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Resolved: The Black Suit

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I have read in various fora that it is untraditional and incorrect to wear a black suit during the day, in any situation (besides a funeral)- or even that the black suit itself is an inappropriate item of clothing in general. I have a beautiful black suit, and I'm tired of waiting to save it for after-work hours. Thoughts? Might a more modern set of guidelines be established with respect to the black suit?
post #2 of 48
Just wear it if that's what you want to do - I doubt that anyone at your work knows or cares about "the rules." It's not like there is a fashion police out there that's going to arrest you.
post #3 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater
Just wear it if that's what you want to do - I doubt that anyone at your work knows or cares about "the rules." It's not like there is a fashion police out there that's going to arrest you.

Yet!

Jon.
post #4 of 48
Never was a rule for night time. For the workaday, there were often better choices than the black suit but there was still never a rule. I notice black suits more and more on all ages and in so many different professions that like it or not, the black solid suit continues to make inroads.

More can be found here:

http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/...ck-suit-part-1
post #5 of 48
I think they look fine, but what do I know. And can be tasteful enough for work as long as the tie and shirt are conservative, but I still wouldn't go to a job interview in one. I like wearing polo shirts with mine.
post #6 of 48
Be it Proclaimed on this Tenth day of June in the Year of our Lord two-thousand and six that Black suits may be worn in the day time for all purposes and occasions for which a suit of any other color may reasonably be worn.
post #7 of 48
For John Harvey's "Men in Black":
"It seems to me the key sociological aspect of men's black dress that has a double effect: It steps outside, or sidesteps, the established grades of social class, while at the same time, by its gravity, it immediately creates its own dutiful-disciplinary elite. It is this double aspect that makes black an assisting condition not only for a strict assertion of power, but for the movement of power within a society. This point seems worth stressing, since power can sometimes be discussed as though it were distributed in a static social architectue, changing little until the structure is overthrown. But power exists as it is asserted and is always in motion, changing hands as stronger hands take it: it is a currency moving as currency moves, and tending to move where currency moves, in the constant anxiously effortful ferment of encroachment, ascendance, arrogation, of thrust and counter-thrust of group within group--which shows on the surface as the history of fashion, which is the visible precipitation of new would-be elites." p.238
http://whatareyouwearingtoday.blogspot.com/
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitonbrioni
For John Harvey's "Men in Black":
"It seems to me the key sociological aspect of men's black dress that has a double effect: It steps outside, or sidesteps, the established grades of social class, while at the same time, by its gravity, it immediately creates its own dutiful-disciplinary elite. It is this double aspect that makes black an assisting condition not only for a strict assertion of power, but for the movement of power within a society. This point seems worth stressing, since power can sometimes be discussed as though it were distributed in a static social architectue, changing little until the structure is overthrown. But power exists as it is asserted and is always in motion, changing hands as stronger hands take it: it is a currency moving as currency moves, and tending to move where currency moves, in the constant anxiously effortful ferment of encroachment, ascendance, arrogation, of thrust and counter-thrust of group within group--which shows on the surface as the history of fashion, which is the visible precipitation of new would-be elites." p.238
http://whatareyouwearingtoday.blogspot.com/


I liked and agreed with that enough to buy the book, Thanks KitonBrioni.

I loved that paragraph.
post #9 of 48
Hmm, this made me think of something interesting. It made me think of Johnny Cash - "the Man in Black." He didn't wear black all the time to show power or higher formality or anything like that. He wore black in mourning basically and as a way of making people aware of the problems in the world.

Here are the lyrics to his song "Man in Black":

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Cash

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black

I just think that this is an interesting and relevant addition to the discussion of whether it is appropriate to wear black suits based on the philosophy of a guy who only wore black suits.
post #10 of 48
I came across a black suit in a book on menswear worn as early as 1892. Not a morning suit, not a frock-coat, but a black three piece.

Worn in the House of Commons in lieu of a morning suit, no less, by a Labour member named Kier Hardie. The book suggests that the heritage of the garment was as a working man's suit (which makes practical sense), which became a Labour uniform for much of the twentieth century in defiance of the more fashionable Liberal and Conservative members.

For that reason, of course, it was never part of the Savile Row heritage.

Another thought I had, which perhaps applies only to Australia, is that it seems fairly common amongst lawyers here to wear black in court. British barristers tend to wear grey solid or striped trousers with their robes, but here it's a look that you really need a little seniority to get away with. And navy, of course, looks really stupid with black. As such, a great many barristers will wear black suits on days they are in court.
post #11 of 48
I agree with Manton's book: that black suits make men look oily. It's best reserved for mourners and for people who want to look important (or more important than they really are.)
post #12 of 48
Great blog FNB, I liked reading that a lot. Would you mind expounding on why black isn't good on a pale person? Does it always make us look like Dracula? I guess I've gotten immune to seeing it...and what colors does a pale, high contrast person look good in? Besides the obvious, trite grey and navy...not that those are bad, but I could do with a little variety.
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alias
I agree with Manton's book: that black suits make men look oily. It's best reserved for mourners and for people who want to look important (or more important than they really are.)


What nonsense. Black suits are quite acceptable, someone has been watching too many movies.

Clothes evolve and long may they do so. For once Manton is confusing his opinion with reality.
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alias
I agree with Manton's book: that black suits make men look oily. It's best reserved for mourners and for people who want to look important (or more important than they really are.)
So are Helmut Lang customers simply smarmy men who swindle?
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR
What nonsense. Black suits are quite acceptable, someone has been watching too many movies.

Clothes evolve and long may they do so. For once Manton is confusing his opinion with reality.

I don't watch many movies actually. I just think it looks bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
So are Helmut Lang customers simply smarmy men who swindle?

And they apparently post on internet forums!
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