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Black for casual wear?


Distinguished Member
Sep 25, 2008
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I've read the threads about black being (by some) considered an unappropriate color for a suit, especially for conservative business use.

And I get that black pants may have a certain 'uniform' vibe to them (like a waiter or doorman).

Obviously, some may dislike black clothes based purely on their personal taste, but do some of you find that there other reasons to stay away from black, casual clothes?

I'm especially thinking about black sweaters and black sportcoats.


Senior Member
Oct 12, 2008
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Honestly I feel that black is a fine color, although I can see how people might not appreciate it in certain situations.

I say go for it, if you enjoy it. I wear plenty of black, there's nothing wrong with it, although I prefer a dark grey usually.


Stylish Dinosaur
Dubiously Honored
Apr 21, 2005
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I recently bought a black shawl-collar sweater. The severity of the color works better in winter, I think. But I don't have much desire for black in general. I don't like the effect of black sportcoats, as the black overwhelms most every other color. The effect is too high contrast and looks cartoonish. Even my black sweater will have limited utility, I expect. I'll wear it mostly with charcoal and other grays. I can't imagine having to find ties to stand up to the black.

From a practical standpoint, black sweaters, sportcoats and shirts highlight even the slightest trace of dandruff or dry scalp. Also, black shirts/clothing quickly looks terrible if washed.


Senior Member
Feb 20, 2008
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I think black usually looks great with grey, eg black shoes, sweater,
especially when there is a black pattern in the grey;
actually I think black is the better option than brown when it comes to grey/charcoal


Distinguished Member
Jul 19, 2007
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There is a style side and a fashion side to the question.

As Doc just wrote, contrast can be a problem. The right contrast is important since it draws the best out of your clothes. If you have olive/gray trousers and wear a green jacket, the trousers will look more olive. If you have orange/brown pants and wear a navy blazer, the combination might look especially good since orange and navy like to be together. Black is not a color, and it makes a strong contrast that does not flatter other elements of the outfit. It does not play well with others. In almost every case, the same item in a color would look better.

White is not a color & white creates strong contrast, too. But white adds light & this is needed to better see you & the rest of your outfit. A white shirt will flatter your face and sportcoat, your tie, your watch, your smile, etc. I don't think the same thing is true for a black shirt.

Black is also an excellent color for shoes and belts, watch straps and briefcases, umbrellas and other accessories. The best time to wear black and all dark colors, I've found, is at night in low lighting when I want to lay low & assimilate & not be a distraction. And I'm not inclined to match my sweater or my pants to my shoes, which will be black in this situation. And here, in a dimly-lit space, a dark burgundy, blue, or purple will works just like a black sweater. Those choices, however, also will work well in daylight. So they are more versatile.

Then there is the fashion question. Black is a very popular choice these days. You can get anything in black. Black suits are still the big clichÃ
and black chinos and shirts are so common, you can find them in all the discount stores as well as all the expensive stores. Not long ago there was an edginess to black for men, and a lot of people wore black with attitude. If it was black, it was cool. Black suits and shirts were once hard to find. Today there is no originality in black. Head to toe in a black is a pathetic clichÃ
. If a man wears black with attitude, it's not edgy. It's more an expression of self-deluded conformity.

If you want to be daring, try wearing plaid.

Sometimes the conformity is what you want. It's not always sad to blend in. Since black is so popular right now, that could be a reason to buy some if you have good reason to go along to get along.

One last thing. The black sportcoat has become a popular item with young men who own one (black) suit and no sportcoats. I see black suit jacket + jeans/cargo pants/khaki chinos pretty often these days. That's another fashion trend you'll be jumping on if you go out and buy a solid black sportcoat. You'll look like these guys. Maybe that's desirable. Maybe it's not.

So there are style strikes against black casual clothes and then, depending on how you see things, maybe there are fashion strikes as well. Good luck /manifesto

dirk diggler

Distinguished Member
Mar 12, 2006
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forgive me for I am about sin. For work tomorrow, I pulled out a black MTM suit with a MTM blue/white/black striped shirt and, the horror, black J&M loafers with tassel. Please, purge me. Purge me, Sardo Numpsey.


Senior Member
Jun 8, 2008
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Ditto to the others. Every now and then I break down, and I wind up with a black piece of clothing in my closet. And then I never wear it. And then I finally force myself to wear it, and I feel uncomfortable all day. And then I give it away to someone who can appreciate it.

Example: twelve months ago, my haberdasher talked me into a beautiful black pinstriped Isaia that he had at a much-better-than-usual price. I was hesitant, but the cut was nice and the fabric quality was quite good -- especially for the price I was offered. I wore it two times, put it away. I forced myself to wear it again a couple of weeks ago, but I just couldn't stand the contrast. I have plenty of charcoals and oxford greys, but the starkness of the black was just overwhelming. All times it was worn were as evening-wear (i.e., not to work). It is now in the hands of a very good friend who relishes being the same size as I am (and who otherwise could not afford it).

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