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Black/gray-centered business wardrobe

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm revamping my business wardrobe. Without getting into doctrinaire warfare over the propriety of black suits, any new coats or suits I buy will be black or gray (including patterns like herringbone, houndstooth, etc. - I don't like pinstripes). I just look and feel better in those colors than in others, and I try to keep my wardrobe as minimal as possible.

So, I need advice. Assume that by the time my wardrobe revamp has taken place, I'll have the following items:

Black blazer
Black-and-white houndstooth coat
Black-and-white herringbone coat
Black-and-white sharkskin coat
Black suit
Charcoal suit
Lighter gray suit

What kind of shirts, pants, shoes, and ties should I pick up? What should I avoid?

One big question I've got - is it acceptable to wear brown shoes with a black coat or suit?

Another - are flat-front khaki trousers acceptable with each of the above coat options?

As always, thanks for your help!
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goblin
I'm revamping my business wardrobe. Without getting into doctrinaire warfare over the propriety of black suits, any new coats or suits I buy will be black or gray (including patterns like herringbone, houndstooth, etc. - I don't like pinstripes). I just look and feel better in those colors than in others, and I try to keep my wardrobe as minimal as possible.

So, I need advice. Assume that by the time my wardrobe revamp has taken place, I'll have the following items:

Black blazer
Black-and-white houndstooth coat
Black-and-white herringbone coat
Black-and-white sharkskin coat
Black suit
Charcoal suit
Lighter gray suit

What kind of shirts, pants, shoes, and ties should I pick up? What should I avoid?

One big question I've got - is it acceptable to wear brown shoes with a black coat or suit?

Another - are flat-front khaki trousers acceptable with each of the above coat options?

As always, thanks for your help!

Flat front is fine, I think brown shoes could work if there is some brown going on in the suit. I saw some really fantastic black pants with thin brown/red pinstripes worn with brown shoes which looked quite excellent.

But I have to say, if you are going to keep your suits & such black & gray, you have to have color in your ties and shirts. Be bold there, lest you look like you stepped out of a 1940s film noir. It may sound cool, but you'll look clueless, IMO.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel_Cairo
But I have to say, if you are going to keep your suits & such black & gray, you have to have color in your ties and shirts. Be bold there, lest you look like you stepped out of a 1940s film noir. It may sound cool, but you'll look clueless, IMO.
Yeah, I have absolutely nothing against colorful shirts and ties. I actually prefer colored or patterned shirts as my tattoos show through white shirts, as I lamented on a thread a while back.

I'm just not sure which colors or patterns look best with black or gray, as a lot of the coats I have now are navy, tweed, etc.
post #4 of 9
I see no reason to get flamboyant with shirts or ties. I would like beige, greige, taupe, slate blue, light gray, for shirts. Ties could include the chili, wine, burgundy palette. Perhaps, bronze, or clay. Regarding shoes . . . agree with Joel Cairo . . . if the suit has a discernible brown tinge, or thread, brown shoes would be okay. You might want to think about a deep burgundy shoe, as well.
post #5 of 9
I like all shades of blue shirtings with what you describe. Oxford cloth, twill, broadcloth... solids, checks, stripes, herringbones... oxford blue, french blue, slate blue, blue-gray, blue green all will work. I am also partial to blue/black tattersalls and plaids on a white ground. Of course gray, pink and lavender shirts will work well too.

Flat front pants work very well with the downtown black theme. I'd try to mix in patterned pants with solid jackets, to avoid looking too young and trendy. Try some cavalry twills, grey flannels and cords to keep your look interesting but traditional.

I don't like brown shoes with black. I personally think that most people who opt for the black look really drop the ball on footwear and default to some Kenneth Cole monstrosity. I'd defiinitely look for chelsea boots and monkstraps to take your look from cookie cutter to stylish.
post #6 of 9
a nice burgundy/oxbood/cordovan shoe woud fit nicely with the suit palette you're working with. Remember, oxblood is the new brown.
post #7 of 9
I like grey heringbone or small check sports jackets and black trousers. Works fine with black shoes.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
What kind of shirt collars work best with a slim black coat/suit and flat front pants? I tie my ties in a half-windsor knot because I have a skinny neck and to date, I have not acquired the knack of tying four-in-hand and not having the tie hang significantly lower than my belt buckle.
post #9 of 9
A full spread probably is too much for a skinny neck and a slim suit. What is your face shape? Do you have a long neck?
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