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So I'm stuck with a black suit

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cenex, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Cenex

    Cenex New Member

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    Go back 4 weeks. I'm home for winter break, about to start my last semester of undergraduate. I know that when I get back, I need to go get myself some dress clothes for career fairs, interviews and whatnot. I'm completely ignorant of the rules of wearing suits, but I figure once classes start up again I'll look them up and then go buy myself a suit.

    But just a few days after I get back, my grandfather died. My parents call me and tell me I need to get a black suit, tie, and white shirt. So I do, still ignorant of the rules. The funeral was a little over a week ago, and today I finally looked up the rules to suits. Aside from learning that mine is too big, I learn that black suits are reserved for formal occasions and nights, and are especially not for people with lighter skin and hair (which includes me) to wear regularly.

    So what should I do? It's a cheap suit, so not a big loss. Should I go buy a charcoal or navy suit as well? Or just stick with black for now?
     
  2. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Buy a charcoal suit. If you absolutely have no alternative, then make sure and wear a light blue shirt rather than a white one.
     
  3. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I agree - buy a charcoal suit. The kicker for me is that the black one doesn't fit you. For future reference, a charcoal suit is acceptable for funerals and weddings.
     
  4. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Charcoal suit would be a good start, give the black thing away.

    Forget the notion that funerals require black suits - nonsense.
     
  5. Cant kill da Rooster

    Cant kill da Rooster Senior member

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    Then go punch the SA who sold you and il fitting black suit. Shame on them.
     
  6. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    You should buy another suit because the one you have now (1) does not fit, (2) is black, and (3) does not fit. Charcoal is probably best. Eventually you should have a solid navy suit as well as a solid charcoal suit. These are the two staples that nearly everyone should have, even if you don't wear a suit all that much. As a student, though, I'd put your resources into one suit of higher quality vs. buying a couple of suits for a similar price. A charcoal suit is fine for funerals; I wear a black grenadine tie with mine in such occasions.
     
  7. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Senior member

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    All is not lost. Black suits get more hate than they should on here because some folks still think it's 1920.

    Point 1, if the suit is not to large in the shoulders, you can have it tailored to fit.
    Point 2, a black suit has it's place in a young man's rotation. Black suits are obviously acceptable at funerals, but can also be used when going out on the town to a swanky lounge, or perhaps on a more formal event like NYE. Simple put, you CAN wear black at night if you do it right.
    Point 3, as mentioned by several other posters, just get a new suit. If the black suit was cheap, no harm done; use it as a social beater suit for clubs, etc.
     
  8. TiberiasUSA

    TiberiasUSA Senior member

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    Black gets no love on the forum. I personally don't like it, however the rest of the world don't care. It's actually a favorite of a lot of women, no doubt from celebrities on movies where everyone wears black.

    but the main thing is you need a suit that will fit, as a student out of college you need to shed that college image of partying all night long and show them that you are ready to go to work. A suit thats baggy and big screams you borrowed your dad's suit
     
  9. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I definitely do not subscribe to the widely held forum view that black suits are for funerals only and don't belong in a business wardrobe.

    By far it would not be my first choice of suit colour when initially buidling a wardrobe - charcoal and navy are more versatile - but since you already have one, why be in such a rush to get rid of it? Take it to a tailor and see what can be accomplished in terms of improving the fit, and for heavens sake explore some shirt options other than stark white.

    I have a SB black suit that gets fairly regular wear in the winter rotation, and have received more than one compliment on it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  10. AlexE

    AlexE Senior member

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    first things first: I am sorry that your grandfather passed away.

    Yes, a navy or charcoal suit would be the better choice for business or as an interview suit. However, you will not be the only undergrad showing up for interviews in black and realistically no hiring manager will care too much (if at all) about the suit color or if the fit is 100% perfect. In most cases it is sufficient to wear any dark suit with a white or light blue shirt and a conservative tie. So should you sooner or later get a charcoal or navy suit? Yes! Do you have to do it now? No - especially if you are tight on cash like most college students.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  11. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    My interpretation of OP's initial post was that the suit was too big to fit correctly in the chest / shoulders. If that's true, getting it tailored to fit is probably a lost cause, and even if it can be done, the cost will not be worth it for a cheap suit. If it fits in the shoulders but needs to be taken in at the waist to give a slimmer look, that's another matter. Then you can have some alterations made and maybe wear the suit out at night (you'll probably get rid of this suit in time as you find better fitting and higher quality pieces, but decide for yourself if the alterations are worth it to keep it for select purposes) while keeping something in navy or charcoal for interviewing purposes. For interviewing, you want to be as conservatively and non-offensively dressed as possible.

    Personally I think there is no reason to own a black suit, unless it is part of a work uniform / performance attire for musicians, etc. That's not to say that it can't work in some contexts, such as going out to a club or lounge, but black in general (except shoes and ties) should be reserved for the evening. In almost any context, charcoal or navy will work just as well if not better and there is no serious argument that can be made that either of these are inappropriate. I've yet to see an example of a black suit worn where either charcoal or navy would not have looked better. I suppose it's theoretically possible in the evening (black looks rather drab and lifeless during the day and in sunlight), but I've never seen it done.

    Of course, if one has a strong personal preference and makes an informed decision to bend the rules a bit (in this case with a black suit), that's one's right. If you're wearing clothes that fit with decent fabrics and good shoes, you'll look better than 95% of the population in any event. I have a few rules I break myself and suspect most members of the forum do as well, but this was after some careful study and attempts to understand why the particular rules and conventions were in place.
     
  12. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Well, the sum total of what he said about fit is "mine is too big". How do you interpret that to mean that it so big in the chest and shoulders that tailoring is a lost cause?? And how would he be in a position to know that if he never took it to a tailor for an assessment / estimate?
     
  13. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    I've never heard someone describe a suit that fit correctly in the shoulders / chest as "too big." Perhaps too baggy, sack-like, etc., but generally not too big. I've only ever heard "too big" used to describe a suit that was oversized in the chest / shoulders area. YMMV. He could have meant something different, which is why I added the next sentence and made my point conditional. In any event, only the OP knows what he meant for certain.

    If the suit doesn't fit in the shoulders / chest, I believe it can potentially still be altered but this is going to cost a lot more money, and it doesn't make sense to invest in this sort of alteration for a cheap suit. I'd consider it a lost cause for that reason. Sure, you could potentially do the alterations, but it's throwing good money after bad for a cheap suit that didn't fit right to begin with. If the issues are minor, it could be worth a trip to the tailor to get an estimate. If the fit is so noticeably off that someone who is not an experienced suit wearer can tell it's too big, it probably is easier to just write it off.
     
  14. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Seems like assumptions piled upon assumtions, but we agree on one thing - only the OP will know. Still not sure how the cost of alteration can be presumed to be so high as to render it a pointless pursuit without even getting an estimate - particularly since the OP doesn't have any experience in the area

    Advising someone to chuck a brand new suit without at least seeing if it can be salvaged strikes me very as poor advice indeed. There's no cost in asking. If he took it back to the point of sale and said he was unhappy with the fit, the sales manager might even be inclined to re-alter the suit at no charge.

    As a relatively impecunious college grad, I would not have found it 'easy to write off' the cost of a brand new suit - even a cheap one. I don't like throwing away money, and am loathe to suggest someone else do the same unless there really is no alternative.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  15. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    ...sorry about your granddad. Having a black suit for a funeral is perfectly fine. You didn't screw up there. Where you did screw up is in deciding to wait until you go back to school to look up style guides. I know that procrastination is a schoolyard standard, but come on man...

    I'm not sure what types of stores are in your area, but why don't you do a little reading up on how suits should fit (check out suit critique threads on this site and others). Then, go into some stores and try on a few suits in different sizes to see how they stack up to the critiques. You should probably stick to solid greys and blues.
     
  16. Cenex

    Cenex New Member

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    Thanks for all your advice. To clarify, the jacket is too big in the chest, and possibly a little bit in the shoulders. Basically what you would expect with an off the rack suit.

    Anyway, I went back and bought a charcoal suit, still staying on the cheap side. $295 on sale for $99, 100 grade wool. Can't think of the brand right now.
     
  17. buzzron

    buzzron Well-Known Member

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    I say ditch the black and when you need another suit get a navy one.
     
  18. Lucan

    Lucan Senior member

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    I picked up a cheap black suit recently (Charles Tyrwhitt, unworn for £50). I was unsure about it first and would certainly not recommend a black suit before Charcoal and Navy, but I've grown to like it and wouldn't dispense with it just because it's black.

    I think it looks particularly effective with pink shirts, and despite a comment above I prefer it with white shirts to blue.
     
  19. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I'm still not sure I understand the fit issue - I certainly don't expect an off-the-rack suit to be "too big" anywhere.

    Are you perhaps referrring to the cut / style / design as being too boxy as opposed to the more form-fitting contemporary norm?

    Anyway - I hope you are happier with your second purchase than you were with your first.
     
  20. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    My condolences for your grandfather.
     

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