid, to name a few.
This is a chance to show off your fashion chops. A more boldly patterned suit is an advanced option that is not meant to be the first piece in a man’s collection, but it’s a goal to work towards as your wardrobe expands and your level of comfort with more unconventional clothing choices grows. You don’t need to go as hard as legendary Knicks point guard turned TV analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier, he’s got quite the suit rep, but do have a little fun with #5.
Suit Wardrobe Bench Players
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got your answer to how many suits should a man own, but that question was subjective in the first place.
Your suiting starting lineup is now signed to long-term contracts — nice work, now, you can start to add suits that can give the starters a breather and make some impact plays off the bench. There are many, many different types of suits out there and now you have free range to explore. Going for more variety in colors and patterns are what a smart GM would do from this point forward – and you should do just that.
To help show you the more unique variations, we picked a few suits that focus on specific needs that your bench suits should aim to meet. Think of them as your elite defenders or sharp shooting specialists.
A Winter Suit
A winter suit is a type of suit that is essential when the mercury drops and frosty winds come blowing in. Your winter suit should be made with a cold-weather fabric or weave that can help you brave the elements and keep you toasty while remaining professional.
Our go-to for the season is wool flannel, a hard-working material that’s thick and warm but won’t be mistaken for an overcoat. A wool flannel suit is comfortable, sophisticated, and, most importantly, excellent at regulating body temperature.
Since many cold weather suits are made with a darker navy and gray colors that match the season, you can sub this navy chalk stripe wool flannel suit in for the darker suits in your starting lineup when the weather calls for it. If you’re a man who appreciates a bit of flair, you can easily learn how to add color to any winter suit for more of a ‘ROYGBIV’ look.
A Summer Suit
When the summer sun is overhead and the heat is on, typical suits will have you sweating bullets. And while summer’s laid-back vibe lends itself to shorts and swim trunks more than suits, we’ve yet to come across an office dress code that is that casual.
You need a ringer — a summer suit that can handle the unique pressures of the summer cauldron. Your summer suit should be made from an open weave fresco wool, or better yet, a summer-ready fabric like cotton, or a blend of wool and linen — the latter being the secret weapon. Linen is an excellent fabric for summer suits as it is lightweight, breathable, and attractive in texture.
There’s more to the summer suit story than we’re letting on here, but you can quickly read more about what makes the perfect summer suit to be sure you’re warm-weather-ready.
A Performance Traveler Suit
This final spot on the bench is for the business professional that is always on the move. We’ve all seen that one guy who’s boarding the plane in his PJs and flip flops and can’t decide if we’re envious or feeling contempt. The appeal of comfort while flying is undeniable, but it’s no excuse for throwing out your style playbook, particularly if you’re traveling for business.
A dedicated travel suit, from Black Lapel we hope, wins the sixth man of the year award. Comfortable and handsome, this type of suit is able to offer the best of both worlds. The specially woven wool fabric is wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant, breathable, and slightly stretchy for optimal comfort and performance on the move. Comfortable, but also full of traveler-centric details, like a zipper-enclosed passport pocket, and a discretely hidden money pocket to ensure your journey is as smooth as your suit looks.
Choose gray or navy and your travel suit can double up as a staple suit for regular days at the office, too. Don’t sleep on this pick, or rather, sleep in it, while reclining in your seat 35,000 ft in the air and come out the other end looking like you just threw on a suit freshly pressed by your cleaners. Like we said, sixth man of the year.
Here Is Your Final Suit Wardrobe Roster
Your Starting Lineup:
So, how does your starting suit lineup match against our suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below! Or, if you need more help learning how many suits a man should own, we can answer any burning questions you have about the different suit styles out there in the world!
Your Next Move:
Like What You See? There's More.
We'll send you style advice and intel for the modern man.