Black suits have a bad reputation. For many, they're an introduction to tailoring, a set of tailoring training wheels that got you through graduation, your first job interviews, and the second marriage of distant cousins.
Almost every man has it.type of suitbut familiarity need not be boring, an adjective often mistakenly used to describe the black suit. Just ask Rami Malek - who has topped countless best-dressed lists with his Bond villain-worthy all-black palette, or Harry Styles - who occasionally takes a break from millennial Jagger cosplay to step out seriously stylish.monochromatic look.
Both will say: black suits are back, okay.
The black suit: what to look for
There are two main reasons why certain red carpet goers get it right every time. Not a hefty bank balance and an on-call personal trainer - though they certainly help - but an understanding of cut and weave.
In terms of the former, a classic double-breasted style will provide maximum wear (and therefore value). “A lapel button is the most versatile,” says John Harrison, creative director ofSavile linerobustGifts and Falcons. “The single button gives a nod to formal, but the more regular collar allows for smart casual wear.”
With fabric, keep things simple with a midweight fleece with a matte finish. “Avoid bright-looking clothes and avoid contrasting seams or anything new, as this can cheapen your look,” says personal stylist Sarah Gilfillan ofSartoria Laboratory.
“If you have a lighter skin tone, opt for a textured fabric to soften the all-encompassing darkness. Anything too heavy might look harsh on lighter skin tones, but most guys should be able to pull off a black suit with ease.
How to wear a black suit
When should you wear a black suit?
Away from the office, most guys reserve theirbest suitsfor weddings, office Christmas parties, and, on a more depressing note, funerals. In any case (especially for weddings), the invitation often offers the biggest clue as to whether a black suit is appropriate.
If you're asked to wear formal or cocktail attire, black is ideal—especially if it's winter (a full penguin look for a beach wedding is, for obvious reasons, a no-no). In the warmer months, lighter colors like gray or beige are more appropriate and will keep you cool, even if you're the vow-ignoring type.
What color shirt do you wear with a black suit?
A white shirt is the obvious choice when it comes to wearing a black suit — it's simple, it's classic, it's Tarantino-approved — but that doesn't make it the only option.
“Lighter colors make a great backdrop for a black suit – a cream or light gray shirt with a darker tie can give a softer look than a bright white,” says Stephen Quin, director of retail atTurnbull & Asser, maker of shirts for Prince Charles.
Oshirt stylethe choice will depend on your face shape and dress code. As a general rule, Quin suggests a medium collar. “It works for most people and looks great with a tie or an open collar.”
What color tie do you wear with a black suit?
A white shirt and a black tie is one of the most reliable menswear combinations of all time, but even the most minimalist of us like to change things up every now and then.
"A burgundy tie with a stain or micro pattern tends to work well for formal occasions," suggests Quin. “For a smart casual dress, you can opt for an aubergine or gray knit tie.”
Dress code permitting, an air tie (i.e. no tie) is a great style move if done right. Stick to a classic high-top collar or, if you're feeling experimental, try a collarless collar.grandpa shirt.
What color shoes do you wear with a black suit?
Oxblood, bottle green, or navy blue shoes work well with a black suit. But for Tim Little, Creative Director and CEO of Heritage FootwearGrenson, there's really only one answer to that question: "Black, black or black."
You can't go wrong with a well-polished black Oxford or Derby, which can also be worn with gray, brown or navy suits. If you're looking for a more laid-back vibe, a pair ofMonkstrap shoesor the Chelsea boots follow this elegant and casual line with aplomb.
“Sneakers look good with a suit, but they have to be well maintained, very clean and simple looking, usually in one color,” adds Little. “Noisy, multi-colored sneakers can make it look like you've been taken wherever you're going and you've forgotten to change your shoes.”
6 ways to wear a black suit
If new is bold and old is gold, consider black and white tailoring platinum. “Nothing turns heads like a simple, fitted suit as part of an expertly tailored silhouette,” says Olie Arnold, style director atmister doorman.
“Black and white is as simple as possible. So focus on fit: You want to make sure your look – and specifically your pants – have the perfect balance of slim and form-fitting.” (That is, closer to skinny.)
For a timeless finish, opt for the classic accessories – a thin pocket square with a presidential fold and a simple silver tie bar. “If you go for a half open collar, pair it with a wider traditional knot – it's a surefire look and works well thanks to the shirt's tight fit.”
If the occasion calls for it, swap your shoes for a pair of minimalist black sneakers.
There's a reason why Jay Z is obsessed with everything black. Not only does it look flat and expensive, but by hiding any potential shadows on your torso, it also has a built-in slimming effect. With no annoying colors, it's almost foolproof... almost.
"Make sure there's a clear distinction between the different elements of your outfit," says Rosie Doran, buyer of men's tailoring atJohn Lewis. If you wear a black jacket and a black shirt, this means ensuring a good contrast in texture. “It usually works best without a tie, but if you're wearing one, stick with black.”
Better yet, forego the shirt and tie altogether, instead wearing a simple black or turtleneck T-shirt. “Tactile fabrics — cashmere or merino — add depth and are a little less formal,” adds Doran.
Stick to the same dark shade for shoes and belts, and if you're going to wear an all-black suit, make sure all the elements are just that. Anything that's been through a lot of laundromats will look less like a billionaire rapper and more like a part-time waiter.
Terno separatesmight sound like an oxymoron, but they're actually a killer way to make tailoring a little more exciting. A black jacket with a lighter pair of pants isn't a million miles away from an all-black suit, but it looks a lot less formal, especially if worn with an open-collar shirt and suede loafers or boots.
"Stick with pants in neutral colors like blue, gray or navy," says Doran. “Choose a pair that isn't too similar to your jacket color, but at the same time doesn't contrast too much in terms of style.” In other words: avoid red pants like the plague and everything will be fine.
while ajacket and jeansit's usually a recipe for sartorial disaster, the only exception being a black jacket with black or dark gray jeans. To avoid trite Pete Doherty comparisons, keep your jeans straight or skinny, not skinny, and wear them with a thin turtleneck sweater.
black patterned suit
Before you hesitate – we're not talking anything floral, Hawaiian or, God forbid, Christmas here – but suits with checks, stripes and other subtle patterns that can add depth and make your monochrome look more memorable.
“A patterned black suit offers a contemporary twist on a classic and can flatter your physique by adding volume to the top,” says Arnold. “Since it's a step out of the norm, opt for a more relaxed cut when trying to replicate this look. An unstructured, half-lined two-piece will add to the relaxed nature of your outfit and, as a result, make it less formal.
Don't be afraid to turn up the volume elsewhere either. “A pop of color from a turtleneck or tee below is another way to play around with your look, but stick with only shades you're comfortable with,” says Arnold.
An entirely different beast from the kind of high-impact Cuban collar style that has become a summer staple, a formal printed shirt can be the perfect contrast to a relatively understated black suit.
“A patterned shirt works with a black suit if you match the colors,” he says.Phill Tarling, a designer who has dressed the likes of Tom Hardy and John Hurt. “Make sure the print itself – be it a stripe, graphic or geometric – has a few flecks of black inside. That way, the match will be perfect.”
The cardinal rule of wearing an eye-catching printed shirt with tailoring is to let the print speak for itself. Always go without a tie, leaving your shirt untucked and a few buttons undone to dwell on the lightness of it all. If you want to make a smarter impression, wear a black merino sweater underneath your blazer and button the shirt all the way to the top.
black casual suit
Even today, there is a time and place to wear tailoring with a T-shirt and sneakers. Unless you're feeling particularly indifferent about your annual overhaul, it's not a look we'd advise for ablack tiework to do. But for other, less formal occasions, it's a solid way to relax things and prove who's boss, style-wise.
“This look has become essential in the modern workplace, where sneakers are no longer seen as juvenile,” says Alex Field, head of menswear design atReiss. “Go for the eleven and opt for tight, cropped pants to make your sneakers stand out and keep your tee crisp and minimal.”
If worn separately, you can swap your regular pants for a pair with a drawstring waist, adding to the sporty vibe and increasing comfort. Avoid anything with a side stripe, keeping other embellishments throughout your outfit — logos or prints — monochromatic.
“Lighter colours make a great background for a black suit – a cream or pale grey shirt with a darker tie can give a softer look than a bright white,” says Stephen Quin, retail director of Turnbull & Asser, shirtmaker to Prince Charles. The style of shirt you choose will depend on your face shape and on the dress code.What color shirt goes best with a black suit? ›
For the classic fit black suit, it is recommended to wear a white shirt or a light blue shirt. For the slim-fit black suit, it is best to wear a dark blue shirt.Can you wear an all black suit yes or no? ›
Black Suits Are FORMAL
A common misconception is that black suits are a basic that every man needs in his wardrobe. However, a black suit is really the most formal option aside from a tuxedo. It really should only really be worn to funerals, weddings, black tie optional events, and to nightclubs or parties.
A black suit is too formal for most workplaces. This rule goes for interviews as well. Stick with grey or navy, and leave the black suit for weddings and galas. Just because a black suit shouldn't be the first thing you buy doesn't mean you should ignore it.