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Gray Flannel Suit Advice

TheShetlandSweater

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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.
Maybe a little less versatile, but I still find charcoal flannel pretty versatile. Goes well with a blazer and fine with many sweaters.
 

Nobilis Animus

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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.
Yes, personal comfort has much to do with it. Also it depends on whether the OP prefers to keep his jacket on or to have the option of removing it sometimes.

There's also the three-piece double breasted, but I like that to be with an odd waistcoat mostly.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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There's also the three-piece double breasted, but I like that to be with an odd waistcoat mostly.
This starts getting out of my comfort zone. I do have a midnight blue 14oz worsted flannel suit with a DB jacket, my only flannel DB, and I frequently wear the jacket as a blazer. The fabric is substantial enough that it's practically outerwear, and on a cold day, I will wear it over the vest + trousers of a gray suit, with maybe a chambray shirt and wool tie, but remove it when indoors. I am definitely not bold enough to do a proper three-piece DB suit a la Boardwalk Empire.

OP, before this derails, one thing to note is, if you go RTW you might be pretty limited by what is available as the vast majority of RTW suits are not flannels at all, and each collection might include one or two at most, and oftentimes not in any sort of solid gray of any shade. If you go MTM/bespoke, you will have a ton of options ranging from lighter materials at around 300g/oz up to the full-blooded English stuff at 420g/oz, and from really hardy worsted flannels to very fluffy ones that might be a bit less durable. The official #menswear advice is that you need a lofty 14oz fabric made in Wellington, Somerset but that's pretty much just very clever marketing; the other options might be better suited for you depending on what you plan to wear it for.
 

DrewMill

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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.



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.
This is great advice. Thank you! I'm in Philly (similar but slightly warmer than Boston). I think single breasted is probably the way to go here too. I'm usually inside. I have to think about the vest.
 

DrewMill

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This starts getting out of my comfort zone. I do have a midnight blue 14oz worsted flannel suit with a DB jacket, my only flannel DB, and I frequently wear the jacket as a blazer. The fabric is substantial enough that it's practically outerwear, and on a cold day, I will wear it over the vest + trousers of a gray suit, with maybe a chambray shirt and wool tie, but remove it when indoors. I am definitely not bold enough to do a proper three-piece DB suit a la Boardwalk Empire.

OP, before this derails, one thing to note is, if you go RTW you might be pretty limited by what is available as the vast majority of RTW suits are not flannels at all, and each collection might include one or two at most, and oftentimes not in any sort of solid gray of any shade. If you go MTM/bespoke, you will have a ton of options ranging from lighter materials at around 300g/oz up to the full-blooded English stuff at 420g/oz, and from really hardy worsted flannels to very fluffy ones that might be a bit less durable. The official #menswear advice is that you need a lofty 14oz fabric made in Wellington, Somerset but that's pretty much just very clever marketing; the other options might be better suited for you depending on what you plan to wear it for.
Thank you. I'm actually looking at either a Suitsupply one made with VBC 340g flannel or a Spier & Mackay one made with Hardy Minnis 340g cloth.
 

Bespoke DJP

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Dear @DrewMill,

With the winter upon us (well, not everywhere in the planet), it is a contemporary issue to be always contemplated by gentlemen.

A lot of nice pieces of advice above, I would like to contribute to the parameter of the color; mind you that in most brands there are four (4) shades of grey flannel: light grey, light-to-mid grey, mid-to-dark grey, and finally dark grey/charcoal. Therefore, by saying "mid-grey", one has to specify whether he refers to shade No.2 or No.3.

I am posting here below the VBC take on solid grey flannel fabrics to demonstrate the above, and perhaps assist you in your final choice.

Best,

Dimitris
 

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DrewMill

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Dear @DrewMill,

With the winter upon us (well, not everywhere in the planet), it is a contemporary issue to be always contemplated by gentlemen.

A lot of nice pieces of advice above, I would like to contribute to the parameter of the color; mind you that in most brands there are four (4) shades of grey flannel: light grey, light-to-mid grey, mid-to-dark grey, and finally dark grey/charcoal. Therefore, by saying "mid-grey", one has to specify whether he refers to shade No.2 or No.3.

I am posting here below the VBC take on solid grey flannel fabrics to demonstrate the above, and perhaps assist you in your final choice.

Best,

Dimitris
Thanks for the help! I was planning on using 504.801/4 if I went with the SS version.
 

Bespoke DJP

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Thanks for the help! I was planning on using 504.801/4 if I went with the SS version.

My pleasure. I am glad that I was of assistance!

This is a picture sent to me by a cloth merchant, he subsequently sent me for couple of days the VBC bunch, so I have seen the swatches in person.

There is a very nice mottling in all of them, the two mid-greys may produce a very handsome outcome, and yes, the 504.801/4 is probably the nicest of all.

Best,

Dimitris
 

stuffedsuperdud

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This is great advice. Thank you! I'm in Philly (similar but slightly warmer than Boston). I think single breasted is probably the way to go here too. I'm usually inside. I have to think about the vest.
No problem. I have two suits from that VBC woolens + flannels book that the fabric you have in mind comes from. They certainly feel great to the touch and drape beautifully, but are both a bit fragile. The pants crotch started pilling after just a few wears and other high friction areas such as the elbows, seat, and back are probably next. I'd suggest getting a 2nd pair of pants if possible, since they will probably see some use as separates.

Also, just for fun, and I mention this since you are in Philly where they have an office, I got mine through Enzo Custom (one of the site's sponsors); they are an MTM outfit that has access to what seems like the entire line of VBC fabrics. The staff are highly knowledgeable #menswear nerds, fit is great, and you have much more customizability than most MTM. They cost a bit more than SuitSupply but not much more. Might be something to consider unless you are in the fortunate minority of the population that can actually fit in SuSu's stuff easily.
 

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