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The Compass  /  Personal StyleSeasonalSuits  /  A Guide to Summer’s Stylish Blue Suits

A Guide to Summer’s Stylish Blue Suits

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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!

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19 thoughts on “A Guide to Summer’s Stylish Blue Suits”

  1. that Royal Blue suit reminds me of the suit that will smith was wearing in Bad Boys 2. The scene where Martin asked him if he was a model or a Cop lol. Anyways after watching that scene, i wonder if BL can copy those inner lining colors

    1. Will Smith hasn’t called us yet, but when he does, we’ll be sure to suit him up properly in a Royal Blue!

  2. Philologus says:

    What do you guys think about midnight navy? Not for the summer per se but in general?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Midnight Navy is a good look in our book. We wouldn’t make one unless we liked it. We gave it a pinstripe. Its color is subdued but its pinstripe is a power move. This suit follows Teddy Roosevelt’s advice, it speaks softly but carries a big stick.

  3. I already stepped it up to 10 with the Spanish Blue suit. I really love it and have gotten lots of compliments on it.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nice Mike. Wear that bad boy to a Kansas basketball game and you’ll definitely get props!

  4. Thanks! So would you consider even the Spanish Blue as work-safe?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      “Work-safe” is a relative term. If you work in a real straight-laced office in, say, accounting or banking or finance or…well…pretty much anything where your hands are holding other people’s money on a regular basis, you’re best off giving the appearance of being solid, secure, reliable and generally conservative in your choices. If, however, you work in a field that requires and encourages creativity like entertainment, marketing, public relations, publishing, design or lion-taming (ok, so that last one’s a stretch), the Spanish Blue is an option. Still, no matter what your field, stay true to yourself. If you’re a conservative dressing lion-tamer, stick with the navy and the pinstriped gray.

  5. Royal Blue looks interesting. Is it something that can still be worn at the workplace or is there too much “swagger” to it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The Royal Blue is a great choice for the office for a couple of reasons.

      One, the swagger meter in this post is relative. You could definitely go out and find some blue suits on the market that are inappropriate for the office but all of the ones featured above are well within the realm of good taste whether you’re on the clock or off.

      Two, there’s nothing wrong with having some swagger on the job. If you’re punching the clock it signals that you’re “going places”. If you’re the boss, punching up your wardrobe a bit tells your team you’re confident and open to new ideas.

  6. Yeah what a great Spanish Blue. Any fears of it selling out soon?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The Spanish Blue is still pretty new, but the time is right to jump into one.

      Today is the first day of summer, after all, and that bad boy looks great in sunny weather.

  7. Great article! Although I wish the swagger level for my Charcoal Blue suit that I’m wearing today was at least a 3! I guess I’ll just let my natural swagger bring it up. haha. Also, I think the Solid Light Charcoal Blue deserves at least a 6 because it stands out on it’s own!

    I guess it’s all how you wear it.

    – Justin

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yes, Justin, your natural swagger is the best source! You’re also right about how you wear the suit. You can definitely turn up the swagger on all of these suits with shirts, ties and accessories that really pop.

      One other thing about the swagger levels, these suits were ranked relative to each other. None of them go overboard on the swagger. We’ve seen some loud suits in our day but this post was about the blue suits that anyone (from trad to mod) could mix into their wardrobe.

  8. I really want a light charcoal blue suit… will you be getting more in stock?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re not alone, Alex. The Light Charcoal Blue suits have been getting lots of love and selling out quickly. They’re back now. Check them out.

  9. Knowing me and my personality it would have to be the Spanish Blue. I think it looks great. I get a lot of idea styles from The Compass. Keep it up guys, it’s fantastic. I’m in line for a new suit soon

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Now you’re talking, Michael. Hola Spanish Blue!

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