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Gray Flannel Suit Advice

DrewMill

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Good morning, all. I was looking for a little advice. I'm planning buying a gray flannel suit, but I wasn't sure if it made more sense to go with a mid-gray or a charcoal gray. I was planning on charcoal, but as I researched I found so many great pictures of Grant, Connery, Moore, etc. all in mid-gray flannel suits. Am I missing something? I was thinking darker would be better for cold weather. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!
 

compuccesory

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Thanks! Any advice on how much to structure the shoulders?
You mean with respect to flannel? I would say depends on the weight of the fabric, a heavier weight fabric won't need as much structure. Just generally, my go-to rule is that if you have broad shoulders and/or a small head, unstructurerd will even that out, and if you are skinny with narrow shoulders and/or a big head, then the opposite, but obviously your personal preference and how formal your office/occasion is will play a role too.
 

DrewMill

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You mean with respect to flannel? I would say depends on the weight of the fabric, a heavier weight fabric won't need as much structure. Just generally, my go-to rule is that if you have broad shoulders and/or a small head, unstructurerd will even that out, and if you are skinny with narrow shoulders and/or a big head, then the opposite, but obviously your personal preference and how formal your office/occasion is will play a role too.
Thanks for all the suggestions!
 

Phileas Fogg

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Mid gray. Just more versatile and I think picks up the light a bit better.
Flannel is heavy enough so that adding an additional layer of heaviness with such a color would push it over the edge.

I have charcoal flannel slacks but I’m afraid to be draped from head to toe like that would be too much.
 

compuccesory

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The texture of flannel is already "absorbing" the light and making for a more dull look that worsted wool, using a color like charcoal on top will turn you into a black hole.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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I think some depends on your hair complexion/skin color. If you have light hair and skin, the charcoal could like kind of severe. Otherwise, I think a charcoal flannel suit can look really cool in a mid-20th century kind of way. It's definitely more of a look, and it's not something I would recommend for an office, but when it's appropriate I have troubles imagining something much cooler.

A mid or darker gray flannel always works, just make sure the flannel isn't too light in color. More of a staid option than the charcoal, but probably also more versatile.

Be sure to go with a heavier flannel, i.e 14+ ounces, if possible.

Also be sure to get two or even three pairs of pants. It's hard to wear a flannel jacket on its own once the trousers wear out and flannel can wear out faster than some other fabrics. You may not need the third, but even if you don't, it's not like you won't be able to use an extra pair of grey flannel trousers.
 

Nobilis Animus

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Another vote for mid-grey - preferably double-breasted.

I usually think that shoulders ought to be structured according to what is most flattering to the individual, but for flannel I'm more inclined to recommend some shaping/wadding rather than overly-soft tailoring. Something about the cloth just calls for a bit of flair to offset the casualness of the material, but that's just my opinion.
 

DrewMill

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Another vote for mid-grey - preferably double-breasted.

I usually think that shoulders ought to be structured according to what is most flattering to the individual, but for flannel I'm more inclined to recommend some shaping/wadding rather than overly-soft tailoring. Something about the cloth just calls for a bit of flair to offset the casualness of the material, but that's just my opinion.
What makes you say double-breasted? I hadn't really been thinking of that.
 

Nobilis Animus

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What makes you say double-breasted? I hadn't really been thinking of that.
It's a classic choice, and it also works well with a range of different features, like trouser cuffs and a smaller lapel opening, which I prefer with flannel suits.

If not double-breasted, I'd suggest at least a three-piece. Flannel is a great cloth for getting a drape effect, and you can open up the coat fronts more easily with a waist covering.
 

rob

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I support the mid-gray choice based on the assumption that you are building a wardrobe, as it is a more versatile choice. Regarding the other details, that is too personal for anyone to weigh in on, as it depends on how and where you will wear it; what style of suit suits your body; and what your sense of style is. The weight of the fabric, for example, is very personal and there is a lot of misinformation on the internet that only certain weights can deliver desired results. What some find comfortable others find hot.

This is just the starting point. I’ve learned from my tailor who has patiently counseled me that most things l’ve learned on the internet, including SF, are usually wrong, no matter how well Intentioned.

Rob
 

comrade

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Structure the shoulder?
Depends on your build and style preference.
I wear only very minimal padding as in Neapolitan
or Ivy League natural shoulders. It works best,
IMHO, with my build.
As for color, have you considered bluish grey?
I have a suit with fabric like this with a bluish cast:


 
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stuffedsuperdud

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Mid-gray is the easy answer and the ultimate safe suit, but I am not as quick to write off charcoal as most, as I think the slight fuzziness will nicely offset any extra somberness charcoal might bring. It is a touch more formal than mid-gray, but still very wearable. You might even be able to combine the odd jacket with light trousers for a very striking, almost Apparel Arts-esque off-duty look. The only real drawback is that odd charcoal trousers aren't super versatile, whereas with mid-gray you can combine the trousers with sweaters, a blue blazer, etc.

What makes you say double-breasted? I hadn't really been thinking of that.
Of course, the SF answer is to just have one of every style and every color, but in a finite world, for me, deciding between single vs double breasted is is more a matter of practicality and functionality than anything else, as I think both can look equally good. My flannel suits are mostly single breasted three-piece, with fabric-backed vests, because I suffer through nasty Boston winters. With a 3-piece, when people waste tremendous amounts of oil, gas and electricity to overheat the indoors in December - March, I can take off the jacket and still look put together without sweating. Conversely, outdoors, the extra layer of a vest provides extra warmth, allowing me to go without an overcoat until the windchill really kicks in. A double breasted flannel seems a bit neither here nor there in my climate, as it's impractical to take off while in an overcooked room but not substantial enough to keep you warm in a true winter. YMMV of course depending on where you live and whether you run hot or cold.
 

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