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Picking The Right Suit Color Is Not So Black And White

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how to pick the best suit colors

There are so many choices when it comes to picking suit colors but when it comes down to it, there are three main categories: shades of blue, shades of gray (including black) and shades of brown. At Black Lapel, we’ve seen a strong predilection towards blue.

Common Suit Colors Breakdown

best suit colors breakdown

A little more information leads us to some reasons why blue might be dominant. For one, a navy blue suit is great foundation piece. Second, the ways men use suits are different now. Suits are less of a workaday uniform than they were a generation ago. Today, men are using suits more for wedding attire and blue is wedding friendly because it pairs well with wedding colors and bridesmaid dresses of many shades.

As you’ve probably already noticed, the rules of dress codes have changed of late, but the rules of thumb for building a collection of suit colors that cast you in the best light remain the same. Lots of rules, we know. Stay up to date on new rules by subscribing to The Compass.

Rules of Thumb For Picking the Best Suit Colors

Rule #1 – Always pair your suits & your hair

This is the number one rule for a reason. This rule yields great results. But interpreting this rule is the trick. It DOES NOT mean that if you have brown hair you must wear only brown suits. Instead, focus on matching your hair’s shade to your suit’s shade. If you’ve got dark hair, dark suit colors naturally frame your face and will look better on you than someone with light hair. If you’ve got dark brown hair, a dark brown suit will work for you, but so will a dark gray suit or a dark blue suit. The key word is dark.

best suit colors for your hair

Rule #2 – Go in order

When you are first building a wardrobe, start with foundation colors like the classic blues and grays. As you build, push further toward the edges with less expected colors.

Go in Order

Rule #3 – Play to the base

This advice isn’t just for political candidates. When considering patterned fabrics, many men get hung up on the fact that there are multiple colors in the fabric when all you need to focus on is the base color. A gray plaid suit is still, all-in-all, a gray suit. Does the windowpane pick up the blue on your eyes? Great. The pinstripes are in your favorite color? Good for you. But there is almost always one dominant color in a fabric. That’s the one to focus on when you’re building your collection.

Play To The Base

Don’t overthink it

Remember a suit is just one ingredient in the dish called an outfit. Your choices in shirt colors and accessories like ties, pocket squares and socks can all take their chromatic cues from your suit colors. So the simpler your palette, the easier it is to dress well. Hint: dressing well is even easier if you’re subscribed to style.

How about you?

What’s your closet look like compared with other Black Lapel guys? Do you have more browns? Fewer blues? Let us know in the comments below. What’s next in your collection?

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7 thoughts on “Picking The Right Suit Color Is Not So Black And White”

  1. Matching one’s suit to one’s hair in certainly a sound principle, but where should bald guys take their colour cute from? Hopefully not a 1970s Telly Savalas “Kojak” safari suit in off-white!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      LOL. Definitely not—Kojak’s style is all his own. Although now that we think about it, that would be an excellent Halloween costume.

      Anyways…bald men should take cues from their skin tone and eye color. If your skin and eyes are both light, stay away from really dark, saturated suit colors. If your skin and eyes are both dark, the opposite is true. If your cues are mixed (dark skin and light eyes or light skin and dark eyes), you have a bit more wiggle room. That being said, we recommend you still stay away from stark contrast.

  2. It’s interesting that this excellent article implicitly reinforces the message which many of us have learnt through making an expensive mistake – namely that a black suit is easy to buy, and very difficult to wear.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Preach! We steer guys away from the black suit on the regular, so we’re glad you already know better. Thanks for reading.

  3. Great update on your old “Pick suit colors that match you” post.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sounds like you’ve been checking out The Compass for a while, Gilbert. We’re happy we can help.

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