The black suit is often unfairly thought of as the fail-safe in your wardrobe; a safe piece of kit you instinctively fall back on when you want to blend in with the crowd. It’s an undeservedly bad rep, with the result that many of us avoid black tailoring like we’d avoid the Black Plague.
However, with a few well-placed tweaks, it’s incredibly easy to give what is traditionally thought of as an uninspiring choice a new lease of life.
Firstly and perhaps most importantly, the fit of your suit is key; anything ill-fitting, whatever its colour, is going to look icky, so remember to keep proportions clean with slim-fitting collars and lapels.
Surprisingly, the colour of the shirt you wear can also play a very important role in this subtle overhaul of the black suit. Our advice is to stay away from dark colours and coordinate your suit with pale greys or white instead. Wear it open-necked for causal-fashion points. Or, if your workplace rules dictate that a collar and tie are the order of the day, then mixing things up with a textured tie will give your suit an added bit of oomph.
Any concerns you may harbour about looking like you’re waiting tables at the local bistro can be quashed by ditching the smart shoes and wearing a casual trainer instead. Office etiquette permitting, this will carry you through on the right track.
Another breezy way to elevate this classic staple is to swap out the shirt for contrast-coloured knitwear; even something as uncomplicated as a grey polo can give your basic black suit the push in the right direction it so richly deserves.
And if you’re still stuck in the mindset that a black suit can never look anything other than funereal, then rise to the challenge of a double-breasted style instead. Wear it over a lightweight crew neck jumper or t-shirt and you’ll soon dispel any lingering doubts you may have about not looking like the well-turned-out man you really are. This informal approach will also work for single-breasted jackets too.
Follow these simple pointers and this fast-track revamp will soon have you and your black suit enjoying best-dressed status all day every day on almost every occasion. We say ‘almost’ because there’s probably one more piece of advice you should heed: for those joyous events such as weddings, unless the dress code stipulates black tie, then ring in the changes with a suit in a lighter hue such as grey.
Assuming that you’ve been invited to a bona fide black-tie event then the simple answer is no. Black-tie dressing is a whole different ball game with a set of sartorial procedures that revolves around a tuxedo or dinner jacket. With that in mind, it’s probably the one occasion where the humble black suit just won’t cut the mustard.