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How To Wear An All Black Suit The Right Way

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How to Wear an All Black Suit

For most guys a black suit feels like a safe choice. After all, a black on black suit is easy to match with just about anything in your closet. It’s appropriate for serious occasions and works for the office. In short, it’s a go-to suit.

So why do so many men look like scrubs when they go to their all black suits? You can’t screw up black, can you? Yes. Yes you can. So what’s the deal? What are the secrets to black suit style? We’ll show you what to do and what not to do to pull off the black suit with panache. Read on…

Rule #1: Nail The Fit


Pictured here: All Black Suit.

You probably know we’re pretty obsessive about fit. When it comes to all black suits that obsession goes into overdrive. Why? Because there’s no place to hide a bad fit in a black suit. Other suits may dazzle with patterns or thrill with colors but your black suit better fit you flawlessly or your whole look will be off.

Rule #2: Keep Accessories Simple

black suit accessories
Pictured here: White Broadcloth Dress Shirt, Solid White Pocket Square and Black Tie.

There’s a reason priests, the Amish and others who are devoted to dressing modestly wear black. Black requires restraint. Guys who look great in black suits keep everything else fairly subdued. They don’t adorn themselves in flashy red ties or blinged-out cufflinks. They keep all of their accessories sharp but subtle. If you want to nail this look, channel your inner minimalist and keep it simple, smartypants.

Rule #3: Shine Your Shoes

all black suit

When you wear a black suit, wear black shoes. Period. End of story. While we are big proponents of owning brown shoes (preferably in an array of shades and styles) there is one unique edge that black shoes have over their brown counterparts: it’s a breeze to get a good shine on them. It’s a shame most guys don’t bother to find this out. If they did, they’d see that even a quick once over of your black shoes can do wonders for your look. When you’ve got on a black suit, a well shined shoe is essential.

Rule #4: Don’t Go Overboard With The Black

black on black suit

A black suit is one thing. A black shirt and tie to go with it, under a black coat with a black hat and some black sunglasses and you start to look like you’re in the state of mourning. Temper your black suit with a gray coat, a patterned or, gasp, a colored scarf.

Do As Stylish Men Do

Follow these five steps and take your all black suit game to the next level. Got a question about how to suit up in black? Drop us a comment below.

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357 thoughts on “How To Wear An All Black Suit The Right Way”

  1. Hi Black Lapel,

    I have my annual company awards dinner coming up and the invite as usual states black tie..How ever from past experience very few arrive in a tuxedo, so i will be wearing a black 3 piece suit this year. Would a burgundy shirt and black tie be acceptable or is this to dark? I want to look sharp and I know white shirt is the better option but I have wore a white shirt the last two years and just fell into a crowd of another 100 other white shirts and black ties. I also feel like one of the doorman at the event as I am quite a big guy. What options do I have? or should i just accessorize better? I am pale skin, short dark hair and have a red beard.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks for reaching out!

      You have a great question here, finding a way to stand out and breaking the tradition can work but has its caveats. We’ll say this, while it can be boring to wear a white shirt, it is so popular because of the contrast it creates with your dark look. So, we will encourage you to keep the shirt with a white base, however, you can add burgundy with a stripe. So, a white shirt with burgundy stripes will help you stand out while allowing you to master the black tie look and not look too dark.

      Hope this helps you!

  2. Hi Black Lapel,

    I am the best man to a wedding whom the groom is wearing an all black suit, white shirt, black tie with a black waistcoat – classic. The fathers and brothers in law are wearing a black suit, white shirt and Silk emerald tie and emerald pocket square.

    I have been given more freedom to what i can wear but has to be a black suit- to be honest the emerald tie does not thrill me too much. however i do need some help. how can i wear the black suit, white shirt, possibly black tie but still incorporate some emerald into the look? emerald/ white lined Pocket square maybe? I will probably also use a simply silver tie bar, silver cuff links and silver watch with black oxford shoes.

    Or should i stick to the emerald tie/ pocket square as the family?

    Your input would be great

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Shane!

      Weddings – like families – are complicated. But it’s important to remember whose wedding it is – not yours. Now, this isn’t meant to be mean, but only to put it into some perspective. Sure, you might not love an emerald tie, but, when it’s all said and done, it’s his wedding, and it sounds like the emerald might be the go-to look! We advise that you talk to the groom and hear his thoughts. It’s his special day, and you’re the best man, so work together to create a bomb look that you’ll both like! Maybe, you could even talk to the family and hear what they have to say about the choices. If you want to wear a black tie, and you’ve talked it over with the groom, the emerald pocket square definitely works.

  3. Hello! I already own a black suit and I have an interview coming up with a psychiatrist for a job in the corrections field. I can not afford another suit at this time what color shirt and tie would you suggest? Thank you

  4. Felipe Floriano says:

    Congratulations on the article. I completely agree with all that has been said.
    I have a question regarding rule number 2: Nail the fit. Can you help me?
    How can I explain to my tailor what he needs to adjust on the shoulder, silhouette and bar?
    Thank you!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Felipe!

      Thanks for the high praise, knowing how to wear a suit is pretty important (we think)! As far as the relationship between you and your Tailor, many will ask you for pictures of things like your posture, shoulder positioning etc. This will help them get a better understanding of not only how you stand, but how your silhouette naturally looks. Many tailors, including our own concierge team will be very responsive to suggestions, because nailing your fit is the tailors goal! If you have any questions for our personal concierge team, reach out to them here!

  5. First off, I know I will need a new suit soon- grey and eventually navy. For now, I cannot afford to buy a new suit. All I have is a black suit that fits well. I am part of an organization whose main colors are purple and gold. Since I am the treasurer, I am told I need to wear purple for major events.
    Is there any combination I can make work with a black suit? I have seen some guys wear like a light purple/lilac color shirt with a black suit, but I am unsure what shade is really the best. Or whether I should stay with the white shirt and get a purple tie. Or can I get both a light-colored lilac shirt with a darker purple tie to accent? I am not much for the weird designs, I like more of the muted look, but I don’t want to look geriatric, either.
    Or am I just too stupid to realize I cannot make any shade of purple go with a black suit?
    Please help??? I am completely fashion-ignorant, and trying to avoid getting a new suit just yet, until I can actually afford one- I am still a college student, and just starting to now dress my age instead of always wearing jeans/t-shirts.
    Thanks in advance for any advice before I blow money on something that is going to look awful.
    Pics of any combos that go together would really help me, too, since I had to look up what Paisley meant (as well as other named designs).

    1. Black Lapel says:

      No worries John, we’re here to help. We understand money is tight for a college kid, but think of a new suit as an investment. Also, chances are you’re going to need a gray or navy suit to interview for jobs after college and even when you start out at your first job. If you’re close to graduation, maybe you can hit up a relative for a suit as an early graduation gift. We’d recommend a charcoal gray suit for now since gray and purple is a classic menswear combination. If you really can’t make that work, you’ll have to stick with your black suit (which we’re glad to hear fits well). It’s definitely not a good idea to wear a saturated purple-on-purple shirt and tie combination with a black suit. We’d recommend a fitted white dress shirt and purple tie like this knit one: https://blacklapel.com/shop/ties/purple-silk-knit-tie/. Generally, you want to stay away from adding bold colors to a black suit outfit, but we understand this is a work obligation here. Hit us up with any more questions you have.

  6. Everitt Overton says:

    I have a few questions about ties and black suits.
    1. What type of look should a black tie have? ex. shiny, fancy black stitching, any type of knots like half Windsor, four in one hand, single Windsor.
    2. Can you pull of a red tie? I have done it before but I am thinking of also having a pocket square to compliment it, should that be fine?
    3.What shirts should be used? I only really use light blue and white shirts but mine have buttons at the ends of the tips of the collar. Is that acceptable?
    4. I was thinking of getting a watch with a black leather strap to compliment the suit. I don’t want to go overboard on accessories.
    5. Should there be a hat involved (black regular Fedora not a crinkled one) if the occasion is outside.

    Thank you

    1. Appreciate the questions, Everitt. Here are our best answers for you:

      1. The tie knot is up to you. Think of it as a chance to express your personal style, but check out this guide on which knots work best on certain frames. In terms of the style of the tie, it’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from shiny ties in general. Stitching is OK, and we’re a big fan of the knit tie.

      2. Red ties are fine, just not with a black suit. It’s one of the no-gos outlined above. A more subdued red tie, like this Maroon Knit Tie, is a much better choice. True red ties are a better match for dark blue suits.

      3. There’s a strong argument to be made that a man only needs white and blue dress shirts. The buttons on your shirt are called a “button-down collar”. The button-down collar was made popular by Ivy Leaguers and polo players, so it’s a preppy choice but totally acceptable.

      4. The watch sounds simple, but before buying a watch, think about the other leather you own. As in, are your belts and shoes mostly brown or black leather? Do you carry a leather bag? We recommend matching all the leathers in one outfit, so answer those questions first and then purchase the watch.

      5. Hats are a must in the dead of winter. Fedoras are old school, but if that’s your look, then all the power to you. However, we recommend the more versatile newsboy cap. These hats straddle the line between formal and casual, allowing you to wear them with all but the most formal of outfits. We recommend getting any hat in neutral gray or brown to get the most use out of it.

      1. Everitt Overton says:

        Thank you!

  7. Great article, thanks so much! I want to wear a 3 piece black suit (black vest as well) and black shoes to a company holiday party. What shirt and tie combo can I do besides the white shirt and black tie. I feel that though it’s a simple yet elegant look, I would prefer to have some color in the mix to at least be more festive looking without over doing it. I have very dark brown hair with a skin tone of a fading tan (if that makes sense).

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey Max, thanks for the details. We recommend you stick with a white dress shirt, but we have a few ideas for how you can be more festive than a boring black tie. Check out this Forest Green Knit Tie, or this Maroon Tie. Both are dark, muted colors that won’t contrast against your black suit and white shirt too much.

  8. Hello, I am attending a wedding and I am undecided between a black or dark/charcoal gray suit. I was thinking of wearing a black and white thick diagonal striped tie to add just a little bit flair and not look too formal, it is also an inside nod to some friends and family regarding a sports team. Would you suggest this look at all with either suit? Or should I just go gray and punch up the suit with a little bit of color? Oh yeah, I am not in the wedding party but I will be doing a reading during the service so I don’t want to look clownish but I also don’t want to look like I am in the wedding party. Thanks!

    1. The tie will definitely work with either the black or charcoal gray suit. We almost always recommend charcoal gray over black because it’s more versatile and more forgiving to guys with different skin tones and hair colors.

      That last part of the sentence about hair colors and skin tones is the most important thing. A black suit with a black and white tie is the highest intensity of contrast and only works for guys who have high contrast from the neck up. In other words, if your hair color and skin tone are similar, you’ll wash out and people will only notice your tie. If you’ve got dark hair and lighter skin, you’ve got enough contrast to keep the attention on your face, not your tie.

      To see this in action, take a look at this photo of Ocean’s Eleven stars, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Pitt is a low contrast guy and wears a low contrast outfit. Clooney, with his salt and pepper hair and olive toned skin, is a high contrast guy and his outfit features a much stronger contrast between his shirt and jacket that would overpower Pitt but works for Clooney.

      So our recommendation is not to take any recommendation but, instead, to take a good look in the mirror and make the call. We call this dressing from the inside out and we’ve devoted a whole article to helping guys understand how to do it. Master this technique and dressing well becomes second nature.

      1. Thanks for the information and article, that was very informative and have never really though about hair and skin color when it came to choosing suits. I have shoulder length, extremely dark brown hair, that looks almost black (it will be pulled back) and more of an olive color skin range so I might be able to pull off the look, at least you give me some hope. I will just do as you say and try the different looks on to see what I like. Any advice on pocket squares? Yay, nay? If I wear that tie, should I just go white?

        1. Glad we could be helpful.

          As for the pockets square: we think wearing a pocket square is always preferable to not wearing one. An empty breast pocket on a jacket just looks so sad and lonely. Adding a pocket square finishes off your look with class and style.

          What kind of pocket square you wear depends on your personal style. A white pocket square will work with the outfit you described earlier and is a safe choice for nearly any outfit. With pocket squares, it’s all about how you wear them. Check out the five essential pocket square folds to see your options.

  9. An all-black outfit can look sharp and slick, especially for the party season. Start by contrasting the textures between individual pieces, creating depth and spiking definition. For example, textured tie and shirt combinations

    1. Ummmmm…kinda.

      Contrasting textures with one color can work, but it can also lead to some tacky looks (like this). If you mean doing things like pairing knits and suits in the same color (like we did in the photos of this Ash Gray Flannel Custom Suit), then we’re all for it.

      Bottom line: we can get behind the idea, but advise you to proceed with caution.

  10. I am attending an anniversary with a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” theme. I have a black suit. I am thinking of what color and bow tie/neck tie should I wear to match the theme. Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A solid, black, skinny, early 60s style black necktie is the way to go. That’s what George Peppard wore with his black suit in BAT and that’s what you should wear.

    2. Think of The Beatles. Black Suit, White Shirt, Skinny Black Solid Colored Tie. That is as formal as you can get without wearing a tuxedo and it is a very classy 60’s look.. That is why they dressed that way on the Ed Sullivan Show! Black Lapel gives excellent advice and MUCH better than a few other people on the Internet who stray away from what is classy into something ridiculous so they can be different.

  11. saketh samrat says:

    i have to attend farewell party in our college. i am final year graduate. recently i got a black suit. i am confusued with which color shirt should i go. White or blue?? and one other thing black tie or maroon tie???

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Did you notice how almost all of the photos above with a check mark next to them have a white shirt and a black tie? Follow Rule #3 above, don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it simple with a white shirt and a black tie for a worry free outfit.

    2. Again for the 100the time, a Pitch Black Suit is in a league all by itself. It is NOT to be equated with a Dark Blue, Grey or Tan Suit. A Black suit is FAR DARKER & BOLDER than any true navy blue or grey suit. Therefore, the best and SAFEST way to wear it is with a black, grey or POSSIBLY Dark colored tie with a White shirt as the background. Period. Case Closed.

      1. In addition, (just to show that I am a fair guy with versatile taste) You COULD ALSO wear a light NEUTRAL Colored tie with a Black Suit and White Dress Shirt. For example, I am going to a wedding and reception in July during the day. I will wear my Black Suit, Beige print tie (Neutral color) and White Dress Shirt with French cuffs.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          The jury has spoken! Good tip, Don!

  12. Hi, I need help with my black suit. I just bought the suit a couple of days ago and I’m struggling on pairing shirts & ties due to rules on wearing ’em. I wear a black suit to work everyday. Shirts I own are more on the gray-er side. I have small pattern checkered shirt, vertical thin stripes, and solid color gray and white shirt. Any suggestions on ties that can go with that? I have a red with white accents diagonal patterned tie, solid shiny thin red and dotted black tie. When I’m not confident to pair those ties, I just go with a shirt. I also have navy shirt with thin vertical white stripes. Is it acceptable to wear it under a black suit? With what color tie if ever? Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The solution is to change your suit, Daniel. Black suits aren’t business suits. You tend to look like you’re going to either a funeral or a formal affair. As you can see above, black is the most limiting suit color you can wear, making it extremely difficult to wear black suits regularly (as you’re finding out). So our first piece of advice is to build your wardrobe on a more office-appropriate, and versatile, foundation color. We just published an article about doing that very thing. Check out Wardrobe Foundations: 3 Suits Every Man Should Have for specifics.

      Secondly, stock up on white dress shirts. You can’t have enough of them. They work with anything (including your black suit) so they make getting dressed in the morning simple. Just grab a white shirt and you’re most of the way to an outfit. We’ve shown how you can build an entire shirt wardrobe on just white and blue shirts but if you want to add some more colors, we suggest you read the article on picking shirt colors first.

      With a strong set of shirts and suits in your wardrobe, making outfits will become much easier.

      1. Thank you for the advice. I read all the pages you suggested and I found it very helpful. Thank you very much!

        However, I am concerned about my black suit now. Is it really forbidden to wear a black suit to work? I just bought the suit and I’m hoping I can stick with that for now until I save up for a new suit. I’m hoping to get advice on having a work-around to nail an outfit with the black suit. I’m a 20 something guy with light complexion and dark hair. White dress shirts can really be a safe choice. Now I’m thinking what would be a good tie match.

        Also, can light to medium to dark gray dress shirts work? And is it appropriate to just go with a solid gray shirt without having to wear a tie? Or is that the perfect time to contrast dark colors with ties that appear to stand out?Thank you again. Still trying to learn everything since I’m still new to the whole suit game.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          We’ve been there, Daniel. To answer your question about black suits in the office, no they’re not forbidden, it just limits a lot of your choices.

          To make things easy on yourself work with those limits. Start with limiting your palette. You really can’t go wrong with white shirts and gray ties. Do the ties have to be solid gray? No, it just shouldn’t have any colors in it. It can be black and white, black with gray, or gray with white. It can be solid black too. It can be black knitted or woven. Silk or wool or cotton. You could own thousands of ties that fit the criteria.

          As for the shirts, a gray shirt may work for you (that’s where the article about choosing your shirt colors will help). Still, walk before you run, stock up on white dress shirts. This too sounds limiting but it’s not. You can find dress shirts with a wide range of fabric options, collar types, cuff types and hundreds of other differences. Any Black Lapel shirt, for instance, can be customized many different ways.

          To paraphrase Orson Welles, the enemy of the art of dressing well is the absence of limitations.

    2. NEVER WEAR A NAVY BLUE SHIRTWITH A BLACK SUIT! Buy a true Navy Blue Suit ( not Midnight Blue which is darker than a true Navy) and also buy a medium Grey Suit. Buy White and LIGHT blue dress shirts. Then, wear whatever tie you want that looks good. Black is TOO BOLD to wear every day for business UNLESS it is for a special occasion at the office. During the Spring and Summer you could also wear a Tan Suit. You should also have a true Navy Blazer that can be worn over the medium grey dress pants during fall and winter and over the Tan Dress pants during Spring and Summer.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Keep making comments like this, encouraging people to buy suits and dress shirts, and we’ll have to hire you! Seriously, you’re on it, Don, having a wardrobe full of classic pieces in versatile fabrics is the way to go.

        @Daniel: We’ve outlined some ways to get started in our article on the suits that make up your wardrobe foundation.

  13. Shrutika Vats says:

    So I have thought of wearing a black suit for my graduation. I’m wearing black suit, white shirt but I don’t want to go with red or black tie. Could you suggest some other tie colors that would go with the look? I have black hair and I’m neither pale nor dark.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Follow Rule #3 above: Keep the accessories simple. We’re not sure why you’ve eliminated the best and simplest option (a black neck tie), but be that as it may, we recommend the next simplest option: a gray tie.

  14. Hello, I was thinking about wearing a black suit, maroon shirt, black bowtie and black pants to an event. Would that be acceptable? If not, any recommendations? I have red hair by the way.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A black suit and a black bow tie sounds like a half-assed tuxedo. That’s not something you want to half-ass. That’s why we never suggest black bow ties for anything but black tie outfits.

      To make this outfit work, ditch the bow tie and go one of two ways: either go without a tie at all, in which case you’ve got a dark and brooding laid back look with the maroon shirt, or go with a necktie and change the shirt to white. Either way, remember Rule #5 above and don’t go crazy on the dark elements in your outfit.

  15. Is it okay to wear a black suit (jacket, pants, shirt) with a white tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      No. A white tie is only acceptable when it’s a bow tie for a white tie event (like the Nobel Prize ceremony) or when it’s a part of a 20s gangster costume.

  16. shethan poojari says:

    which color shirt suits the black suit apart from white?

    1. Gray and, sometimes, pale blue shirts can also work with a black suit on certain skin tones and hair colors, but white is the undisputed champ and works for almost everyone.

  17. I have a second job interview coming up that I have to nail. I have two choices for suits. I wore navy suite with white shirt and grey/navy stripped tie to the first one. So, I’m leaning towards the black suit for the second. Is that advisable and how do I pull it off in an interview setting? White shirt and dark red tie textured tie? What about red stripped tie? Thanks!

    1. A black suit isn’t interview material in our opinion. It can look too serious and more often than not, guys royally screw up the shirt and tie combination to go along with it. We recommend grays and blues for interview suits. We think your best bet is to wear your navy suit again, but with a different colored shirt and tie. If you have a blue dress shirt (which you should), wear that this time around. Chances are you have another tie to complement this new outfit too. Best of luck, we hope you nail it.

  18. JITENDRA DUBEY says:

    Hi I hv black suits n m going for my frnds wedding and it is night wedding. I also buy a tan color shoes for my black suits. Now m confused coz of shirts collection. Plz help me out which color shirts I hv to wear with black suits n tan brown shoes.

    1. Easy! Go with a tailored white dress shirt. It’ll get you through a lifetime of weddings.

  19. I am attending an event at a private school in Southern California; the invitation calls for “cocktail attire”, I’ve always assumed that meant a black suit but, because it is in Southern California, I considered softening it with a black, polka dotted ascot/cravat (think Roger in Mad Men). Am I reaching here?

    1. Ah the dress code, that enigma wrapped inside a riddle…okay we’re exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea: dress codes can be confusing. But Compass subscribers know (if you’re not one, now’s the time, Brian, subscribe for free here), we’ve tackled dress codes in our Decoding the Dress Code series.

      Take a look at Decoding the Dress Code: Weddings where you’ll see that a black suit may be a little too somber/serious for a cocktail attire event. That’s why you’ll be hard pressed to find Roger Sterling in a black unless it’s a tuxedo. Also, the funeral-esque look of a black suit doesn’t blend well with the relaxed vibe of the neckerchief (ascot tied around the neck). That same neckerchief with a medium gray suit, would play much better.

      So hopefully we’ve been able to help you avoid the problems a black suit presents for this occasion. As for the neckerchief fitting into the Cocktail Attire dress code…that is a stretch. Going without a tie is pushing it. If you’ve got a kid in the school and you don’t want to be known as the “eccentric” dad, stick with a suit and tie.

  20. Okay, so I have my school farewell and I am planning to wear a back suit, a white shirt and red bowtie to go with it(I know, A BOWTIE) but they are really in trend these days, so what do you think?
    Will it work?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nope. A red bow tie with a black suit is going to look clownish. Sorry, but there’s no other way to put it. Don’t break rule #3 above. Stick with muted colors with a black suit or better yet, do what we said above and countless times in the comments below and pair your black suit with a gray tie. Do that and we’ll at least approve the outfit.

      As for how you wear it, see rules 1-4 above. If the whole thing works with your coloring, go for it, but if it doesn’t don’t try to force it because you saw some other guy in a black suit looking cool. That’s some other guy. You do you. If it works with your coloring and it doesn’t fit you flawlessly, the whole look still isn’t going to cut it. Finally, if you nail the other rules and then top off the whole look with a beaten up pair of shoes you’ll still just have a near miss. But if you go back through the article above and can honestly say you’ve followed the rules, you’re bound to look good.

    2. Stop equating Black to the other main color suits that men wear. Black is in a league all by itself.
      A pitch Black Suit is the darkest and BOLDEST color a man can wear. I agree with Black Lapel 100%.
      Stick with a Black, Grey or MAYBE a dark colored tie like burgundy. FORGET the bright yellow, bright orange, etc. ties with A Black Suit and a white dress shirt. Those brighter ties are to be worn with navy blue or grey. Black is a separate animal all to it’s own.

      1. You are a breath of fresh air, Don. If we keep tellin’ em, you keep tellin’ em too.

  21. M wearing a blck suit with white shirt for my school farewl
    I js waana knw which colour tie i shud go with ??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As it says above, strong colored ties can look clownish with a black suit. Stick with black or gray, Tarun.

  22. I am going to a wedding, and I am confused between wearing a White shirt or a Black shirt or a Black T-shirt on a black suit
    Help me out please….

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey, John. A lot of your confusion can be solved by looking at the wedding invite for the defined wedding dress code. If the invite states black tie, black tie optional, or cocktail attire, count the black t-shirt out. We recommend you wear a tie to any wedding unless “casual” is specified on the invite. If casual is acceptable, you could rock your black suit with the black dress shirt and no tie. It’s a good look for a night wedding, but it would be too harsh for, say, a warm weather wedding. So if that’s the case, opt for the white dress shirt and no tie. If the dress code suggests a more formal setting, we recommend your white dress shirt and a simple, non-shiny, monochrome tie.

  23. Hi guys,

    I have a wedding party and im gonna wear black suit, white shirt, black boots but im not sure on the tie, bow tie or nothing …

    I wanna put a bit (only a bit) of color in the suit with a bow tie with some color, how can i get it without going over?

    Thanks!

    1. Oh i forget it, its a night wedding. 😀

      1. A night wedding means an all black-and-white outfit is great. A black or gray tie will definitely give you that chic evening look.

  24. I just bought a black suit for my 15yr old to attend a red carpet event (he is an upcoming rapper) and I am not too sure what to put together to reflect his art and youth.

    1. Sounds like a pretty formal affair, but when you’re a 15 year old rapper, you can bend the rules of formality and go with a black T-shirt.

      Hip-hop has always borrowed from other genres from the early days of sampling, so stylish rappers have always been inspired by style icons too. From the early B-boys who combined running gear and ostentatious jewelry (windbreakers and fat gold chains) to A$AP Rocky appearing in GQ in a nautical inspired double-breasted blazer and captain’s hat, rappers have always been given some leeway to pull from different styles. So, in essence, don’t worry, he can’t go wrong.

    2. Paris Mims Jr. says:

      I saw a black tie, knew I needed one for my black suit, new it was “solid satin” and but it anyway (doesn’t look shiny in on-line pic). Can it work for church? thanks.

      1. Sure, Paris, a black tie is a natural with a black suit. This is appropriate for any dressy situation.

        1. Paris Mims Jr. says:

          That it’s “satin” is alright?

          1. We aren’t in love with sheeny solid ties, but a simple black one is fine. If you want to mix up the textures a bit, try a black knit tie instead.

  25. Hello!
    I have a wedding and just bought a nice black suit (very faint striped texture). I’d prefer some dash of color instead of the more formal black&white look, but nothing extravagant. Would any kind of green tie work? I already have a deep red one, but I’d rather try something different.
    Thanks!
    Oh, and would coloured socks work?

    1. It’s no secret, if you look at the article above or the comments below that we’re no fans of bright colors and black suits. The effect is straight up clownish and we don’t recommend it. But we’re not against all colors with black. Muted colors, added with restraint can work.

      Case in point, the first look in our story about remixing the three-piece suit features a black suit with a maroon tie and a vest with burgundy and brown in it. Although the photo is cropped and you won’t see it, we can tell you that we brought this whole look together with oxblood shoes.

      Overall there is a good dose of color in this look as a whole. By drizzling the red tones over the whole outfit like olive oil, not smearing it on like butter, we were able to keep the whole look classy. If you do add color, that’s the way to do it.

      1. Fantastic, thank you!
        The green I have in mind is a dark green, not unlike the Forest Green Knit tie you have in your shop.

  26. i need some advice …well im about to wear a black suit …and i dont particularly like the formal black shoes (or any formal shoes) so should i wear white casual shoes with the black suit or not

    1. Like, white sneakers casual? You can reference the suit + sneakers section we wrote about here, but we have some more styling tips in addition to what we wrote about there. If you want to wear casual shoes, that casual theme should carry throughout the rest of your outfit. So a black or white t-shirt or sweater is the way to go instead of a dress shirt and tie. Hope that helps.

  27. G00d evening, I have an interview coming up. I have a black wool suit that fits well and after reading this article I feel that i have been shooting myself in the foot. I do not like to wear white shirts; blame it on catholic school. I wanted to wear a red/tangerine shirt with a simple shiny black tie. I am 6’1″ about 215, nice build and I want to look dashing. I am coffee brown skin, yo know with a little bit of milk added. Do you have any smashing suggestions to help add to my confidence. Thank you in advance.

    1. In general, we don’t recommend black suits for job interviews. A) They’re particularly limiting as you’ve noted, and B) they’re extremely serious/formal. If a dark suit works for you, we’d suggest charcoal gray instead. Charcoal gray is still a dark suit but allows you to wear bright colored accessories, a larger range of shirts and brown shoes (a no-no with a black suit).

      As for the disliking wearing white shirts, you MUST get over that. Look at any photos of well dressed men. They all wear white shirts regularly. Of all of the scarring experiences associated with Catholic school (we know, a large contingent of the Black Lapel team went to Catholic schools) a fear of wearing white shirts should not be one of them. White shirts are the foundation of all stylish men’s wardrobes.

      As we recommended above, strong colors and black suits just don’t mix. That goes double for a job interview. A tangerine colored shirt and red tie is loud in any setting. The goal of an interview suit is to keep the interviewer focused on you. Against a black suit, this combinations is like wearing a blinking neon “Look at me” sign on your chest. Keep the shirt and tie simple to keep the attention on your face, not your clothes.

      Having said all of that, we have one final and counter-intuitive piece of advice and that is don’t put too much importance on your clothes. Body language, it turns out, trumps clothes. We wrote a whole article about this that we’d suggest you check out while job hunting: What’s Stopping You From Looking Powerful? Hint: It’s Not Your Clothes.

  28. Hey i need your opinion, i’m about to wear a black suit with a green shirt, it’s almost like lime green but not the electric one it’s the calm one, and a black bow ties, should i wear it or not ? Thanks

    1. Please don’t!

      If you get nothing more from having read The Compass let it be this: Green shirts and black shirts and black bow ties should never be seen in public together. It’s just a recipe for clownish.

      Sorry for the tough love here, Roy but that’s just the truth of the matter.

  29. Would it be okay to wear a black suit,black shirt and red tie

    1. Not in our book. See Rules #3 and #5 above.

  30. Hello, I was thinking about color matching with my girlfriend for her prom. She will be wearing a pale pink dress and I will put on a black suit, probably white shirt and black bow tie. What about pale pink handkerchief? Would a colorful bowtie (pale pink, but in that case I would take a white handkerchief) be possible for this opportunity, or would it be too much?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Adam

    1. If there are two things you’ll hear repeated in our advice they are as follows:

      1. Don’t try to add too much color to a black suit, and
      2. Don’t worry about matching your date.

      Rule #3 above shows the right way to wear a black suit and the way that makes you look like a clown. How do you avoid looking like a clown? Stick with black, white and gray, like well dressed men do (see Tom Ford) and you’ll be fine.

      As for the matching your girlfriend, we generally tell guys who ask about this that you’re her date, not an accessory. Of course, we’re usually giving grown men this advice because the whole matchy-matchy thing is a little cutesy for our tastes. Since this is the prom and we know how teenage girls can be about this kind of thing, we’d understand if you went with a pink pocket square to coordinate with her dress. We’d recommend leaving it at that, though and sticking with a stylish black or gray tie.

  31. I was wondering can I wear a white tux shirt with a black suit.

    1. Of course you can, Tyler, but your results may vary. There are many different kinds of tuxedo shirts, after all. A white shirt with French cuffs, a turndown collar and a hidden placket, for instance, would work perfectly well with a black suit for a formal look. On the other hand, a wing collar, a pleated front and holes for studs would look out of place with anything but a tuxedo.

      Our advice is, if you’re supposed to be in black tie, you should either bite the bullet and get yourself a tuxedo or just abstain and go in a suit. Don’t half-ass it by wearing a shirt that really belongs with a tux but not wearing a tux. The only thing worse than not wearing black tie to a black tie event is wearing part of a black tie getup to a black tie event. That basically says “I understood the dress code but didn’t care enough to really follow it.” At least if you show up in a suit you can just plead ignorance.

    2. edward p bush says:

      I have a blue suit and a Orange shrit is that ok and what cork tie should I ware!

      1. Black Lapel says:

        To answer part one of your question: we can’t say for sure if an orange shirt is OK. That’s kind of like us asking you whether we should get a blue car or a green car? If you don’t know us, don’t know what kind of car we’re talking about, don’t know where we live, how we’ll use it, etc. your recommendation won’t be very useful. But we can teach you how to determine the answer for yourself. In fact, that’s just what we did in our article on Picking Shirt Colors That Match You, Even If You Have No Eye For Matching. We suggest checking that out.

        For the second question, we’re going to chalk this up to a mischevious auto-correct function and assume that you’re asking “what color tie should I wear?”

        In that case, we’ll give you our favorite rule of thumb: match your ties to your eyes. If you’ve got brown eyes, a tie with some brown in it will almost always work for you. If you’ve got blue eyes, some blue in your tie makes a lot of sense. Follow this basic principle and you’ll be well on your way to color harmony.

  32. Thanks for all the advice here.
    Most often, I get confused with the tie I have to wear.
    Looking to try black suit with light pink shirt. What texture and colour of tie would be perfect with this? Read it on other website to go with blue or red tie but I didn’t like the combination.

    1. We’ll refer you to rule #3 above. There’s really no reason to add a red or blue tie to this outfit. A pink shirt against a black suit is already pushing it with a black suit (we’d recommend swapping for white), adding a colored tie will just call attention to the jarring contrast of color and black. When in doubt, limit the color palette. Making the outfit strictly black, white and employing shades of gray for contrast is always stylish.

  33. Abdulhadi Almutairi says:

    hello,
    I am on the darker side of skin tone. What do you think of a black suit, white shirt, and black-white plain skinny tie and camo slippers (that matches the tie colours)?
    Thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Although men with darker skin can pull off black suit combinations better than most, this sounds a little too matchy-matchy. Pick your bold accessories wisely, and by wisely we mean just add one in this scenario. You should choose between the patterned tie and camo slippers, but don’t wear both.

  34. Hi. How abouta black suit with blue shirt. Not dark blue or sky blue. Just blue and a black tie with diagonal stripes.

    1. Completely depends on the context and how it looks on you. While it’s not exactly the kind of thing we imagine when we picture a well-dressed guy, we’re not going to pass judgment without seeing it.

  35. Wouldn’t recommend wearing an solid black silk tie or even a black silk tie (with accent colors in it) with a black shirt.
    The tie blends right in with the shirt and is not showcased at all. No point even wearing a tie.
    A solid black tie or a black tie (with accent colors) works best against a white shirt. Case Closed. I agree with the Black Lapel author.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You said it, Don. What’s the point of the black tie if it’s just going to blend in?

  36. hi, what about black suit with black shirt and jet black tie with bright white polka dots.

    1. Are you hoping we’ll okay this outfit because of the white polka dots? Sorry, but we still consider this outfit going overboard with the black. Actually, it may even be worse since the polka dots will just call more attention to how flat the rest of the outfit is.

      Our solution, swap the shirt out with a white one and you’re done. Simple, right?

  37. Andre Harris says:

    I’m dark skinned yet was thinking about going low contrast with a black suit, burgundy paisley bow tie with minor colors of orange and grey. Undecided on if the pocket square should be orange or grey. What are your thoughts on this look?

    1. As we said in Rule #3 above, strongly colored accessories and black suits don’t mix well. Without seeing the accessories in question, we can’t say for sure, but when we read words like paisley and orange we fear you might be treading on thin ice. We recommend you limit the colors in your outfit, Andre.

  38. karl ivan d. quisumbing says:

    question?

    what if you have black suit and pants with gray long sleeves and a printed tie is it okey? i need to put a vest on it?what color?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll assume you mean that the shirt is gray, not that your black jacket has gray sleeves. In that case, sure, a gray shirt and a black suit are okay to wear together. As we stated above, it’s all about who’s wearing it. If you’re just not cut out for wearing black, no amount of finagling the rest of the outfit will change that.

      As for the vest, take a look at our article on How To Wear A Vest The Modern Way for some ideas on wearing an alternative vest with your suits.

  39. Frank Johnson says:

    I’ve seen some great contrasts with black suits (sometimes with peak lapels) and an odd but black waistcoat. I think the black pinstripe vest can give the black suit an added look. What are your thoughts on that?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Ah, the good ol’ 3-piece remix as we like to call it. We’re advocates of wearing an alternating vest with a suit— it’s modern and smart. The idea behind adding a black pinstripe vest to a black suit is good, but tread carefully. Pinstripes are mainly to be worn together, and interrupting the lines can make your body look disproportional. Although this effect only really takes form when breaking up a pinstripe suit jacket and pants, if the pinstripe vest you mention isn’t cohesive with your black suit, you could be at risk of this faux pas. Then again, there’s the potential for this outfit to look totally gangster. Like we said, tread carefully.

      1. Hi, I also have a 3 piece black suit that I am interested in wearing to a company Christmas party. I am fair skinned in color. Should I trade the vest for another color than black? What about the shirt and tie? I was thinking a dark crimson tie and white shirt…but your advice is appreciated in helping me look good for this event. Thank you!

        1. You’re on the right track with the contrasting vest idea. The key is not to make the contrast too jarring (no brightly colored vests, please) and not too timid (no charcoal gray vests either). Think of the vest like an accessory and follow the advice we gave above, either keep the color somewhat muted or go with a stronger contrasting gray.

          Same goes for the tie, make sure that crimson is dark enough and that your shirt is white and you’re good to go. If the red’s too bright, try a gray or black tie to keep things simple.

  40. I am having a college farewell party at club(dance drinks EDM). So i am having A black suit(VanHeusan) and white shirt(blackberry), solid satin tie 1purple and 1black and 1blue, 1black and 1white lapel rose, 1white and 1black pocket square, black shining shoes. So the questions are 1) Can i wear black suit and white shirt for this occasion? 2) Is a Tie, lapel rose & square pocket necessary? Will it look good for occasion?? 3) The trouser of suit is not narrow at bottom. Will it work?? 4) I am also having black bomber jacket(jack & jones) white t-shirt, blue jeans & black boots. So what’s combination you would suggest??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You have a bunch of options here, Jai. It depends on how formal you want to look at your party, but here are some outfits we would put together:
      1) Black suit, white dress shirt, no tie, white pocket square and your black dress shoes. If your black boots are dressy, you can probably pull them off in the outfit too.
      2) Black suit, white t-shirt and black boots.
      3) Black suit pants, white t-shirt, black bomber jacket and black boots.
      4) Jeans, white dress shirt, and black boots.

      Notice we didn’t incorporate a tie into any of the outfits above. You’ll be at a club and dancing, so wearing a tie isn’t exactly dress code or fun to dance in. Hope this helps! Enjoy your party.

  41. I have to go for night wedding party. I want to wear black blazer what color shirt and tie suit for that?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Night weddings = more formal. We recommend you keep things classy and opt for a black and white ensemble. You can read more about what to wear to a wedding here.

  42. Hello, I have a job interview and I only have a black suit. I want to use with a white dress shirt and gray striped tie, black shoes and dress socks charcoal (not sure of colored socks) Do you think that’s okay? or should I use another color tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We think this is a very professional-sounding outfit, Fabian. Although, in full disclosure, a black suit isn’t our first recommendation for a job interview suit. But if that’s all you’ve got, that’s all you’ve got. Wear it with confidence and you’ll look powerful. Anyways, if you get the job, then you can splurge on your next suit 😉

  43. I am attending a wedding in about a month. I have chosen to wear a black suit, but I am not too sure about the colors for shirt and tie. I am darker skinned with black hair and brown eyes. Should I go for with low contrast colors? If so, what colors do you recommend?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you go back to Black Suit Rule #1, you’ll see that men with darker complexion/skin can pull off low or high contrast colors. It’s up to you. A classic, high contrast combination is black and white. Black suit, white shirt, black tie. That look will stand out more than a look with subdued, low contrast colors (like gray) so it depends about how hard you want to throw your sartorial punch for this wedding.

  44. I am attending an after 5/formal event, my wife’s dress is navy blue with silver sequin. What color accessories should I wear with my black suit for a more formal look?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Keep it classy, Chris. Black and white is a classic, formal color combination for special events. That being said, opt for a white dress shirt. If you want to match your wife, you could wear a subtle, silver tie in a muted tone. On the flip side, you can continue with the black and white theme and knot up your best black tie.

  45. A traveler that has a black suit for meeting purposes but going to a Ekka horse racing event asking for much need fashion knowledge how to mix it up from office wear to race wear with that hint of fashion ? Help appreciated

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A black suit is a tough one to wear to the races where folks tend get decked out in bright colors. If it’s the only option, perhaps only use the pants at the races and pair them with a sharp white polo shirt and black loafers for a laid back look.

  46. Mark Telford says:

    Hi

    I’m going for an interview tomorrow and was torn between the black suit/white shirt combo, or the all black suit/shirt combo but I am unsure if tie choice with both outfits. Which would you recommend?
    Regards
    Mark

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Keep it simple, Mark. Stick with a black or dark gray tie on a white shirt. All black would be going against our recommendation in Section 5 above. Plus it would be inappropriate for a job interview unless it’s a goth office.

      Keep the attention on you, not your outfit, and you go ace that interview.

  47. im going to be wearing a Black 3 pieced suit with a black coat now what tie and shirt should i wear (colours)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As you can see in all of the photos on the left side of this page, a black tie works well. Keeping it simple when you’re wearing a black suit is the way to go.

  48. Stephanie says:

    Hi there! I am getting married this summer and the groom and groomsmen are wearing black three piece suits. A friend suggested each groomsmen have a different tie (while maintaining the same material and color scheme). What are your thoughts on this? Any suggestions on where to go?

    We also need to figure out how to make the groom stand out. Would a white vest and tie go or be too much?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s a lot to chew on, Stephanie. Probably more than we should try to handle here in the comments section. So, we encourage you to speak with one of our stylists by emailing us at concierge@blacklapel.com. We can help you figure out the best look for all the men in the wedding party.

  49. I am dark skinned. Should I wear a black suit or a grey suit.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Ah if it were only that easy, Bill. Sadly, we can’t give you a blanket answer. The idea of matching yourself to your clothes is all based on contrast. You feature more than one color. You may be dark skinned, but your hair has another color than your skin. Your eyes have yet another color, as do your lips. If these differences are subtle, you have a low contrast appearance.

      Apply the same logic to your clothes. You don’t just wear a black suit or a gray suit and nothing else (at least we hope you don’t). How much contrast should there be between your shirt and your suit, your tie and your suit, your pocket square and your suit? If you’ve got a low contrast look, you want a keep the contrast in your outfit from being too strong and overpowering you.

      If you’re a lower contrast guy a lower contrast outfit like a blue shirt and a gray suit will work for you. If you’re a higher contrast guy, a higher contrast outfit like a white shirt and black gray suit will work better for you but the only way to figure this out is to look in the mirror.

  50. We are going to a formal event. Can I wear a black suit with black shirt & striped white gray & black tie?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nope. Black shirts are strictly for casual wear. We never recommend them for anywhere you should be wearing a tie and we don’t recommend wearing them with ties.

      Swap that shirt out for a white shirt and you’ve got yourself a stylish and minimalist outfit that’s perfectly appropriate.

  51. Im dark skinned guy can you please tell me if white tie , blue shirt and a black blazer is good or not ??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s a no-go from us, Khan. You’re contrasting in all the wrong places here. If anything, a black blazer with a white shirt and blue tie would look better. Still, as we illustrated above, keep your accessories simple and remember that a white dress shirt is your best friend (especially when wearing a black suit/blazer).

  52. hey i am a brown colored guy with black hairs. i have bought a black suit for business purpose. can u please suggest an appropriate tie for it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Your options are limited here, Prakhar. A black suit really only looks best with the most simple accessories, as we illustrated above. A good option is our Black Silk Knit Tie, a classic color with the texture of a modern tie.

  53. dayle brook says:

    hey, i’m going to my college leavers prom next month and i was wondering if my black suit can be changed up a bit to give it a more recreational feel to it rather than be too strict and formal?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black suits serious and formal by nature. Making one look more casual is not easy but it can be done. Step one, lose the tie. Step two, wear it with a dark shirt which is, by nature, more casual.

      Resist the urge to add a “festive” color. When it comes to black suits, people who try to make them look festive often make them look clownish. Keep the look simplified and monochromatic (all blacks and grays) and don’t go overboard on the black (see #5 above), remember less is more, and you’ll be home free.

  54. Im going to prom this summer. I am ordering a black jacket,trousers and shoes but im at a loss with the shirt and tie. I dont want to dress in black and white and i am terrible at matching colours. My favourite colours are red and purple but im told that green is my colour. If the colours are a bad idea just say. I have white skin (lightly tanned) and dark brown (long) hair with a tint of red ginger. I would rather have colour than not because i dont tend to optionally look the same as everyone else (i have been called a hipster). Thank you for reading this.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry to break it to you, Tyler, but if you don’t want to dress in black and white, a black suit is probably not for you. As we highlighted above, black can be extremely difficult to wear with strong colors because the contrast can be quite jarring.

      So we suggest that if you’re dead set against a white shirt, steer clear of strong colors and go with either a gray dress shirt or a pale blue dress shirt. Then a simple black tie is the smart choice.

  55. hi

    am getting married early next year, I chose plum as my main colour, what colour suit would match with a plum shirt

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Congrats on the wedding. Knowing that you chose plum as the main color, is it necessary to wear that color in shirt form? A plum shirt is a going to create a very dark, heavy look. When’s the wedding? For example, a lot of times you’ll see a full plum/maroon suit paired with a white shirt and black tie. This is a clean, crisp and slightly fashion-forward look, but excellent for a late fall/winter wedding.

      Another way to incorporate plum into your look is with a plum tie, pocket square, and/or socks! All of these would pair well with a classic black wedding tux.

  56. Hi,

    Our son is getting married on 2nd July so i have purchased a black 3 piece suit, black shoes.
    I am a large guy with greying hair, blue eyes and a more white than dark beard.
    What colour shirt and tie would you suggest.

    Best wishes from Bedfordshire.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Ah, a summer wedding in the English countryside. Sounds picture-perfect. Not to burst that bubble, but a black suit doesn’t give you that many color options for your shirt and tie. Definitely keep things simple with a white dress shirt, but the tie choice is a little more complicated. You won’t want to wear any bold, bright colored ties because that’ll create too much contrast for your hair and skin coloring. We recommend very light, muted colors like pale blue or green. These are light enough to work with a black suit and also summer-appropriate.

      Best wishes from NYC!

  57. Hey, im having a prom this week, and i am having a prob with choosing right shirt. I have black shoes, black suit, black tie, and idk if i should wear black or white shirt. All young friend are telling me to go with black cus i look more powerfull, and all older friends are telling me to go with white cus of my face. What should i do?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll refer you to #5 above, Rieder. The whole black shirt, black tie, black suit thing is a little played (exhibit A). Your older, wiser friends are correct. Wear the white shirt, not just because it’ll avoid looking like Regis hosting an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but because it’s formal enough to wear to your prom. Black shirts are, by nature, casual and should be worn without a tie. At your prom, keep it classy, go with a crisp white shirt.

  58. Hi! I am getting married in June and our groomsmen are wearing black suits, white shirts, black tie and the groom, bestman and our son are wearing a gray colored tie. Would a light pink pocket square look fine? I have pink in the flowers. Thank you.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As we mentioned in #3 above, keeping the accessories subdued is the name of the game. The reason is that strong saturated colors can be jarring when set against a black suit. Pink, being so light, is likely to create a strong contrast that will overpower the outfit.

      If there will be pink boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party, the rest of the outfit can be monochrome anyway, so we’d suggest sticking with white pocket squares for a classic and classy look.

  59. Thank you for the great info! I am getting married this summer and the groomsmen and myself are all wearing black suits & white shirts, and bridesmaids all have black cocktail dresses. I am thinking subtle textured black ties for the groomsmen, and to make myself stand out from groomsman, can I do a dark blue tie with small polka dots like you have as an example on your Tie Bars page? Or will my groomsmen look more formal than myself?
    Any other ideas?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we can help with the big day, Matthew.

      The outfits sound sharp and your idea about wearing a different tie is a smart one. We wouldn’t recommend dark blue with black. The combination on the tie bars article worked because it was a charcoal gray suit. Gray and dark blue complement each other much better than black and dark blue.

      Instead, we’d suggest going with a light gray tie with black dots, like this one from Bruno Piatelli. This works well with your monochromatic outfit and will set you apart from the groomsmen. Yes, a dotted tie is considered slightly more casual than a solid tie, but it’s also more distinguishing and more festive, which is fitting for the groom. We say go for it.

  60. Hi, I wonder is it match if i am wearing black suit with dark blue tie to a theme night event .

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Maybe, if the event is Very Little Contrast Night.

      We kid, but like all jokes it’s rooted in a truth. A black suit and a dark blue tie is a weak combination because the suit and tie are an almost match. We suggest pumping up the contrast a little with a not so dark tie in gray or blue.

  61. Hi, I’m going to a wedding. I’m planning on wearing a black suit with brown shoes. What color shirt and tie would you suggest I should wear. I’m brown skin.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Before we get to shirts and ties, let’s talk about this brown shoes and black suit thing. We encourage you to reconsider. As the first line of section four says “Wearing a black suit means wearing black shoes.” That’s a rule we very rarely break and when we do, it’s only with oxblood shoes, never brown.

      As for a shirt and tie, we like keeping things monochromatic (as in black, white and shades of gray). A white shirt and a solid gray tie is a forceful minimalist look. You can, of course, add patterns, if you like. How? That’s more than we can answer in a comment reply but we wrote a whole article about how to mix patterns with confidence for just this ocassion! Go forth and conquer, Dante.

  62. Hi, I’m going to a red carpet event and I have a black suit,What color shirt should I wear and should I waer a tie? I am caramel complexion.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you’re going to a red carpet event, the closer you can get to a tuxedo the better. Therefore, wear your finest white dress shirt (one like this) and a solid black neck tie. This simple look will come off 10 times better than any audacious attempts to stand out. When the fit is flawless there’s no need for pyrotechnics.

  63. Hi I’m going to a school ball and I have a black jacket with black pants, but also a dark red shirt. I’m blond with blue eyes and fair skin,yet black jacket and pants is my only option. I was wondering what colour tie could go with the red shirt, or if I should ditch the red shirt and you could please suggest another shirt/tie combo? Thanks :)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As we mentioned in the first section, Sam, black suits present challenges for certain guys. With fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes it sounds like you fit the profile of “certain guys” precisely. Since you don’t have a choice about the suit, though, there is a way to pull the look off. Here’s how:

      • Yes, ditch the shirt. Red and black is a devilishly difficult combination to pull off and most guys don’t do it well. Stick with a classic dress shirt.
      • Often we would say swap the red for a white or light gray shirt to give the whole look a cohesive monochrome vibe. But in your case, that harsh contrast between black and white will only draw attention down from your face to your clothes and away from what they should be focusing on, you.
      • Since you have blue eyes, reinforce them with a blue shirt in a similar or slightly lighter shade than your eyes.
      • Finish off the look with a tie that incorporates the blue of the shirt and your eyes as well as some black or dark gray like this one and a pocket square that also includes blue and hints of black like this one.

      Follow this plan and to bring out the best of your black suit.

  64. Hello. My son is wearing a nice black suit to his prom and he would like his tie to match his date’s red dress. Since he’s not wearing a tux, what kind of tie should he wear to look more formal? Is a solid red more appropriate or formal than a patterned tie? What about fabric choice? Thank you!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We get variations on this question from a lot of grown men who are trying to play the match game with their dates at events. We always respond by stating “you’re a man not an accessory.” The reason we say this is not just because we believe men shouldn’t be dressed by their dates like so many toy poodles that get carried in purses, but because it leads to poor such poor choices. We firmly believe in dressing from the inside out and that means wearing the color combinations that accentuate your best features, not your date’s. We usually follow that up by reminding men that their date won’t be upset if he doesn’t look all matchy-matchy with her but looks incredibly good.

      Of course, that’s all advice we give grown men and it’s a lot for you to pass along to your impressionable young son, Maria. But what is prom but another step towards manhood? And we say young men should start off on the right foot and learn to dress themselves well. How to do that with this outfit? Simple: keep it simple. A solid white shirt and a solid black tie is the most formal look you can wear with a black suit and looks great on anybody with medium to high contrast between their skin and hair. If he’s got less contrast between his skin and hair, still keep it simple, just lighten the tie to a gray to help bridge the gap between the black of the suit and the white of the shirt.

      The beauty of these simple combos…they’re neutral so he won’t get any complaints from his date about clashing with her dress.

  65. Martin fuller says:

    Hi. I have a black suit and black shoes. I also have pale accents in my various range of shirts.
    Now the issue I am having is that I have a very important formal meeting in a few days. I want to show that I mean business but also want to show character and personality in my attire.
    I’m light skinned and have mediocre light to dark hair.

    My favourite colour is red but I don’t wish to come across like hit man or some wannabe. Would you suggest maybe a solid white /ivory shirt with maybe deep burgundy neck tie and pocket square.

    Or maybe you have a better suggestion. Please help. I like the look of white shirt black tie but the meeting in which I am attending requires both my formal approach as well as the ability to speak and come across a human with purpose and character. I feel the right attire can than create this sense of ease.

    Please help only 3 days to go.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A black suit can be pretty intense. Black, with it’s super-formal and dour connotations can come across a little strong. So first off, we’ll say consider going with a still dark charcoal gray or navy blue suit instead. If those are not an option, don’t fret. Just keep things simple, like we suggested above with a white shirt and a dark, muted tie in a color like maroon or dark gray. Against black saturated colors tend to create stark contrasts that can easily overpower a light haired, fair skinned guy’s face. So stick with dark and somber accessories and you’ll be all set.

  66. swapnil makode says:

    hie…I’m planning to wear black tuxedo at my brother’s wedding reception party at night…m confused bout what color shirt,necktie and pocket square to wear with my suit so that I can stand out in the party.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      With most outfits which pieces you combine are simply a matter of preference and style, but with a tuxedo the choices are all made for you. Black tie has a specific set of parts that are customary. Check out our Black Tie 101 article to see how it all comes together.

  67. Hi,I’m a little dark complexioned guy with dark brown eyes and black hair and after 4 days I’m having my Farewell party.So i have decided to go with a black suit and black tie and dark brown shoes, but I am unable to think about the colored shirt which I should go with ? Please help me out as I am really stuck in this messs and dont wanna ruin my farewell with a bad attire.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry Shaffan, but as we said in section four above, black suit means black shoes. Brown shoes and a black suit is a recipe for a fashion disaster.

      As for the shirt, we’ll refer you back to section three above. White shirts always work with a suit. A bright, saturated shirt color with a black suit can turn a look from classy to clownish in a second.

      Our overall advice in the article above is the same: keep it simple.

  68. Hi, I’m very very dark black hair, pale skin and dark brown eyes.
    Can I wear striped shirts, windowpane shirts or banker shirt in grey or lavander with black suit?
    Is it valid to use charcoal or silver ties in patterned/striped/paisley?
    Sorry for my bad english
    Saludos desde Buenos Aires.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It sounds like you’re wondering if a patterned shirt and tie would be look good with a solid suit. The answer is yes.

      Black suits are unique. We prefer them with simple, shirts and accessories and so we photographed them with solids. As we said in section three above, we like the modest look of a black suit and a white shirt but that’s just our style preference. If you like a patterned shirt and tie with your black suit we won’t try to stop you from wearing it.

  69. I’m wearing a black suit for my grad night but I still can’t decide what color if tie to wear. Please suggest.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As we said in section three above, keep the accessories simple. A tie in black or gray is stylish, a loud tie in a bold color runs the risk of looking clownish with a black suit.

  70. Hello, I like this guide a lot, but I have a question.
    I am dark/black haired with very dark brown eyes, almost black, but have a lighter complexion, not too pale, but still light. Will a black suit work for my look? Thank you in advance!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We still don’t recommend a black suit for light-skinned guys. There are so many other options out there—all different shades of blue and gray—that are going to be much more complementary to your coloring.

  71. This was super helpful. But I’ve run into a problem. I’m going home for a weekend to attended my girlfriends college formal. I was originally going to wear my semi-formal dress blues but opted not too as I would 100% be the only guy there in a military uniform. I’m a pretty fair skinned guy with brown hair and blue eyes and I realize that a black suit might just make me look even whiter… But, my lady got a black dress. Should I stick with a black coat and pants and get a under shirt that y’all have previously mentioned in step 1 or, should I scrap the black and go with a completely different color suit? Remember her dress is black

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey, Dustin. If you go back to step one, you’ll notice that the guy in these photos is also fair-skinned with blue eyes, his hair is probably just a little lighter than yours. So, our point being, a black suit isn’t going to work with your coloring either (why we’ve “x-ed” his look on the right). But, his look on the left is something you should consider for yourself. A medium to light gray suit matches with a black dress and will look much better with your coloring. Check out how we’ve styled this light gray suit on a model with your similar coloring to get an idea of how it would look on you. You could even rock this suit with black shoes as another way to coordinate with your lady.

  72. Mario James says:

    Hey so I’m going to prom, and my date is wearing white and I was thinking of dressing similar to guy in #2. Any suggestions.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The simple black and white look seen in section #2 above is an excellent choice for prom, Mario. Our main suggestion is just what it says there: nail the fit. The simpler the outfit the more noticable a bad fit will be so make sure it’s tailored to fit you flawlessly.

      Other than that we’ll offer this piece of advice: resist the urge to “jazz up” this outfit with strong colors. If you’re doing black and white, do black and white. Don’t half-step and do black and white and then add in something silly like red socks. Keep it classy and follow through, trust us, no prom goer ever complained “my date didn’t wear enough color.”

  73. I’m going to prom, I’m going thinking of going with Black bow tie, Black shoes , Black dress shirt , Black suit & Black belt ? Any changes I should make to match the girls dress ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We do have one suggested change you make, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with matching your girl’s dress. We think you should replace the black dress shirt with a white dress shirt for a more mature, classic formal look. Changing to a white dress shirt could potentially help you match better with your date if she is wearing a lighter colored dress than black.

      1. She’s wearing a Dark purple dress , so any advice on that ? Change the black dress shirt to white still or no ?

        1. Black Lapel says:

          Yup. See #5 above. Ease off the black, Miguel. Plus, the black shirt is casual by nature. A white shirt will dress this look up. In a little while when you hit the clubs, a black shirt without a tie will work, but for the prom, stick with the classic more formal look.

  74. Hallo,

    I never had problems with styling and matching suits, shirts and ties. But now I got one. I want to wear a black suit, with a navy shirt with white buttons. But I don’t know if it is possible, because the shirt is not a regular shirt for a suit, but it is really slim fitted and you see the mussels in my arms and chest.
    I was thinking to wear it without a tie, and if I have to, maybe light grey or dark green.
    What would you recommend? And sorry for the bad english.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Wearing tis shirt without a tie is a smart idea, Gökhan. Dark shirts are more casual by nature and with a black suit there’s no need for a tie. Wear this look for a summer nighttime look and you won’t miss the tie at all.

  75. Hey, I have an evening ball coming up and was wondering what I could do to make my black suit more interesting. I am fair skinned with light brown hair, I was thinking of maybe wearing a white shirt and maybe a kind of green tie to match my eyes which are kind of a hazel light green. Would this work? If not, I guess I’ll just stick with the black tie and white pocket square

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll encourage you to review #1 above. Judging by your description, it sounds like a black suit is going to be working against your coloring. In fact, you’re pretty much exactly who we suggested NOT wearing a black suit. Having green eyes gives you a great opportunity to really punch up your style with color. Don’t waste that by covering 80% of yourself in black with a black suit. We recommend you choose suit colors that harmonize with your own coloring. We’d recommend navy blue or charcoal gray instead of black for you.

      Of course, despite all of our urgings, not every man has a navy blue or charcoal suit. If all you’ve got is black what do we recommend? Well, you’ve got a good idea to pair your eyes to your tie. That’s usually our advice. But strong colored accessories with black suits tends to come off a little too jarring. A green tie that adds a pop of color to a gray suit and can make you come off a little tacky when presented with a black suit. Instead of betting big on a saturated color in your tie, subtly turn down the contrast on your outfit with a pale blue shirt and dark tie like this guy.

  76. Hi,

    I’m going to a business conference. I have a black suit. I have a white, light blue, and a blue and white striped (http://www.ralphlauren.com/product/index.jsp?productId=19019336) dress shirt. I have a red tie with thick dark red stripes and a blue tie with thick dark blue stripes. Lastly, I have a white pocket square and a red pocket square that matches the primary shade on my red tie. I have black leather shoes to go along. What combination of suit, dress shirt, tie, and pocket square would you reccommend.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Here’s what we recommend: black suit, white dress shirt, blue tie with dark blue stripes, and the white pocket square. This is your best bet for crushing your business conference!

      1. Thank you very much for your advice. It’ll help!

  77. Gold abraham says:

    its going to be a men on suit
    stuff, and we are using a black
    suit. what colour of shirt and
    tie should we use? The groom
    is using red.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Not sure what you mean by “men on suit stuff”, but if the groom is wearing a red tie, then you guys (the groomsmen?) probably shouldn’t wear red ties unless the idea is to coordinate. As for shirt color, definitely go with white at a wedding. If you guys are the groomsmen, we’d recommend you check back in with the groom so that the groom’s bride-to-be can let him know what color tie to tell you guys to wear :) If you aren’t the groomsmen, a black suit and white shirt still doesn’t lend many tie options. We recommend light gray or light blue, but not black because you wouldn’t want any of the wedding guests to confuse with the help.

  78. Mac Gonsalves says:

    Hello There, confused whether to wear Black suit or Grey for my wedding, The black satin lapel on the black suit isnt that visible and doesnt give that tux look, whereas the grey suit with black satin lapel and maroon slim tie looks amazing.
    just confused whether the grey color will go with my wife’s white satin gown..please advise..

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re a man, not an accessory, Mac. Women reserve the right to make the small dogs they carry around in their purses match their clothes but we think the notion that grooms must dress in lockstep with their betrothed is ludicrous. Wear what looks best on you, not what highlights her.

      Now, would we recommend a gray tuxedo with a black lapel and a slim maroon necktie? Nope. We believe that black tie requires wearing an actual black tie and that it should be a bow tie. There’s something about a long necktie that cheapens the look of a tux. We recommend you bend some other black tie rules but keep the bow tie.

      So if you’re asking whether you should wear a black tuxedo or a gray tuxedo to your wedding? That depends on your own personal style. Traditionally black tie means a black tuxedo. If you’re wondering how to pull that off, check out our story on Black Tie 101. If you’re looking to stretch the boundaries of black tie a bit, we’ve got a lot of ideas, which we highlighted in our Beyond Black Tie article.

  79. I’m wearing a black pinstripe suit (very subtle stripes) with a pink undershirt. What type of tie would you suggest?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      To be honest, the pink shirt limits your options. The only thing we can really envision looking good is a gray tie. This tie can range from light to dark gray, but we suggest a solid since you don’t want to overwhelm the key pattern of your outfit: pinstripes.

  80. John Mark says:

    Very thorough, thank you. I’ve got a tricky one for you. We are going to a “formal”, however, the dress code is not strict and ranges from semi to formal. My wife will be wearing a full-length satin gown. I have a wide range of suits, but not a tux and I also don’t have a waistcoat. Should I wear black with black tie or bow tie or stay with my dark navy? Maybe I could match her red dress with a tie too? Not sure.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Either a black suit or midnight navy suit would be appropriate, John. That’s why the midnight blue tuxedo is almost as old of a tradition as the black tuxedo. So we say wear the one that fits you the best.

      As for a tie, stick with the long necktie. A dark suit and a bow tie can look like you’re trying to pass off your look for a tux. We recommend you wear a suit proudly rather than approximating a black tie look and being self-conscious about it. A dark tie would be fitting. We’re not fans of couples matching their outfits, because colors and textures that look good on one of don’t always cast the other person in the best light. Red may be her color but in most cases a red tie on a dark suit will overpower your whole look and draw everyone’s eyes down to your chest. Your clothes should frame your face, not draw attention away from it. Stick with an evening appropriate black or gray tie for a cohesive look. If your wife balks at the idea of you not matching her, remind her that letting her wear the red gives her the spotlight so that she can shine and everyone can be jealous of how great she looks.

  81. Reginalia S. Manfrego says:

    Great article, but it sounds as though you might be leaving out those of us who like to channel our morbid sensibilities into wearing black suits with pale skin. An example of the look would be Nick Cave’s classic black suit with white shirt, which he wore well into his decrepitude even though he’s a rather exsanguine gent. Similarly, I’m a black-haired fellow who makes his living as an editor and horror writer. My spare smattering of fans fancy the visually vampiric even when (as in my case) the object of their affectations refuses to discuss or write about vampires. Novelist Dennis Cooper likes to call the style to which I’m referring the “last-legs look”; he, too, finds it attractive. What are your thoughts on that albino-tinged option?

    1. You bring up an excellent point. The above advice is geared toward the majority of our readers and Black Lapel customers, guys who are wearing their suits primarily to their offices and working in traditional suit-wearing fields. However, when referring to entertainers, all bets are off when it comes to personal styling. You see a much wider range of styles from the preppy-influenced style of the bebop jazz cats to the in-your-face plaids of punk. Writers have definitely gotten in on the act too, see the white suited dandy Tom Wolfe or the monochrome uniforms of screenwriter/director David O. Russell. The point is, some people’s personal brands are all about creativity and pushing boundaries. In those cases, the guidelines above still apply but are extremely flexible.

  82. Abhishek Bhattacharya says:

    Sir i’m thinking to wear a black formal suit (not tuxedo). But i’m confused about the shirt. Should i wear a sky blue shirt or the white one? And which colour tie? Is it ok with maroon tie with black patterns ?

    1. No need for confusion! Pulling off a black suit is quite simple once you understand your pairing options are limited, which is seems like you do. You can wear either shirt you mention, but if you’re set on that maroon tie with black pattern then wear the white shirt. If you’d rather wear your sky blue shirt, a tie that incorporates blue, black, and/or white will be a better option!

  83. Hey guys! How you doing? First of all congrats on the amazing job you’re making helping and giving tips to us, appreciate it, and I need some assistance… My graduation from colleague is next month and I will wear a solid black suit with a little detail on it and i want to wear a black bow tie, I don’t want to look like it’s my wedding so I don’t know if I can wear a shirt other than white or i can do a vest, I need some ideas, thanks in advance.
    I’m brown skin, black short hair and I wear glasses, keep the good job!!

    1. Hey there, replying to both of your comments on this post… First off, thanks for your praise! Now, down to business. There are a few ways you can avoid looking like it’s wedding instead of your graduation. Not wearing a white shirt is an easy fix. You shouldn’t wear any bold colors, but switching a stark white shirt out for a light blue or gray dress shirt will look less formal. Next, if you’re looking to incorporate a vest into your black suit, see how we wear a non-matching vest with a suit. You can also think about wearing a fun pocket square or pair of socks to liven up your look. Hope this helps!

  84. thanks for d support man :)

  85. WHICH SHOE SHOULD I WEAR BLACK OR BROWN

    1. HUH? CAN YOU SPEAK UP? WE DIDN’T HEAR THAT. (Just kidding, Vishal, we’ve all left the Caps Lock button on from time to time.)

      To answer your question: black. Brown would clash and while, on rare occasions, we’ve worn another color, like oxblood shoes, with a black suit but it’s a very difficult move to pull off.

  86. Do you recommend a waistcoat? Thinking of wearing a grey or black suit with a red tie…

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We do love a waistcoat. In fact, we just published an article about the remixed three-piece suit (in which the waistcoat is made from a different fabric than the suit). There you’ll see a black suit done in a novel way, with a deep, dark red knit tie and maroon accents throughout the outfit.

      That being said, we don’t recommend a black suit with brighter red accessories. Strong, saturated colors can be jarring set against black. Gray, on the other hand, provides a neutral canvas that’s perfect for brighter bolder colors.

  87. Hey!
    This article is impressing and it served as the best one I was looking for!
    I have my farewell coming up next week and I bought a black tuxedo type blazer yesterday.. I’m planning on wearing a black pant but I’m confused with 3 things. I’m 6 feet tall, brown complexion(i.e. not so dark, the typical south Indian.) and dark black hair. I’m neither thin nor fat.
    1) Black shirt or white shirt? (You could suggest something different too.)
    2) Normal tie or bow tie? And what color for what shirt? (I was thinking about a red colored one.)
    3)Is pocket square or a cummerbund needed?
    Please do reply asap!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It sounds like you’re having trouble distinguishing between what constitutes a black suit for a black tie look (aka a tuxedo). If you’re wearing a suit, the above advice all applies, but it sounds like you’re putting together a black tie look. If so, there are a more rigid set of rules that you should follow. We went went through those rules in detail in our Black Tie 101 article, which we recommend you read before putting together a black tie look.

  88. Sir I have purchased a black colour tuxedo suit . Can u tell me which colour long necktie will go and also the colour of the shirt ?

    1. Black tie dress codes (aka when you wear a tuxedo) are a whole different thing than black suits. The above guidelines are guidelines, but when you’re wearing a tuxedo, there are more strict rules to follow. One of those rules is that you don’t wear a long tie. Another is that your shirt be white with french cuffs. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. That’s why we devoted a whole article to Black Tie 101 and a whole story to how to break those rules. Check those out before you tux up, Shivam.

      1. Thank u so much sir

  89. Rohil Srivastava says:

    I think this article is very good. However, I do disagree with the fact that a black shirt and a black suit can’t be worn with a tie. I have done that once before with a royal blue tie, and I think I actually pulled off the look as some others told me I look really good. I have also seen that a pink tie looks good with a black shirt.

    1. Thanks, Rohil. We can agree to disagree on that one point.

  90. which colour of shirt wear with light purplish suit & what bow or tie goes with it

    1. White. You should have more white shirts than you know what to do with. You should stuff your closet with as many white shirts as you can afford. Why? Because white shirts go with everything, including a “light purplish suit.”

      As for the bow tie we wouldn’t recommend one with such a…what’s the word?…unconventional suit color. You’re already edging dangerously close to “cringe-worthy” with a light purplish suit (sorry, Mehul, we’re dishing out some tough love, but it’s still love), don’t go off the deep end with any accessories that might be described with a word like “zany”.

      On the other hand. If you’re going to step out onto that shaky limb of the style tree that is a light purplish suit, why stop there, why not go all the way out there with a bow tie too.

  91. Hardik Murarka says:

    hello sir its my farewell,I am wearing a black solid blazer with white solid cotton enrich shirt,a black pant which is a little loose from the sides just 2-3 inches more,a black slim tie and a black formal lase up red tape shoes will I look good?!

    1. Hmmm…that’s a tough one. The problem is we don’t know that you look like or what the clothes look like. Yes, we can picture it, sort of, by your description but we’ll never be able to truly answer the question “will I look good?” unless we see you in the clothes.

      One thing we do know, though. Confidence looks good. So if you’re not sure about something or feel timid about wearing it, that will show through. You’re better off walking into a room with your fly down but feeling self-assured than trying to blend in with the furniture because you’re worried that you have the “wrong” socks on. There is no wrong, Hardik. Remember that rule and you’ll be well on your way to dressing stylishly.

  92. Hello.

    Wonderful article. Super cool.

    I just needed some advice.
    I am 5’7”. Brown skinned. Black hair. Black eyes.

    I have a school party coming up, for which I wanna look super awesome.

    I have a black suit. Perfectly fits me. I just need suggestions about the shirt Tie combinations I could choose to stand out and at the same time to look hot.

    1. Well Moksh, all you need to do is scroll up. What kinds of shirts and ties do you see with check boxes next to them? They’re all white shirts and black ties. That’s all you need. Let the suit’s dark color and superb fit do the talking. There is no need for ostentatious adornment (we figured we’d throw a couple of SAT words at you since you said you were a student). Now get out there and rock the house at that party.

  93. 1)Sir, I am 5’11”, w/ black hair and a slightly dark complextion. I have a black suit. What would be the perfect combination of shirt, tie, shoe and belt for me?
    2)My father is 5’9″, w/ black hair and a lighter complextion. He has a dark blue suit. What would be the perfect combination of shirt, tie, shoes, belt and watch for him?
    In both the cases, the occassion is wedding party. An answer to this comment would be highly appreciated.

    1. Sorry Subhadeep, but there is no perfect combination. If there were, we’d charge $1 a piece for it, publish it and run off to Hawaii to sip Mai Tais on the beach. Style is not like a standardized test and we don’t have the teacher’s edition.

      This story is about how to wear the black suit so we’re focusing on the suit here, but if you want a set of recommendations for a shirt and tie and shoes and belt to wear with a black suit, take a closer look at the photos above. Every shirt with a check mark next to it is white. That’s because a white shirt looks good with a black suit (and all other suits). And as we showed above, simple dark ties are always a good idea when you’re wearing a black suit.

      As it says in section 4 above, black shoes are the way to go. What kind of shoe? That depends on all sorts of factors, from your budget to the shape of your foot to your personal style. For more on what we look for in a good shoe, check out our story on the 5 Essential Dress Shoes every man should own. For belts, we’ve got an article on choosing the right belt. And for advice on all kinds of accessories, check out our story on finding quality accessories.

      That’s a lot to chew on but following the guidelines we lay out in each story will make dressing for every day a joy.

  94. actually m obsessed with white shirt n black coat.. so i went for all black.. n pls recommend what extras i can do.. just like.. i shud go fr bow.. or tie or pocket collar.. i have buyed black coat waist coat n shirt n pants.. thnx :)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The list of accessories a man can wear is huge and continues to grow, but we say start with a tie, and pocket square. If you’ve never worn so much as a pocket square and then one day you walk out of the house with 20 different pieces all over you, the affect will be jarring and you’ll look like you’re just jumping on a fad. Besides, the key to pulling off a black suit is simplicity, so if you’re obsessed with white shirts and black jackets you might just be a minimalist. In which case, check out the story we published just for you: 5 Essentials of the Accidental Minimalist.

  95. sir.. hope u doing well.. m 5’10
    .. very fair complexion.. black n golden hairs with red spects.. i m.wearing a black suite with black shirt n a black waist coat.. with a dark tapered damaged navy blue jeans and black canvas shoes.. its a marriage.. wud i look fine?? pls pls respond me on mi email id. il bi very thankful to u :)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hello sir… We’re going to advise you against wearing destroyed denim to a wedding, unless it’s been explicitly stated that is a super casual wedding. Even if it is, you may still want to ditch the waistcoat. That’s a lot of dark, formal layers on top in comparison to your more casual bottom half. If it’s not a casual wedding, the only pair of pants that would match your black suit, shirt, and waistcoat would about be black. But that’s a lot of black for your fair complexion. We think you should try a different colored suit, perhaps in a shade of gray.

  96. I’ve been trying to match dress shirts to my black suit, but I can’t find anything suitable besides white or maybe grey. I know different seasons mean different colors. You mentioned patterned shirts above and I have considered that somewhat. So basically what color or patterned dress shirt do you recommend for occasions such as work/interviews vs weddings/graduation party? Also I know black suits at weddings are a bit of a no no, but that was the only color I had at the time lol.

    Thanks, Kong

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is a problem you’re going to encounter a lot with owning a black suit…there’s not a lot you can do with it. You’re right about pairing it with white and/or gray and those two colors can stretch across all four seasons, it just isn’t very exciting. If you go with a patterned shirt, make sure it has a subtle pattern within the color family we’ve been talking about — gray, black, or white.

  97. Hey guys!Great article. So i have this school farewell coming up and I’ve got myself a black suit. I’m just not sure what color shirt i should wear and whether i should go for a tie or a bow. I’m 5 feet 9 inches tall,on the thinner side, and have black hair and brown eyes. Could you guys help me out? thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey there, Saj. This might be a tricky look to pull off, especially since a graduation is a celebratory event. Your only good options for shirt color are white or gray. Since you have dark hair and eyes, you should probably wear gray shirt, it could have a small pattern like this herringbone one. As for a tie or bow tie? Go with a tie. To add a little more texture to your look, you could try rocking a knit tie. Sorry, we know, this isn’t very exciting, but there’s only so many ways to wear a black suit stylishly!

  98. Sorry i know you don’t recommend all black :( but i read your article only now when we already purchased all black – coat, vest, shirt and pants for my son’s JS prom. So you mean no tie or bow tie needed sir? Thanks so much

    1. It’s okay, it’s only his prom so he’ll have plenty of time to recover from this outfit :)

      Jokes aside, your son should probably be wearing a tie or bow tie to his prom. Since everything else is all black, you don’t have many options. But please, don’t go with black. We would normally recommend gray, but that’s not very festive for a prom. It might be smart for him to choose a tie/bow tie in a color similar to his dates dress, but in a very dulled down version of that color. High contrast will not help his cause here!

  99. What bow tie goes with a black coat and suit?

    1. A lot. Since there’s a lot that goes with a black coat and black suit, don’t wear a black bow tie. That wouldn’t be very creative and you might end up looking like a waiter. The color you do choose should be based off your coloring, the first and most important rule we defined in this post. To get a better idea of not only what matches, but what will look better on you, check out these secrets.

  100. Hey …I have a question.
    I have a fair skin… I am 5 ‘8
    I have my 12standard farewell this month
    what colour suit n combination should I wear to look the best amongst all?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s an impossible question for us to answer Mudit. After all, we’d have to see you to know what looked good on you. That’s the thing about style. There are no right answers. Black Lapel was founded on the principle that one size or color or cut does not fit all.

      That said, the simplest solution is to wear something neutral like a dark gray or a navy blue solid suit. It is hard to turn those into showstoppers, but a simple suit that fits great always gets positive attention.

  101. hi
    I m 5 feet 3 inch guy I want ware suit. plz suggest something..

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’ve stumbled across the wrong article, Subbu. Check out this article where we outline the rules for suits for shorter men!

  102. sandeep tewari says:

    which shirt wear in black suit……

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Assuming you read section one about choosing shirt colors, it sounds like you’re inquiring about the type of shirt you should wear with a suit. That depends on where you intend to wear the suit. If you’re going to a dressy occasion, a dress shirt is appropriate. If it’s a more casual affair, a T-shirt or knit can be appropriate. It all depends on where and how you want to wear it.

  103. what color pocket square would look good with an all black suit and dress shirt. It is beter to do simple color pocket square or a flashy look.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The answer to your question is sort of a mashup of sections three and five from above. As we said in section five, don’t go overboard on black. You’ve got the shirt and suit. Stop there. Don’t put on a tie and don’t wear a black pocket square (nobody will see it anyway). And as we said in section three, keep the accessories simple. Don’t try to “get creative” with some brightly colored pocket square. Keep is simple, with a white.

      Easy, right?

  104. Hi Sir, which color shirt will look perfect on a waist coat of black color for party ? Red or Dark blue ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Neither red, nor dark blue would be good choices for shirts to wear with a black waistcoat. Red and black is just a nasty combination. We’ve yet to see anyone pull it off.

      Dark blue and black won’t really create enough contrast and the whole look can come off kind of muddy. Instead, if you like blue, try a light blue shirt with black.

  105. Hello All, I need your suggestion.
    I have a dark Navy blue suit for my marriage and in confusing of wearing a dark shirt or light shirt. Please suggest whether dark brown belt & shoes will go with the suit or not?

    1. A white shirt is the most formal and the perfect choice for a wedding, Kiran. A pale blue shirt would also work. Every shade darker is a step towards a more casual look which probably isn’t appropriate for a wedding.

      Dark brown shoes go well with navy blue, so you’re on the right track there.

  106. I’ve got fair skin, no hair and blue eyes.

    How do I rock a black suit for a wedding or out on a less formal occasion.

    Shirt/tie combo’s please

    1. Sorry, Marc, but a black suit is probably your least wearable thing you could own. That’s why we started the article with the section on working with your own coloring. So if you’re considering getting a black suit, take this as our recommendation to stop in your tracks and choose a more forgiving fabric color, like a medium or dark gray.

      If that ship has sailed and you’ve eschewed our advice in section one, then you’ve got a tough row to hoe. Shaving your head places you squarely in the low skin-to-hair-contrast category since there is no hair to contrast with. That means go easy on the contrast in your outfits. Forego anything with white in it when looking at shirts and ties. Instead, opt for gray shirts and ties. To add a touch of color without going overboard (see section three above) try a blue shirt and tie combination to match your eyes.

  107. Hi I have a black suit and i want to wear it on nye. Im thinking of a bowtie under the suit what suggestion would you give me. My skin is like brown and im 5 foot 9. Thanks

    1. A black suit for evening is a fine choice. We’re not big fans of the black suit and bow tie look, though. The bow tie can make it look like you wish you had a tuxedo on. Instead, we’d suggest following the guidance above and adding a textured gray necktie to your ensemble for a cohesive look.

  108. Hello, I need some help to my new years eve outfit! Well, I think I’m going for a black suit(because this is only I have). It’s good looking so I think it will do the job. I can’t decide the color of the shirt though. I’m down to navy and charcoal gray. Moreover, I can’t figure if I’m going for bow tie or tie and of course the color of it(white, black, burgundy). You can say I’m going to a classy club by the way. I appriciate all comments. Thank you.

    1. Since this is an evening event, a dark shirt and a black suit are appropriate. But a navy blue shirt and a black suit makes for a muddied combination. If the shirt is going to be dark, make it black or charcoal gray rather than adding a color to the mix.

      As for the tie, we wouldn’t suggest wearing one with a dark shirt. Dark shirts are, by nature, more casual and look best open collared. If a tie is mandatory, try a necktie instead of a bow tie. A bow tie with a black suit is kind of a half-step towards a tux. Style is not about half-steps. (Yoda’s advice “Do or do not, there is no try” applies to style.) We’d suggest going with a black knit tie to keep the vibe a little more casual. Since this is a fairly low contrast outfit when it comes to color, the textural contrast of the knitted silk against the smoothness of the suit and shirt will really help your overall look.

  109. Hi, Your advice about the black shirt and black suit is pretty solid however I have actually gone with a black suit, black shirt combination (sorry). I’ve got pretty pale skin I’ve added a charcoal grey tie. I’ve got a couple of pocket squares and tie clips to choose from, plain white or white with a grey outline for the pocket squares and black, silver or matt silver tie clips. My wrist watch is silver. Any advice would be appreciated (please don’t tell me to change the shirt, I do kind of like it 😛 )

    1. Is this a setup? It sounds like some sort of George Costanza experiment where you ask us what to do and then do the opposite. After all, how can we give a credible recommendation on adding to the outfit, when all you have to do is scroll up to see that we don’t recommend the whole outfit?

      Okay, we’ll bite: white pocket square with gray piping and silver tie clip.

      You’ll just have to trust that this isn’t a double-cross and we’re not giving you the opposite of our advice so that you’ll actually wear what we would normally advise, which is the opposite. (Whoa, we just totally blew our own minds! Time for a break.) Good luck James.

      1. haha love the comment, trust me it’s a one off for a works night out and 4 out of the 5 other guys are wearing a black suit with a white shirt and black tie. Thought I’d do something slightly different, if Gerard Butler can pull it off maybe I can too, we are both pale Scotsman after all.

        1. Okay, James. You’ll get points for not wearing the same thing as everybody else and we can wholeheartedly support that!

          Hope those pocket square and tie clip recommendations helped. Cheers!

  110. Hi,

    Thanks for the above info. Need some advice. I have a black suit for a wedding I will be attending, unsure of what colour combo of shirt/tie to wear. I have white skin and 6ft, average build.

    1. Our advice in section three above is the key takeaway for you, Shane. Don’t fret over the color combination. There’s no need to perform some sort of chromatic high-wire act to make a black suit look good. Just keep it simple with a white shirt and a black or gray tie, make sure the fit is sharp and enjoy the wedding.

  111. Hi. How is a navy blue suit, navy blue waistcoat, white shirt and blue tie(light blue tie but definitely in contrast with shirt).
    Oh and I’m from south India. Tanned but not too dark.

    1. Well, Goerge, that’s a horse suit of a different color. Navy blue is about as versatile as they get. You can definitely keep things simple with a single color as you have here for a fairly minimalist look., but with navy blue, many more colors of shirts and ties are available to you (as we highlighted in our story on different ways to wear a blue suit.

  112. Hey. Thanks. That was really helpful. I have an idea in mind about which I wanted to know your opinion. I’m a tanned Asian. I have black hair and I have average build. What do you think of
    A black suit with grey/dark grey waistcoat, I have a white shirt with tiny dashed line pattern, means like this ——-
    And with that a purple tie.
    What do you think? If you’re ok with the waistcoat, would you recommend grey or dark grey? And anything else I should keep in mind when getting the black suit? And do you think a white tissue paper sticking out of upper left pocket of the suit will be a little too much? I’m picking the suit for my sister’s wedding.

    1. We were with you until you got to the purple tie, Shab. As noted above, saturated colros can create a clashing, stark contrast with a black suit making you look clownish. If you’re looking to mix in some color, try a gray tie with just the slightest purple hint (like this one).

      As for the pocket square, we’ve seen some pretty inventive pocket squares, but never one made of tissue paper. We’re having trouble picturing it and the crinkling sound it would make every time you go in for a hug (we’re assuming there will be a few hugs at the wedding) would cheapen your whole vibe. The old standbys are old standbys for a reason. Stick with silk, cotton or linen for a white pocket square.

      Enjoy the festivities!

  113. hello I’m of Indian descent and have pretty dark skin. I have a black suit but not too sure what shirt/tie would complement the suit and my skin tone

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s actually easier to pull off a black suit if you have darker skin, so you’ve already got one foot in the door. In order to work with your skin tone, keep the contrast down between your suit and shirt and tie. Go with a shirt with a subtle pattern instead of plain white, and a tie in a muted shade of gray.

    2. bivek sapkota says:

      I am nepali…have a medium complexion.yell me which color shirt and tie will suit best on a gray suit.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Depending on the tone you want to set with your outfit, your complexion allows you to go in two different directions. The first: minimalist. Pair your gray suit with a white or lightly patterned dress shirt and a tie in a muted color, like pale blue. The second: outspoken. I still don’t recommend a white shirt with a brightly colored tie, but you could wear a more aggressively patterned shirt and colored tie to make things a little more interesting. I can’t tell you exactly what to wear, but how you choose to wear your gray suit is up to you.

  114. So if I have brown eyes and hair, does a black suit, white shirt and red/grey tie work?

    1. While we generally subscribe to the “match your ties to your eyes” philosophy, take it with a grain of salt. In the case of a black suit, as we’ve noted above, monochromatic is a sure fire winner. While strong, saturated colors like red can be jarring against a black suit, grays mesh well with black suits. So we say if the tie is mostly gray with just a little bit of red, go for it. Tread lightly, though. If the tie has bold, splashy red stripes, consider replacing it with one that’s just gray, Jaden.

  115. Johnson Tran says:

    I’m a tanned asian, what shirt and tie combinations work with a black suit? Thanks

    1. We applaud you for starting with your skin tone, Johnson. That’s the key element that most guys miss when they put together an outfit. It’s not what clothes look best together, it’s what clothes look best ON YOU. Bravo!

      In your case, we’ll work under the assumption that you have black hair. If that’s the case, you would be considered a medium- to high-contrast skin and hair combination and you should wear medium to high contrast clothing combinations. Try a light gray shirt for a medium contrast with a black suit and a good old-fashioned crisp white shirt for a high contrast. As for ties, we almost always suggest sticking with a monochrome look when wearing a black suit. That means black ties and shades of gray. That doesn’t mean boring, though. Try dialing up the texture with a black knit tie or a wool gray tie with some pattern to it. These kinds of subtle details stand out on a solid black suit and give you an overall cohesive look. Don’t forget a pocket square (same advice as the tie, stick with monochrome, textured choices) and you’ll be ready for anything.

  116. How about black shirt and a white tie?

    1. Nope. We believe that your tie should always be darker than your shirt. That means we never suggest wearing a white tie ever. That also means that we suggest wearing a black shirt without a tie. A black shirt with a tie is an extremely difficult look to pull off because black shirts are, by nature, casual and ties are, by nature dressy.

      If you like black and white combos, reverse this one and go with a white shirt and black tie like in section 5 of this article. It’s a surefire winner.

  117. A Black Suit with a Black Dress Shirt and a different lighter colored print tie is awesome and a very powerful look. Now, I would never wear this to a funeral but to go out to dinner or a show at night is an awesome powerful look. You should only do this look if you have expensive colorful silk ties because they stand out against the Black background.

    1. We’re with you on the black suit and black shirt for an evening look. On the right guy this can come off really sharp. Where we differ is the tie. Our rule of thumb is that your shirt should always be lighter than your tie. That leaves you with no options for a black shirt besides a black tie (which, as we mentioned above, is kind of overkill).

      Still, we’re proponents of individuality, Don. We may not recommend it, but we respect your right to rock it and fully support your attention to detail and looking good.

  118. Hi I’m half asian with fairly tanned skin and black hair and in good shape currently. I was wondering if a navy suit would suit my skin tone and hair or whether I should stick to the gray scale coloured suits like black and charcoal etc.
    Thanks

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A navy blue suit works on everybody, David. That’s because dark blue can be a bit of a chameleon, it gets bluer when worn with blue shirts, ties and pocket squares and gets darker when paired with white shirts and grayscale tones.

      In your case, you can go even a shade darker and get a Midnight Blue to balance out the darkness of your hair but that’s more about your personal preference than any sort of style rule.

      By the way, just because you have dark hair and tan skin, doesn’t mean you have to stick with dark blue and dark gray suits. You can wear lighter colored suits. The trick is to match the amount of contrast in your hair and skin with the amount of contrast in your outfit. As you can see in this outfit a dark brown tie and dark brown shoes are all the contrast with the suit that’s needed to make the dark-haired, olive-skinned gentleman in these photos look great. The point, David, is not to fear lighter, brighter colors, just balance them out.

  119. Hi I’m about to start my sixth form college where the dress code is ‘business dress’ and I have bought a black suit. I don’t really want to wear it with a plain white shirt and black tie in the fear it could look like I should be at a funeral. What colour and style combinations would you recommend for the shirt and tie.
    I am part asian with black hair tanned skin and I am of quite an athletic build.
    Thanks

    1. That’s the issue with black suits, as you noted, they’re not really “business dress.” There are ways to make the black suit work in a business setting, though. First, stick with a monochrome by wearing grays but mix up the shades and textures. Try a wool gray tie like this or a light gray shirt.

      And of course, you’ll need more than one suit. May we suggest one of ours to give a little more versatility to your closet?

  120. Hi…I’m 53 years old and have a head of white, not gray, hair. I’m 5’10” about 175lbs with medium complexion and was looking for new suit to go to my nephews wedding. I was thinking replacing my old dark blue suit with a medium gray solid color suit that would not clash as much with my hair. Would that be a good way to go? What color shirt & tie option would you suggest? I plan on wearing black shoes, black belt.

    1. While a navy blue suit works on anyone, matching your suit to your hair is a smart move, Bill. That’s one of the secrets to what we call dressing from the inside out.

      Another key to dressing from the inside out: match your ties to your eyes. If you’ve got brown eyes a combination of a brown tie with a gray suit can look exceptionally strong on you. That said, you mentioned wanting to wear black leather. Combining black and brown is tough. So we say stick with deep dark colors for the tie like hunter green or a textured maroon tie. Both of these go well with either black or brown leather and a simple white shirt (when in doubt, put on your best solid white dress shirt).

  121. Hi, one question, I read a comment about that black shirt don’t need tie, i have white suit, and i love to wear it with a black shirt, so i would like to ask you is it bad to wear black tie on black shirt, is it like for a funeral? or its ok? You can recommend me other tie colors, but please answer on that specific question is it bad (like for funeral) to wear black tie on black shirt with white suit? Thanks for answer!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hold your horses there, my friend. It’s not that this much black might remind people of a funeral, it’s just too much black to be stylish in a suit. I wouldn’t put this much black up against a white suit, the contrast will be blinding. If you want to include black in your look, go for just a black tie (perhaps knit), white dress shirt, and wear black dress shoes. That’s all the black a white suit can handle!

      1. thanks

  122. meant wearing and not earing im not that daring or naf! and chap as in man and not chip as in thin cut potato, although I am slim but….anyway I would like to hear your advice as another opinion is always welcome. hope english terms are understood naf=not the done thing old boy!;)

  123. I have fair skin and hair and was thinking of earing a black burberry suit jacket to a wedding what would you suggest to go with it? it is not very black but still black nonetheless! I have a pair of burberry black slim fitted trousers that are a pretty good match but not the exact tone but very close, that ok?? I have a nice fitted white shirt maybe a light blue tie and silk for the pocket?? or as a pale chp bin the lot!!!! bloody hell that was a waist of money. I thought it looked ok as I’m not fat and it fits well! wedding quit soon and bins go out soon so….

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If there’s a black suit I approve of, and there aren’t many, a slim fit black Burberry suit is one of them. I think it’s okay to wear the semi-matching trousers, your off-black ensemble will look less serious at a wedding than a stark black suit would. Since your appearance is fair, I think the light blue tie sounds like a good match, just make sure the contrast isn’t too blinding!

  124. Hi, thanks for the article. I have dirty blond hair and blue eyes, and I have fair skin in the winter that gets easily tan in the summer, just to give you a sense of my features. I really would rather wear a midnight navy suit and silver tie for my sister’s wedding (it’s a summer evening wedding, by the way), but she’s making me wear a black suit and black tie. Would this wash me out or would it look good on me? Would a peak lapel take away the “funeral” vibe of a black suit? And lastly, would a white pocket square be good, or would a cream silk pocket square add the right, subdued splash of color. Note that I will be wearing an actual, small pink rose on my lapel when walking down the aisle. Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sounds like sis could use a look at this story, but she’s got enough to worry about as she gets ready for the wedding. So, assuming there’s no talking her out of a black suit, you’re on the right track with your customization ideas. A peak lapel will help to punch up the look a bit, as will a cream pocket square (not as stark as the white so the contrast won’t be quite so severe.

      One more last ditch effort to respond to your sister’s request: ask her if you can sport a black tux instead.

  125. Hey, ive got the black suit jacket, pants and shoes, with white shirt but im looking to spice it up a bit. my date is wearing a red dress and would like to complement that to some extent, so i was thinking a red bow tie or pocket square? what is the best combo tie/bow tie and pocket square sort of combo that has red in it? thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We much prefer the black suit with monochrome accessories, Trent. Wearing saturated colors with a black suit can create harsh contrasts that can look jarring or overpower a look. So our overall advice is to tread lightly with the red. Instead, punch up the look with pattern or textural contrast. Go with a gray tie that’s got some pattern to it, like this, or some depth to it, like this. Then you can add small touches of red like a lapel flower or a bracelet or a tie bar.

  126. I am without my gray suit for an upcoming wedding and all I have is my black suit, what color pairings can I go with to brighten things up? It is a semi-formal wedding and I would like to wear something a shade more lively than just white shirt and black tie. I have been thinking about a sky blue shirt with a salmon or navy tie? If so, what patterns should I look for? Additionally, what are your thoughts on a shirt pairing with a gold tie? Classic white? Thank you!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our thoughts on brightening up a black suit with colors? Tread very carefully. Strong colors can create harsh contrast when paired with a black suit. That’s why we often suggest going monochrome when wearing a black suit and wearing a gray tie and a white shirt and that’s what we suggest you do, Logan.

      Remember, there are more ways to add visual interest to a look than adding colors. A tie with a pattern, like this, can really liven up a look. A solid knit tie, like this, can add texture and depth to your look. With a subtle touch you can make a black suit look more festive.

  127. Hey there, I’m Denom and I’m a Sri Lankan. I’ve got an evening wedding and I bought a black suit. Can you suggest me a shirt and tie color that would go along with the black suit I’ve purchased. its an evening mass wedding followed by the reception. I’ve got black hair and I’m tan. A bit fat also.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black suits limit the amount of color you put into an outfit. The old idea that black goes with everything isn’t really true when it comes to suits. A black suit often creates an overly strong contrast with colored accessories and shirts making the whole outfit come off rather loud. Our solution is to work with shades of gray. Try a simple white shirt and a black or gray tie. The gray tie doesn’t need to be a boring solid. It can have a pattern, include some texture (like a knit tie or a linen or wool tie) and even include subtle hint of color. The idea here is to play more with pattern and texture instead of color to add visual interest.

  128. I’m going to a very good friend’s wedding and I have a black suit. What shirt and tie colours should I wear? I have a fair complexion and black hair and green eyes.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You may notice a trend in our replies to the comments for this story. We almost always tell guys not to try to wear bright colors with a black suit. The contrast is usually quite jarring and saturated colors on a black suit can quickly tip the scales towards clownish.

      That said, in your case, we will not give our usual stick with monochromatic accessories, advice. That’s because of your aforementioned green eyes. With a fair complexion and green eyes and black hair you can follow our advice from Mastering Men’s Fashion from the Inside Out and match your ties to your eyes. Still, we don’t suggest going with a bright strong kelly green tie against a black suit. Keep it subdued to match the suit’s modest look with a pale green.

      As for the shirt, don’t overthink it. Get your best white out and you’re good to go.

  129. hi i will attend a wedding , but now i dont know what kind of suit or color i wear,please help

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black is probably not the best option, Stephen. A black suit is more appropriate for somber formal affairs like funerals and court cases. A wedding means you’ll likely want to add some color to your look. And, as you can see from just about all of the comments above, black limits you to wearing shades of gray and white accessories.

      That doesn’t mean dark suits are off limits, though. If you don’t have a classic navy blue or charcoal suit, this might be the time to invest in one. These wardrobe workhorses can be cheered up with a splash of bright color for a wedding and they will still work just fine for somewhat less festive occassions (like job interviews).

  130. Frankie cooke says:

    Hi going to a wedding next month have ordered a black suit with waist coat and have black shoes it’s an Asian wedding and I’ll be one of the only Caucasian there I’m bald headed with swarthy ish skin. What shirt and tie should I get?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Matching is all about matching the contrast from the neck up with the contrast from the neck down. That’s because we see things in contrast. It’s why a zebra would stand out if surrounded by brown horses. Being bald automatically lowers the amount of contrast you have from the neck up. So you should lessen the contrast in your outfit or your suit will be the zebra and your face will be a bunch of brown horses. And nobody wants that.

      If you had a colored suit we would advise keeping everything in the same color family. In this case, the color family of black is gray. Play with shades of gray like a light gray shirt and dark gray or black tie and you’ll keep all eyes on you, not your choice of neckwear.

  131. Sunischit says:

    Can a teal green tie be paired with a black suit and white shirt for a guy of medium complexion ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A black suit requires a subtle touch. We don’t recommend wearing one with any colors in the accessories but, instead, going for the modernist monochrome look. Why? A teal green tie is already going to scream for attention. If you wear one over an otherwise black and white outfit it will totally steamroll the rest of your outfit and draw all of the attention away from your face and towards your tie. Pair a black suit and white shirt with a gray tie and the whole thing comes together nicely.

  132. Hey, I have my prom on Friday and my date insists on wearing black and gold. I was thinking of wearing a black suit over a black shirt and a slim gold tie. What do you think? I have black hair, and I have a tan, nice yellow looking skin tone going.
    An idea on the type of pocket square and the shade of gold would help too, thanks and it’s this coming Friday and I want to look really epic.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Don’t do it Francis! A black shirt and a tie is a big no-no in our book. Stylish men always wear shirts that are lighter than their ties. In the case of a black shirt that’s impossible. So you’re left with a black tie and looking like Regis Philbin on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, or no tie (which isn’t an option for a formal event).

      As you’ll see in numerous comments above, we recommend sticking with a monochrome look when you’ve got on a black suit. Any colored shirt just creates a jarring contrast. That means a white shirt, or close shades like ivory or light gray. Your safest bet that’s guaranteed to be stylish, Francis, is a white shirt. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Take a look at some stylish men. Prom is like the high school equivalent of the Oscars. Take a look at the best dressed men at this year’s Oscars (as ranked by GQ) and you won’t find anything but white shirts. ‘Nuff said.

  133. I am indian…have a medium complexion.yell me which color shirt will suit best on a black suit.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      White. The thing about a black suit is it’s pretty limiting in terms of shirt colors. The stark contrast created by any colored shirt is usually pretty jarring. So, generally speaking, we recommend monochrome accents when you wear a black suit. That means white, ivory and gray shirts. In your case, with a medium complexion, a white shirt will do the trick. Don’t overcomplicate it. Simple is the name of the game when you wear black.

  134. Hi we are going black and red for our wedding just wondering what colour waistcoat goes best with black suit red tie and red pocket square

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This sounds like it’s going to be one badass wedding, Karl. I would definitely recommend going with a black waistcoat to complete your look, though. Congrats on the wedding though and enjoy!

  135. Hey, got an evening/night event coming up (formal wear). I’m kinda limited to a plain black suit and I was thinking a slim burgundy shirt. White on black looks pretty meh on me. Do you think burgundy would work well and if so could you recommend a tie? Thanks

    (Slim build, brown/v.dark blonde, not pale-skinned but a little too light to be olive, not sure what to call that shade)

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Hey there, I’m thinking a burgundy shirt is too dark to pair with a black suit. If white and black is too high of a contrast for your skin/hair coloring, you could try this Ivory Herringbone Shirt to mute the contrast. The color of this shirt gives you just as many tie pairing options as a white shirt would, so if you still wanted to incorporate burgundy in your look you could wear a burgundy tie! Food for thought.

  136. Pls…i’ll be goin to my graduation ceremony on black suit…jst want to knw if a black and white sneakers can be worn??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Wearing sneakers with a suit can look pretty boss and pulling this off at your graduation will give the whole “Yes, I’m a grown-up but still a kid at heart” vibe. White and black sneakers are totally fine to wear with your black suit. You do you, my friend.

  137. I have a graduation in a few days time! I already have my black suit and a white shirt.
    I have a very dark black skin so I was contemplating on what tie to wear. Should I go for a polka red tie or a solid charcoal black tie? Thank you!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Down to the wire! Just kidding, I have a few ideas. In terms of your skin tone, wearing your solid charcoal black tie will keep the black and white contrast continuous. However graduations are a celebratory event, so I would encourage you to wear your polka dot red tie to spice things up. Have some fun with it!

  138. Hi, Im wearing Black suit for my sisters wedding and Im confused with what colour shirt should be wearing and the tie. The theme is red and gold and white. I’m srilankan and brown skin tone. What would you suggest for my shirt and tie?

    Thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      I think a white shirt will look best with your black suit – it’s a classic look that’s perfect for a wedding. The gold tie is going to complement your skin tone the best, and you’ll still fit into the wedding theme. You’re welcome in advance :)

  139. Hy..
    I wanna go to party.. n i want be men in black.. i mean fulll black.. evrythinh black..not fornal party.. but i wanna wear shirt and coat.. so pls help me..what kind of outfit i use.. i mean tell me evrything.. lyk shoes.. coat pattern.. shirt pattern.. tie.. watch…

    1. Black Lapel says:

      So you’re not going to heed our warning in #5 above, huh Wilson? Alright, well, if you want to go for the true blackout then the outfit is pretty simple.

  140. my wife and I are going to a 30th birthday party which will be on a yacht, in the evening, dress code is formal. I purchased a black suit, black on black pinstripe (dull, not shiny). just curious as to what color shirt i should wear with it. should my wife match my colors?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Tell you what, Rich…we’ll answer your questions, but only if you’ll send us an invitation to the party. Deal? Okay, so we’re on the honor system now and we’ll answer your questions.

      Since you’re wearing a black suit, we’re going to assume it is an evening affair. In that case, we suggest you stay close to eveningwear tradition and go with a sharp white shirt (we like this luxurious feeling herringbone shirt for dressy summer affairs and simple black or dark gray tie. It sounds like a simple outfit. That’s because it is. So is a tuxedo. In menswear, when in doubt, simplify.

      As for whether your wife should match your colors, we say no. You wife should match your level of formality, not the colors in your outfit. She’s a woman, not an accessory. Don’t worry, people will know you are together.

  141. Hi

    I am Planning to wear black suite in white shirt with a black tie and red pocket square for my wedding on next month.please let me know if these colors will match as the bride is wearing a red colored dress

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This outfit will work. The red pocket square accent color will definitely stand out against all of the black and white, but that’s sort of the point, right? We aren’t much for the couples matching thing but this is a case where it sounds like you’re going to pull it off with style. We approve.

  142. Should i wear this color combinations to my prom? Friends think it would like like im going to the funerary.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yes, Miguel, a black suit doesn’t exactly say “I’m here to party!” Still, it’ll work because prom is at night and black is much more appropriate for an after dark event than, say, a midday party. We say go for it.

  143. Hi,

    I am getting married and picked black 3 piece suite for big day and now have to select white shirt but don’t know what kind of collar will add value to shirt and red color silk tie will be a good pick?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The collar choice is an easy one, Ahmad. Instead of choosing a collar that will add value (Are you planning on reselling this shirt after the wedding?), choose one that works for your face. We’ll show you how here.

      As for the tie, we put together the whole outfit for you in our black 3-piece suit look.

  144. I’m 53 years old, 6’3″, about 240 lbs. I’m attending a charity event and am planning to wear a nicely tailored black suit along with a white shirt. I would like your suggestion on a good tie and pocket square color combination that would make me look age appropriate yet “with it”. Most of the other guests will be younger and some are professional athletes.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A black suit and white shirt is as close as you can get to a formal black tie look without wearing a tuxedo. Take your cues from the traditional black tie getup and resist the urge to add splashy colors to this ensemble. Go with a simple monochrome look. A white linen pocket square is always appropriate. A black tie, like this one, or a gray one, like this one, will keep the look sharp. When it comes to colors to wear with a black suit, as the old saying goes, less is more.

  145. Hi, I’m going to wear a black suit to my schools graduation ball. could you help me out with what colour of shirt and tie I should wear? Is it acceptable to wear a patterned shirt and a pain tie with a black suit? I have quite a tanned skin tone as well.
    Thanks,Calum

    1. Black Lapel says:

      No Calum, it is unacceptable. Your fashion license will be revoked immediately!

      Just kidding, yes, you can wear a patterned shirt with a plain tie. A patterned shirt is a nice way to break up all the solids in this outfit. In section three above, we wrote about keeping the accessories simple (you took our advice with a solid tie). The same is true for the shirt. Keep the shirt’s pattern simple, like these striped shirts, to work well with the simplicity of the suit.

  146. robbie goldstein says:

    This is a great site just found it read the advice needed some advice on a black suit Wolla thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’re happy to help you out! We’ve got plenty of advice on how to wear another staple, the navy blue suit, too.

  147. Hi,

    I am 28, 5’10” normal frame. I am an Indian and my skin color is brown (a little bit on the darker side). My hair color is black. I am too confused in selecting the color of the tuxedo/suit that I should wear for my engagement celebration. My fiancee is wearing a magenta colored Indian dress.Could you please suggest the color and style of tuxedo/suit I should be wearing.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you’re going to wear a tuxedo, a black one is the traditional choice and one that would work well with your black hair. If you want to wear a suit, black can work, since you’ve got black hair, but it’s not your only choice. As we noted in our story on how to build a suit and our secrets to mastering men’s fashion from the inside out, the answers to the question “what color should I wear?” is looking right back at you in the mirror. If you want to wear a dark suit, charcoal or midnight blue can work. If you’ve got brown eyes, a dark brown might also do the trick. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but we’d suggest taking a look at those stories and starting with those fabrics.

  148. If I wore a black shirt under a black suit with a tiffany blue tie, would thatbe okay for a wedding?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Not in our book. See #5 above. Black shirts are casual and should be worn almost exclusively without ties. Pairing it with a light blue tie like you’re describing will make the tie appear neon and draw all of the attention away from your face.

      Our advice on how to wear a black suit is above, but if that’s not enough, you can always talk to a Black Lapel stylist for some one-on-one advice by emailing us at concierge@blacklapel.com.

  149. I have a black suite.can u tell me which colour shirt,tie and pants i want to wear.(my skin tone are white and hair are black).

    1. sorry not suite its a black blazer with some little red lines

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Tip #3 above applies to the shirt and tie too, Jujin. A black suit is a modest look. Don’t mess around with the look by adding all sorts of colors and patterns. Keep it simple with a white shirt and either a black or gray tie.

  150. Alexander Carducci says:

    Hey I’m 18, 5’10 normal frame. I have dark brown hair and I’m fairly tan. I’m going to my prom I already wore a Navy blue suit to hoco so now I got a black one. My date is wearing a white dress, naturally my tie is suppose to match her dress. This puts me in a bad spot bc I cant wear a white tie with a white dress shirt. So I thought I’d wear a black shirt underneath with a white tie. Is this acceptable?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s only acceptable if you want to pigeonhole yourself right into the high school skater boy stereotype. We say don’t do it. Just because your lady friend is wearing a white dress doesn’t mean you have to wear a white tie. You could go with a more mature look and opt for a black tie, or add a pop of color that will match the flowers and corsage you get her (hint: don’t forget the corsage, Alexander).

  151. Im gonna go to graduation, and im so confused to choose the colour of the tie, i have black suit and white short, my skin is brown im from indonesia, can you solve my problem about what colour im gonna wear in my tie ? Thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You have a lot of options here, so don’t stress. One color we wouldn’t recommend though is a black because that seems too serious for a lively event such as a graduation. Since it’s spring, a light blue tie seems fitting for the season and for your skin tone. Other light, springy colors will work as well. No need to go crazy with prints and patterns. A solid tie will work just fine.

  152. Really nice article.

    I would like to know if it would be ok to wear a black jacket (two buttons), a white shirt (with black buttons), and a pair of grey pants (http://www.soletopia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/gray-herringbone-dress-pants-slim-fit-tapered-cut.jpg something like those), black belt and shoes, with a grey slim tie at a wedding, or maybe a red or black bow tie? The wedding is going to be in the night and the invitation says formal suit, I´m a guest, and I am 16 years old. And in case that it is not the best choice, any recommendations?

    Thanks.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Given that you’re a young’un, you will probably be afforded some leeway on the dress code, but if you want to follow the dress code we recommended that you don’t mix and match suit separates.

      You don’t need to invest in a tuxedo, but a coordinating suit is your best bet. Getting matching black dress pants for your black suit jacket is the smart move.

      Stay tuned for an upcoming post on Wedding Dress Code!

  153. I was wondering how bad of an idea would it be to wear a black suit with navy dress shoes?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yikes! Sounds like you’re not very confident about stepping onto this particularly thin branch of the style tree. Your fears are well-founded, Tom. Navy shoes with a black suit would be a strange look to say the least.

      If you were to reverse it, however, and wear black shoes with a navy blue suit, that can be pretty cool. We know the style dogma you’ve heard out there of late has been brown shoes, brown shoes and more brown shoes, but we’re falling back in love with our black shoes at Black Lapel. Are they always appropriate? No, but with a navy blue suit and a simple shirt and tie combo, they can create a rather impressive look.

  154. hey,im guy with dark skin.i have a black suit,please suggest a tie colour that i can be comfortable with.thank you

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Happy to help you out, Andrew.

      Since you have a darker complexion, a black suit is easier to pull off than it is for a lighter skinned guy. You also have more options when it comes to shirt and tie combinations. Still, we recommend going with a toned down look, like a white shirt and solid gray tie for a seriously stylish monochromatic look. The trick to wearing black is keeping it simple.

  155. naved qureshi says:

    hii… i am planning to wear black tuxido on my wedding reception, but m confused about shirt combination and i also want to wear bow tie.. please help me out…

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black tie attire (which includes tuxedos) comes with its own set of rules, Naved. We’ve covered the basics in our Black Tie 101 story. Of course, if you want to bend those rules, you can. We show you how in the Beyond Black Tie story we published a little while back. Between those two stories, you’ll find all the guidance you need to pull off a killer black tie look.

  156. Terminator says:

    Can a black tie,white shirt and black suit be paired with brown shoes ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black suits call for black shoes. Case closed. Plus, in the outfit you’re describing black shoes will also help to keep your monochrome look all together.

  157. Can I wear a black suit and shirt,with a deep maroon tie? If not,what would you advise for this shirt/tie combo? My skin is light brown.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      If you look at the last graphic we provided you with in the story, you’ll see that a black shirt isn’t your best move. The maroon tie will look good with your black suit and skin tone, but opt for much lighter shirt color. P.S., can’t go wrong with white.

  158. I have my farewell party. So would a black shirt with a black suit (without any tie) be nice and stylish? Or will a black shirt be okay with a black blazer?

    1. A black shirt with a black suit can work, but heed our advice above about not going overboard on the black. Stop at the shirt. The only other black item in your outfit ought to be your socks, and that’s only if you wear a full black suit. (If the pants aren’t black go with socks that match your pants, not your shirt and jacket).

  159. Can I wear a shawl lapel blazer to a funeral?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Not if you can avoid it, Thato. The lapel question aside, a blazer is a little informal for a funeral. We suggest a suit. Black is the funeral choice, but a charcoal blue works as well. If there’s one event you want to tone down your style for, this is it.

      That said, we’ve been to some funerals for some pretty dapper guys. Knowing that they would have appreciated us adding a little bit of tasteful flair to our outfits we dropped in just the faintest touch of an accent (like a tie bar). But only do things like that if you know it won’t offend the grieving family. And don’t do anything even remotely approaching showing off.

  160. Unrelated to the post, but thought you guys may find interesting. From today’s journal.
    http://m.wsj.com/articles/slim-suits-loosen-up-1416438021?mobile=y

    1. Funny you should mention this Angel. We’ll be writing more about the fit choices athletic build guys have in the coming months.

      Larger and more muscular men do have problems when trying to shop for slim-fit off-the-rack suits. That’s the beauty of clothing that’s made to your precise measurements. Because a Black Lapel slim fit is slim in proportion to you, not a mannequin, bigger guys don’t have to try to squeeze in to some designer’s vision of “slim” to get a suit that fits.

  161. Awesome tips, but yet so obvious when first being informed. One question though, what about the black, black and black, when actually in mourning? Would it be appropriate for a funeral? Thanks.

    1. A black shirt is, by nature, less formal. We don’t recommend wearing them with ties. So, no, we wouldn’t wear this to a funeral. It’s kind of a statement look and the last place you need to be “making a statement” is at a funeral.

      Save black shirt for when you want to go out and have a good time at night. For a daytime funeral, pay your respects in a simple white shirt and black suit, Jon.

  162. Mark Sanders-Ferriera says:

    Loved the information, especially since I just purchased my first all black suit with vest. As I put it all together I will keep these five essentials in mind.

    Have one quick question though. How about bow ties, smart looking in correct color and texture? Have been seeing them pop up a bit more and was wondering if more of a fad or always appropriate where ties are. This being the case, what kind of man and look can pull this off? Thanks.

    1. Bow ties have been around too long to call them a fad. Though they can seem like a fad when a new guy comes to the office wearing bow ties and you start to see them a few times a week.

      We like bow ties. (Check out the new collection we started offering from Mister Nice Tie to see some of our faves.) They’re a fun way to change things up.

      Getting back to the topic of this story, the one time we don’t recommend a bow tie is when you’re wearing a black suit. It starts to look like a half-assed tuxedo. Better to go all the way and get yourself a tux, than to wear a bow tie with a black suit.

  163. Nice call on all points, especially the last one. Can’t be rollin around all monochromatic like Regis Philbin. I think black suits are only for certain and specific occassions. I do not consider black a good color for an office (work or professional setting) and I do not prefer black dress shirts, even for going out.

    In any event, great job on all the write-ups and guides. I truly appreciate the insight and hard-work!

    1. There’s something about black that keeps guys coming back to it, and perhaps overusing it. We don’t pull ours out that often but when we do, we try to get it right, by following all of these guidelines. Hence, we thought we’d share.

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