He’s the anchor of your closet. He grounds your entire wardrobe. He has taken you from job interviews to weddings to dates to court dates (well…let’s hope more of the former and less of the latter). He is a trusted friend who stood by you through thick and thin. You have relied on him for almost any occasion. But now it’s time to give him a rest. We’re talking about your navy blue suit, of course.

You  read that right – leave your navy suit in the closet. Don’t worry, he’s a classy veteran, he won’t complain about sitting on the bench for a bit while some of the rookies get some PT. He’ll be there when you come back and of course, you will come back…because you do need him.

But summer is starting and this, friends, is the summer of blue, or more accurately, the summer of the new blues. Blue is the dominant color of the planet. So why, when it comes to suits, are most men only wearing one shade of it, religiously, monotonously, mind-numbingly? No more. Say it with us: There’s more to blue than just navy.

We can hear a few of you grumbling now, “Navy blue is a classic! Any other blue suit will make me look like I just stepped off the set of Miami Vice.” If you’re a bit skittish about wearing a non-traditional blue suit, never fear. So, we’ve put together a quick primer on incorporating the new blues into your summer style. Using some of Black Lapel’s latest blues, Charcoal Blue, Light Charcoal Blue, Royal Blue and Spanish Blue, we’ll take you across the style spectrum from subtle variations on navy blue to lighter blues that come on strong.

Charcoal Blue Custom Suit

Charcoal Blue Custom Suit SwatchVersatility Level: 8

Swagger Level: 2

Wear it once every: Week

If you’ve got your “foundation suits” (e.g. navy blue, charcoal) and are looking to take a baby step towards a more unique blue, the Charcoal Blue is a safe, quality choice. You can sport this on a weekday to the office with a solid white shirt and just about any tie in your collection and you’ve stepped out onto one of the sturdier branches on the non-traditional blue tree with virtually no chance of falling on your ass.

Light Charcoal Blue Custom Suit

Light Charcoal Blue Custom Suit SwatchVersatility Level: 7

Swagger Level: 5

Wear it once every: 1-2 weeks

The degree of difficulty goes up a smidge with this lighter version of charcoal blue. There’s no mistaking it for gray. This suit doesn’t front. You are now staunchly wearing blue. Embrace it. You can wear this bad boy on the regular, year-round, but it’ll pack more of a punch if you keep it caged up for a week or two and then bust it out with a pair of light brown shoes that highlight your lightened mood on that day.

You can pretty much play spin the bottle with a color wheel and land on a good shirt and tie color for this suit. Try a pastel shirt (striped or patterned is nice) and a more saturated tie in the same color family and you’ll find the sweet spot between stylish and simple.

Royal Blue Custom Suit

Royal Blue Custom Suit SwatchVersatility Level: 5

Swagger Level: 8

Wear it once every: 2-3 weeks

Congratulations, you have moved up to the varsity style squad with this suit. Rock this funky joint harder than a Poor Righteous Teacher. You can’t be timid in a suit like this. If safe is your objective, this indigo tinted beauty is probably too strong, but if you’re looking to escape the grip of grayish dark blues, this is a sure-fire winner.

Pair it with the same combos you’d usually wear with your navy, and this baby comes alive. A white shirt is a can’t-miss. Mix up the textures with an open collar chambray shirt, roll up the sleeves, ditch the socks, swap out the shoes for your favorite weekend kicks and it’s Stylish Saturday.

Spanish Blue Herringbone Custom Suit

Spanish Blue Herringbone Custom Suit SwatchVersatility Level: 3

Swagger Level: 10

Wear it once every: 3-4 weeks (in the spring / summer)

A bright, brilliant blue can be a smart way to change things up at the office, but wear it responsibly. A good alternative blue is like a good relief pitcher. You don’t just throw it into your rotation. Pick your spots. A blue like the new Spanish Blue Herringbone from Black Lapel is a statement suit. What’s the statement? That’s up to you. Wear it with accessories from across the color wheel like orange or red and it says, “It’s summer, fellas, and I’m living it up!” It’s a good look for celebrations like summer weddings or just a swanky summer soiree. Wear it with other blues and it says, “Everybody keep your cool.” This more toned down look can take you to a summer business meeting in style and then hang out after work at the bar. (Bonus points if you tie it all together with some Bombay Sapphire at the aforementioned bar.)


Blaze a Trail

If you’ve already kicked it up to 10 on the Swagger Level, and you’re looking to turn it up to 11, perhaps you’re ready for the French Blue Check Custom Blazer from Black Lapel. Throw on this blazer and you’ll feel like someone more famous for singing the blues than wearing them. Chicago Blues godfather Muddy Waters once sang “I’m drinkin TNT, I’m smokin’ dynamite.” Well put sir.


Which blue is working for you this summer? Got any favorites? Leave a comment below!