The black suit... it's one of those things that every man should own but should definitely, definitely know when and where to wear it.
It can be confusing, and intimidating, but doesn't have to be. Let me explain.
As with anything else, there is some element of subjectivity to what this post is going to discuss. I mean, of course there is always going to be that one circumstance that will refute what the premise of this blog is, i.e. you got your first job as an undertaker, a body guard, a CIA agent or something of the sorts.
Black is never OK for a entry level, or even lower-management position, ever (unless of course you are working as an entry-level undertaker).
Black suits are great, sometimes even mandatory, for certain occasions. Funerals, black-tie events (a black tux is preferred but a suit is ok), evening galas, etc. are places where you will not look out-of-place in a black suit. The office, however, is a definite no-go, unless you're the CEO or equivalent. Beyond the formality and sometimes pretentiousness of a black suit, fluorescent and natural light (office lights) makes black look harsh, another couple reasons you should avoid wearing them to the office. Soft or dim lighting, in a lounge, a restaurant, at an event, etc., will make a black suit look mega sharp if you're wearing it properly, making it gala, cocktail or sexy date appropriate.
You can think of the black suit as the party suit, the one that you get to rock when you've nailed the rest of your business wardrobe.
Important things to consider when purchasing a black suit:
- The fit must be perfect. Never, ever overlook this point - get it custom made or perfectly tailored and you'll have it forever (or until your body changes).
- Don't cheap out on fabrics. If you're going to buy a black suit, invest in it. Cheaping out on the fabric can make or break the look of the suit.
- Consider getting a half or fully canvassed suit. If you don't know what this means, make sure you ask someone who does. It makes a huge difference in the way the suit fits your body and how long it will last.
- Try made-to-measure. Because this is probably the only black suit you are going to own, consider getting it made for you. A lot of the time getting suits made can be cheaper than buying the equivalent fabric & style off the rack because the maker does not have to invest in marketing and other overhead costs. If you have a tailor you trust, or someone who comes highly recommended, give it a shot. You'll most likely have to have the off-the-rack version altered to fit anyways... and trust me, when a suit is bespoke, heads turn.
Ensemble has amazing tailors and can work with you to have a suit (black or otherwise) made specifically for you, and within your budget. Contact for more details.
A black suit can be dressed to the nines, or broken apart. The jacket can be dressed down with jeans and the pants can be paired with a leather or a bomber jacket on top.
to the nines
If you have a formal event to attend and you aren't quite able to justify splurging on a proper tux, your black suit can step in. Ensure it is freshly dry-cleaned, your shoes are polished, you have a white, freshly-pressed dress shirt (preferably new) and nicely kept black shoes and you're golden!
Don't be afraid to split a black suit apart. If you have a night out planned with the guys or your girl, and want to look a bit more dapper than usual, break your black suit apart! Wear the pants on the bottom, paired with a casual shirt and jacket, or the jacket on the top, paired with casual pants and shoes.
If you have an event that isn't black tie but is still quite formal, try going all black. It's bold, brave and mega sexy. One thing to note, make sure your black shirt is not faded. Black dress shirts are notorious for becoming that awful faded shade of black-grey after a little while. If you're going to go black on black, ensure the shirt is nice, the tie either matches or is a completely different fabric all together (silk or a fine wool) and the shoes are polished.
If you're still unsure about how to wear a black suit or if/when it is appropriate, please just ask, I love hearing from you.
- Ensemble Style