A man needs at least two suits. Possibly even three.
But what suit colors do you go for? Navy? Gray? Black?
A quality suit is an expensive purchase so you want to get it right. This decision is made even more challenging due to the fact that some suit colors are more versatile than others.
Choose the wrong color for the wrong event and you'll stand out like a sore thumb. At best, you'll look foolish, and at worst, you'll look downright disrespectful.
In this article, I'm showing you how to choose a suit color.
I rank suit colors starting with the most versatile to make it easier for the man on a budget to prioritize.
The suits are:
#1 Navy Blue Suit
The number 1 and 2 rankings of suit color in this list may be interchangeable, especially in North America.
However, navy blue edges out charcoal grey slightly throughout the United States; navy blue is considered the de facto color.
All stores specializing in men's suits will carry a navy-colored one.
Navy suits are ideal for the man who wants to fit in, known for what he can do and not for what he wears.
Another advantage of a navy suit is that if a gentleman wants to customize it, he can include a few fashion-forward details because the color is so straightforward.
#2 Charcoal Gray Suit
A charcoal gray suit is just about as versatile as navy, making it one of the easiest when learning how to choose a suit color.
The one advantage that it has over the former is that it is ideal for the younger man as it can add a little more age to him.
Navy suits can make a young man look even more youthful, while charcoal gray does not have that same effect.
Charcoal gray is extremely easy to match. As that charcoal is firmly on the grayscale (absent of color – a neutral), it goes well with a wide range of colors allowing a man to be more adventurous with the shirts and ties that he pairs with this suit.
When it comes to formality – this is adequate for work, church, weddings, funerals, or meeting the president.
#3 Cambridge/ Medium Gray Suit
There are many shades of gray which means that there is a marked difference between charcoal grey and medium gray.
A medium gray suit will be a little lighter compared to charcoal.
In terms of versatility, it is still about equal to Cambridge gray.
However, it is not as formal as charcoal gray and navy blue, although very few people and places will be able to tell the difference.
Having the three suits mentioned above will already make for a highly versatile wardrobe, especially if each suit had slight differences in the details that go into them.
#4 Light Gray Suit
A light gray suit is distinctively lighter compared to its other gray brethren.
This suit works well for spring, summer, and fall dressing, which means you can let go of learning how to choose a suit color and choose instead the shirt and tie.
The light gray suit is more casual. It is ideal to invest in one once a man has all of the “must-haves” in his wardrobe.
This shade is a great way to break up the monotony of wearing the more usual shades.
The lighter the shade, the easier it is to introduce patterns, such as checks or herringbone, into the suit as the patterns are easily visible.
#5 Men's Black Suit
The black suit only gets 5th place because it is not as versatile compared to the ones previously mentioned.
Black does not work for every skin type. A black suit works well for a man with a darker complexion and dark hair.
A black suit does not look flattering on a man with a lighter complexion and light hair-such as a redhead as it can easily wash him out.
Black suits are limited in their versatility due to the stark contrast with anything else you are wearing.
A black suit is useful for the most formal of occasions, such as a black-tie event.
If you're going to an event that requires a tuxedo or a black-tie dress code, make sure that your suit is truly black. A black suit is also appropriate for funerals.
#6 Dark Brown Suit
A dark brown suit can work if a man has dark hair and a darker complexion. It can work for some blonds, redheads, and men with ruddier complexions.
A dark brown suit can be effective in adding a little bit of color, but if you are new to discovering how to choose a suit color, this can cause some confusion if not worn correctly.
However, those who choose to wear it should exert caution as it is not a formal suit.
Never wear a dark brown suit to a formal event or a place where the business dressing is taken very seriously (world cities such as New York and London).
#7 Tan/Khaki Suit
A tan suit falls under the category of a brown suit as they fall within the same color family.
However – for this article, I separate them as summer wear; they are more at home in warmer weather and could quickly supplant the brown suit in this list due to their versatility, assuming you have the weather and complexion to pull it off.
Like the light gray suit, a khaki can spice up the wardrobe, especially for the man who constantly wears suits to work.
They are a solid choice for low contrast men as the lack of color won't overpower neutral features and allow you to wear pastels to more effect.
#8 True Blue Suit
Compared to navy, a genuine blue suit can be harder to find.
Public personalities & politicians such as Prince William, Prince Harry, and Silvio Berlusconi have popularized the hue, and it is an excellent color to wear.
A genuine blue suit is more popular in Europe and parts of Asia. However, it doesn't score very high for North American-based gentlemen because it is simply difficult to find and less formal than navy.
A man may have to consider getting a custom suit made if he wants a true blue one. A great option if you own close to a dozen suits and want something for weekends or events where a formal color isn't required.
#9 White Suit
The final suit color is white.
Unless you're a major personality such as Tom Wolfe – who made the white suit his signature look – the white suit will more often appear as odd.
Wearing a white suit draws attention to oneself. Therefore it can be ideal for white parties or when you have to make a major presentation and command everyone's attention.
However, a white suit is not necessary, and men should not prioritize having it as part of their collection.
Are you buying a suit? Here are my 10 golden rules on how to buy a stylish men's suit.
Want to learn how to button suit correctly?
Click below to watch the video – 9 Suit Colors A Man Should Consider For His Wardrobe