which is more formal for a suit?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by sanmateo, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. sanmateo

    sanmateo Well-Known Member

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    Or are they the same (which would make the question kind of beside the point, I guess)?
     
  2. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Color aside, solids are more formal than stripes. But a dark blue or grey stripe is more formal that solid light gray or tan.
     
  3. Giona Granata

    Giona Granata Senior member

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    Yes, I agree.

    First place black; then dark grey; then dark blue; then black, grey, blue striped.
     
  4. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Hmmmm.  I disagree slightly with my elegant Italian friend.  I agree that in the abstract black is the most formal color, but I dislike black for suits.  I like it only for formal clothes.

    I would say the most formal cloths for suits are midnight blue, and oxford or charcoal (i.e., very dark) gray. Blue for "happy" occasions: parties, weddings, nights on the town, etc.  Gray for "somber" occasions: funerals, job interviews, imporatant meetings.

    This is perhaps a little specific, but it is the way I like to dress for various occasions.
     
  5. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Senior member

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    Personally, I tend to consider pinstripes a feature of a 'business suit', though I'm fairly sure I've worn them to social occasions in the past. If I were selecting a suit specifically for semi-formal occasions, I'd probably steer away from anything but the smallest/subtlest of patterns. But that's just me.
     
  6. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Me too.
     
  7. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    Manton,

    I have a slight disagreement. It could also be that I misunderstood also. For me, any darker shades of blue I find is more for business then anything else. Also can act as an afterwork social gathering(ie. drinks after work) but I find daker greys to be much more versitile. Lighter shades of blue just doesn't look right for a suit, IMHO. As a rule of thumb, the cleaner the style and the darker the color, the more formal it is. I remember reading blue pinstripes as the ultimate money suit.
    I think black is not appropriate for business and best reserved for occasions such as a party, a wedding(evening, night) and funeral. The only deviating factor would be the ties or san tie.
     
  8. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Gray is in one sense more versatile, since it is not a color but is "neutral."  Many more colors and color combinations can therefore be worn with it.

    But the original question was about formality.  I think the most formal non-tux suit a guy can wear is a midnight blue DB.  For "somber" occasions, very dark gray works better, in my opinion.  Though no one should feel guilty about wearing a dark blue suit to a funeral.  But in my opinion, color -- any color -- is always going to be slightly more "festive" than dull old gray.

    Cerainly powder or robin's egg blue would look ridiculous for a man's suit, the sole exception being seersucker.  But slate blue or a medium shade of blue-gray is just fine.

    I agree.

    I'm not sure what a "money suit" is, but solid dark blue or grey is more formal than the same shade with stripes.  I would even say that a medium dark gray solid is more formal than a very dark gray with a stripe.  I would not, however, say the same thing about cambridge gray or slate blue.

    I just don't like black for suits, no matter what the occasion.  I think black should be reserved for formal wear.  I'm a traditionalist, I guess.
     
  9. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    The characteristic of black that makes it appropriate for the most formal clothing, evening clothes, makes the argument in favor of solid navy over solid grey or any stripe as the most formal suit: the absence of animation or variation on the surface of the cloth.

    The visual appeal of grey flannel is the depth created by various shades of fiber from black to white spun into its yarns. Black and navy have no such variations. Navy's lack of surface animation is the reason stripes are more important on a navy business suit than on a grey one. Navy's lack of surface animation is also the reason it is the closest shade to black on the formality scale.

    Mind you, the distinction between navy and the darkest charcoal is small, probably more the stuff of abstract argument than practical experience. The model of the suit and the furnishings worn with either shade would contribute more to the difference in its perceived formality than the difference in color would. I would choose a db in solid navy, a white spread collar shirt with French cuffs, a black and silver tiny shepherd's check or subtle glen plaid four-in-hand,
    white linen, and I'd have to go out and buy a pair of black cap-toe oxfords.
     
  10. HitMan009

    HitMan009 Senior member

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    Manton,

    Do you know why fluorescent light make black appear grey and midnight blue appear black?
     
  11. MPS

    MPS Senior member

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    Leaving aside evening and morning dress, pinstripes are more formal than plains.
     
  12. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I don't. Any physicists on the forum?
     
  13. Giona Granata

    Giona Granata Senior member

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    Ok, I didn't do a difference from suits and tuxedo/morning dress/frac (do not know how it is called in english).

    I agree black is for the latter suits.

    Top of formal in "standard" suits, at least in Italy, is dark grey; blue, whatever dark it could be, would be considered inappropriate; of course if we speak about parties, cocktails and less formal weddings blu is ok.

    That is the rule, but, maybe I already said, I hate "rules" in clothing, and I would probably prefer a nice DB dark blu suits over a poor cut dark grey 2 buttons during a formal occasion.
     
  14. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    That suggests yet another argument in favor of navy: When someone attempts to find an alternative to black for evening clothes, does he reach for grey or navy? Except for Ralph Lauren, who offered a dense grey tuxedo, the choice is usually navy.

    (I think Ralph Lauren's grey flannel tux was a closer relative of a tartan dinner jacket than black evening clothes.)
     
  15. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    Furthermore (I like this topic), you don't see striped tuxedos or tails. The first alternative to black must be solid navy.
     

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