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Indispensible suit colors

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by johnnynorman3, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Well-Known Member

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    So, it's obvious that having a navy and a dark grey/charcoal suit are indispensible to a business wardrobe -- and by extension pinstripes in both those colors are great options to add as well -- but what are the other colors that one would consider "indispensible?" I ask this question because though I have the funds to buy high end suits on discount, I can't just buy the panalopy of colors just for kicks. So, for instance, I bought a charcoal Oxxford but opted against the darkish medium grey Oxxford as a second purchase because it seemed to darn close in color to the charcoal to justify the $800 outlay. Here are my thoughts: (1) Light-medium gray -- a bit darker than a light gray, this might be a good option. My concern is that it looks better on older guys (read age 30 and above) as opposed to younger guys like myself; I could be dead wrong here. Also, what color shirt do you wear with it? White and white patterned shirts are an obvious choice, but even the lighter shades of blue don't work as well with this color as they do with a charcoal suit, IMO. (2) Tan/cream -- though it looks good in the movies and in pictures, I always worry it looks used carsalesman-like. Also, this is not a good choice in the winter months, and might be a seasonal color. (3) Steel grey/blue -- sort of like the St. Andrews that A. Harris was selling. I personally think this is an excellent color, but it is very hard to find in my experience. (4) Multi-color glen plaids or houndstooth -- I'm particularly thinking about a glen plaid Hickey Freeman that I saw the other day which was light-medium grey and dark-medium grey in a gledplain which gave it a very nice appearance. I have the same "older guy/carsaleman concern" with these though. I tried it on and really like how I looked (I didn't buy it due to price), but I could see my wife hating it. Anyways, I'm more looking for feedback here than anything. It is very tough in selecting business attire, because the standards are more than just whether it the look would be congratulated on styleforum. [​IMG] For example, I saw in my size an Oxxford in a very dark navy blue with electric blue windowpanes and in my size. I loved it and could have put together an infinite amount of sharp looks with it -- but there is no way I could have pulled it off in my office, IMO.
     
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I think a light medium grey may be a good color but I think you are correct in saying that it may look better on older individuals. I primarily use my charcoal and navy and pinstriped variations of these. I also have a medium (steel) blue suit and several black ones (but reserve those for evening business dinners, etc)
     
  3. dah328

    dah328 Well-Known Member

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    I find that I wear my dark gray and charcoal clothing in rather different ways. Â I would consider them two separate staple colors. Â After the navy, gray, charcoal and appropriate pinstripe/chalk stripe variations, I would consider dark olives and browns. Â I can't think of too many professional circumstances where a conservative suit in one of those colors would be inappropriate or "carsaleman" as you put it. [​IMG] dan
     
  4. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    Light/medium gray is a great color for a suit. It looks especially good with a dark brown crocodile belt and those perfectly antiqued Edward Green shoes. I wear mine with a variety of shirt colors, all of them light though. Dark/French blue doesn't work as well IMO.

    Tan or taupe (no one wants to call it any shade of brown, for outdated "brown suit stigma" reasons) suits are a staple in my book. They are perfect for the summer; darker tan/taupe also work for spring and early fall. I've got one in 100% cotton and one that's 100% super 130s wool. They are extremely versatile, working with nearly any shade of shirt and tie. No, I wouldn't wear one to a hardcore business negotiation, but I get tons of wear out of them on regular work days.

    I used to have a suit that was an interesting "light" dark green wool. Much better than it sounds, it looked almost like a shade of gray or tan. Not as versatile as tan, and probably not worthy of being called a "staple."

    I've seen some beautiful medium blue/cobalt blue suits. The ones that I picture have a very subtle glen plaid. Oxxford makes one that's very nice IIRC. Tougher to pair ties with plaids, but worth the effort.

    Speaking of plaids, I've seen some stunning tan/taupe plaid suits made by Oxxford, Luciano Barbera and others. I love them, but I don't think those are as easy to wear for business-wear. They remind me of English country gentlemen's clothes, or perhaps those of a 'captain of industry' in Greenwich, CT. Frankly, I think tan plaids work best for blazers.
     
  5. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Well-Known Member

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    Kabert, LOL, apparently we think alike. I just ordered a light/medium grey suit from Darren, and my dark brown Audleys arrived in the mail last week to complement my crocodile belt.

    Montecristo
     
  6. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm being overly conservative, but I think that an attorney at a large law firm should not stray far from the dark gray/navy palette when it comes to suits.  The CEO of a company that has just been named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit wants his counsel to project authority and confidence.  The last thing he wants to see is Tom Wolfe walk through the door.
     
  7. kabert

    kabert Well-Known Member

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    A-C,
    I certainly agree with you when it comes to important client meetings, etc. But for day to day, especially in these more casual times, I don't feel there's anything wrong with wearing a light gray suit or a tan suit, etc.
     
  8. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Well-Known Member

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    Exactly right. All of my "business" suits are gray or navy. The variety comes in patterns (chalkstripe, pinstripe, different textures) or cut. Unless I am purchasing a suit for specific social occasions, every suit I get has to pass the "boardroom/courtroom" test.
     
  9. kidkim2

    kidkim2 Well-Known Member

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    johnnynorman3--

    Re #4 (glen plaid): Take a peek at Cary Grant on the cover of "Dressing the Man" or Gary Cooper (frontispiece/title page of the same book).

    Then slap your tongue.

    Mike
     
  10. truthhurts

    truthhurts Well-Known Member

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    Flannel gangster stripe [​IMG]
     
  11. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Well-Known Member

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    Well, I understand the "boardroom/courtroom" test and I used it as well. Again, I was slobbering over the Oxxfords -- I got my Manhattan II back from a super competent tailor and it just fits unbelievably and it turns out is great for my build, which surprised me (and I'm also nearly equally satisfied with center or side vents -- the key is whether they hang correctly; right now my closet is looking like half and half). I found a glen plaid in a fall textured weave in coffee brown and black. The overall effect was a dark brown that almost looked charcoal from over 10 feet away. I tried in on with a very pale blue herringbone shirt. So cool. But it struck me as "walking in Central Park," as opposed to "law office." It wouldn't be inappropriate at all in the office, but if I'm going to drop $800 . . .
     
  12. brescd01

    brescd01 Well-Known Member

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    "(3) Steel grey/blue -- sort of like the St. Andrews that A. Harris was selling. I personally think this is an excellent color, but it is very hard to find in my experience."

    Can someone post a pic of what this looks like? I am pretty sure this is what I was envisioning for my next bespoke suit but I want examples.
     
  13. kidkim2

    kidkim2 Well-Known Member

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    johnnynorman3--You may want to consider no vent(s) at all. Just ask the alterations man to do a tack job--especially if we're talking center vent, as is characteristic, I believe, of Oxxford.
     
  14. acole

    acole Well-Known Member

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    Here's me at a wedding 2 weeks ago, wearing a 2-button vent-less Canali that I might call "steel blue" (or medium blue). Â The actual color is a bit lighter than it appears; it's solid or very subtly "heathered". Â I don't know about 'indispensible' but I do consider this a very versatile color that stands out somewhat from the sea of navy and charcoal without being eccentric. Â It's currently my favorite suit. Â [​IMG]
     

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