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How Useful is a Black Suit?

ImTheGroom

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I'm embarking to rebuild my wardrobe; I wore jackets and ties a lot when I was a high performance hockey referee, then did not need any for several years. I'm now down to a mixed bag of sport coats and slacks. I've just acquired a suit again. It isn't a very good "first suit" as it is more fashionable and less classic. It looks great, and it was free - I won it in a "best dressed" contest at the track- but I know it will be out of fashion in a few years. Next I want to add a navy suit, and then charcoal.

After that, should I put a priority on a solid black suit? How useful is that, really? Where and how do you wear yours?
 

Academic2

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I can't imagine any use for a black suit, unless your job requires it (waiter, etc.).

Even for a funeral charcoal is considered fine by most people these days.

Others may, and no doubt will, disagree.

Cheers,

Ac

P.s.: Why do you say that the suit you won "will be out of fashion in a few years"?
 
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ImTheGroom

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P.s.: Why do you say that the suit you won "will be out of fashion in a few years"?
Slim fit, 2.5" lapels. Narrow lapels do work pretty well on me; I'm 5'7", 37" chest, 32" waist right now, and that's the biggest I ever get around the middle. It's a sharp suit in a great colour, and I really like it,and the price was certainly right. It has a 5-button vest that I might get modified to four buttons.
 

12345Michael54321

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I wear suits most days. Both professionally, and also in a fair variety of social situations. And this has been the case for many years. In all those years, I've purchased... well, I don't know exactly how many suits, but let's just call it a significant number.

Not a single one of them has been black. Many have been blue. Many have been grey (sometimes a dark enough charcoal grey to look sort of like black, especially in marginal light, but in decent lighting and next to a black suit, these suits are clearly not black). Some have even been tan or khaki, or olive, or blue-and-white seersucker.

But not a single one has been black.

Moreover, even though I've gotten dressed in suits on literally thousands of occasions over the decades, never once have I thought to myself, "Gee, I wish I had a black suit in my closet. I'd be better off wearing a black suit today." Not once. (As Academic2 notes, a charcoal suit is perfectly appropriate for a funeral.)

Now, I admit that I'm not 23 years old (I'm more than twice that age), and I didn't much frequent clubs even when I was in my 20's. It may be that for that demographic, and in a club setting, a black suit would be worth owning. I really couldn't say. I also understand that in other societies, the black suit may be viewed differently.

But for myself, buying a solid black suit ranks only slightly above "Purchase a lime green polyester leisure suit with really broad crushed velvet lapels, to wear with my white platform shoes and very ruffled disco shirt," on my list of clothing priorities.
 

archibaldleach

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A black suit is not useful and there have been a decent amount of threads on this as well if you want some additional reasoning (and a bit of trolling and entertainment from said threads) Unless you live in a country where a black suit is actually required per funeral etiquette (not the case in the U.S. and to my knowledge anywhere in Europe), there really isn't a single occasion where it is that useful. Blue and grey, even the darkest blue and grey, look much better during the daytime.

The most common rationale I hear for black suits is that some like to wear them to social events in the evening, but even here I think a dark navy / midnight blue works perfectly fine and will also look much better during the day. If you want to go this route, however, I'd suggest that you buy several classic (not the sort to go out of fashion) grey and navy (SB and/or DB) suits first.
 

ImTheGroom

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This all confirms my suspicions. My plan has been, and still is, to start with two high quality, very classically styled suits - a navy and charcoal, then a couple of patterns, a medium grey, and then come back around on the rotation. I already own a Tuxedo, and morning dress, so I have no reason to need a black suit to fake formal wear. If I make (one of) my charcoal suit(s) very dark, with peak lapels, one button, and besom pockets, the jacket can even double as a stroller, should the mood to wear one descend.

I'll relegate black to quite low on the list, as it would be exclusively for funerals, and any funerals in the mean time I will wear charcoal. I would feel more comfortable, personally, wearing black to a funeral, but I really do not have much call to attend funerals, and should not, for at least 20 years.

Thanks for the input, guys!
 

GBR

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Don't trouble to raise black suits here - they will be loathed.
 

Veremund

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Black suits can be nice at night, but you could also wear navy, so the black isn't really necessary. Use the money for something else.
 

Balfour

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I can't imagine any use for a black suit, unless your job requires it (waiter, etc.).

Even for a funeral charcoal is considered fine by most people these days.
+1. For funerals, charcoal lounge suit or morning suit, but never black lounge suit.
 

Balfour

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Well I suppose that means I'll just HAVE to get a black morning waistcoat. Curses; I totally was not looking for an excuse for more morning wear.
Really? I was giving the two acceptable options (in my eyes), but surely a charcoal lounge suit would be perfectly appropriate in 99% of cases?

Or perhaps you're just poking fun at me!
 

Frankie22

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There is plenty of use for a black suit if you have a taste for fashion and nightlife + are under the age of 35.Technically, one should choose clothing based on their complexion. Black looks fantastic on high contrast folks and or people with dark features. You can debate the correctness of the garment on a classic menswear forum, but my point about dressing for your complexion cannot be argued. A lot of folks simply looks awesome in black.

The problem with black is it is worn mostly by folks who dont know or care about proper fits. Thus, the color is thought of as something for service staff and the like and has not progressed with the old guard as it has with young people.

Frankly there are also a lot of folks on here who only see the world in their conservative vacuums and would most likely show up to the beach in a boxy navy hopsack blazer and MC hammer baggy grey flannals w/ black cap toes.

The middle ground is a dark charcoal but there is use for black depending on your lifestyle.
 
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