How To Choose A Suit Color

A man needs at least two suits. Maybe even three pieces. But what color suit do you like? Navy blue? grey? black? Good quality suits are expensive, so you want to get the right one. Since some suit colors are more versatile than others, making this decision is more challenging.

Pick the wrong color for the wrong event and you'll stand out. At best, you'll look stupid, at worst, downright disrespectful.

I rank suit colors starting with the most versatile to make prioritization easier for men on a budget.

The suits are:

  • Navy Blue
  • Charcoal Gray
  • Cambridge Gray
  • Light Gray
  • Black
  • Dark Brown
  • Tan/Khaki
  • True Blue
  • White
1. Navy blue suit
How To Choose A Suit Color
The No. 1 and No. 2 suit colors on this list are probably interchangeable, especially in North America.

Throughout the United States, however, navy blue slightly surpasses charcoal gray; navy blue is considered the de facto color. All stores that specialize in men's suits will carry navy blue suits.

A navy blue suit is perfect for the man who wants to blend in, known for what he can do rather than what he wears. Another benefit of a navy blue suit is that if a gentleman wants to customize it, he can incorporate some fashion-forward details because the color is so straightforward.

2. Charcoal gray suit
How To Choose A Suit Color

A charcoal gray suit is just as versatile as navy blue and is one of the easiest to look at when learning how to choose a suit color.

One of its advantages over the former is that it is very suitable for a young man, as it can increase his age.

A navy blue suit can make a young man look younger, while charcoal gray doesn't have the same effect. Charcoal gray is extremely easy to match. Since the charcoal color is firmly in grayscale (no color – a neutral), it pairs well with a variety of colors, allowing men to be more adventurous with the shirt and tie of this suit. Speaking of formal - this is more than enough for work, church, weddings, funerals or meeting the president.

3. Cambridge/medium gray suit
How To Choose A Suit Color

There are many shades of gray, which means there is a significant difference between charcoal gray and mid gray.

A mid gray suit will be lighter compared to charcoal. In terms of versatility, it's still on par with Cambridge Grey.

However, it is not as formal as charcoal gray and navy blue, although few people and places can tell the difference. Owning the three suits mentioned above already makes for a highly versatile wardrobe, especially if each suit is slightly different in detail.

4. Light gray suit
How To Choose A Suit Color

A light gray suit is noticeably lighter compared to other gray suits. This suit is great for spring, summer, and fall, which means you can forego learning how to choose a suit color and opt for a shirt and tie instead. A light gray suit is more casual. Once you have all the "must haves" in a man's wardrobe, investing in one is ideal.

This shade is a great way to break up the monotony of wearing more common shades.
The lighter the color, the easier it is to incorporate patterns such as checks or herringbone into the suit because the pattern is easy to see.

5. Male black suit

The black suit only comes in fifth because it's not as versatile as the aforementioned ones.

Black is not suitable for all skin types. Black suits are suitable for men with darker skin and dark hair.

A black suit is not flattering on a man with light skin and light hair - like a redhead, because it can easily make him look worn out. A black suit has limited versatility due to its stark contrast to anything else you're wearing.

A black suit is suitable for the most formal occasions, such as formal occasions. If you're going to an event that requires a tuxedo or black tie attire, make sure your suit is a true black. A black suit is also appropriate for a funeral.

6. Dark brown suits
How To Choose A Suit Color

If the man has dark hair and a dark complexion, a dark brown suit might work. It works on some blondes, redheads and men with ruddy skin tones.

A dark brown suit can be effective for adding a bit of color, but if you're not familiar with how to choose a suit color, it can cause some confusion if worn incorrectly.

However, those who choose to wear it should be cautious as it is not formal attire. Never wear a dark brown suit to a formal event or where business attire is very important (world cities like New York and London).

7. Tan/khaki suits

How To Choose A Suit Color

Tan suits fall into the category of brown suits because they belong to the same color family.

However - in this post I've broken them down into summer dresses; they're more comfortable in warmer weather and can quickly replace brown suits on this list for their versatility, assuming you have the right weather and skin tone to take it off.

Like a light gray suit, khaki can add color to a wardrobe, especially for men who often wear suits to work. They're a solid choice for low-contrast men, as the lack of color won't overwhelm neutral features and allow you to apply cream better.

8. True blue suits

True blue suits are harder to find than navy ones. Popular with public figures and politicians such as Prince William, Prince Harry and Silvio Berlusconi, the hue is a great color to wear.

True blue suits are more popular in Europe and parts of Asia. For North American gentlemen, however, it doesn't score as well, as it's hard to find and less formal than navy blue.

If a man wants a true blue suit, he may have to consider custom suiting. This is a great option if you own close to a dozen suits and want to wear them for a weekend or event that doesn't require formal color.

9. White suits
The final suit color is white. Unless you're something of a mogul like Tom Wolfe - who made white suits his signature look - white suits usually look outlandish.

Wearing a white suit draws attention to yourself. So it's perfect for a white party or when you have to give an important presentation and grab everyone's attention.

However, a white suit is not required, nor should men prioritize it as part of their collection. Do you buy suits? Here are my 10 golden rules on how to shop for stylish men's suits. Want to learn how to properly button a suit?