A quality suit is often expensive.
Most men need more than one suit.
Most men have limited funds.
How to solve the dilemma?
Determine which suits to buy first.
Specifically, in which order to buy your suits based off color when you’re building a wardrobe?
An important question to answer as we want to maximize your spending power – the worse thing when buying suits is to purchase one you love but can rarely wear as it’s not versatile or appropriate for situations.
When it comes to suits and colors, some suit colors are simply more useful and versatile compared to others.
I am going to rank suit colors starting with the most useful and versatile so that it is easier for the man on a budget to prioritize. The last colors mentioned would be nice to have for special occasions but are not necessary.
Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
1. Navy Blue Suit
The number 1 and 2 rankings of suit color in this list may be interchangeable especially in North America.
However, navy blue edges out charcoal grey by a little as throughout the United States, navy blue is considered the de facto color.
All stores specializing in men’s suits will carry a navy-colored one.
Navy suits are ideal for the man who wants to fit in. He wants to be recognized for the effort that he puts in and not necessarily what he puts on.
Another advantage to a navy suit is that if a gentleman wants to get it customized he can include a few fashion forward details because the color is so simple and straightforward.
2. Charcoal Grey Suit
A charcoal grey suit is just about as versatile as navy.
The one advantage that it has over the former is that it is more idea for the younger man as it can add a little more age to him.
Navy suits can make a young man look even younger while charcoal grey does not have that same effect.
Charcoal grey is extremely easy to match. As that charcoal is firmly on the grayscale (absent of color – a neutral) it goes well with a wide range of colors allowing a man to be more adventurous with the shirts and ties that he pairs this suit with.
When it comes to formality – this is adequate for work, church, weddings, funerals, or meeting the president.
3. Cambridge/ Medium Grey
There are many shades of grey which means that there is a marked difference between charcoal grey and medium grey.
A medium grey suit will be a little lighter compared to charcoal.
In terms of versatility it is still about equal to Cambridge grey.
However it is not as formal as charcoal grey and navy blue although very few people and places will be able to tell the difference.
Having the three suits mentioned above will already make for an extremely versatile wardrobe, especially if each suit had slight differences in the details that go into them.
4. Light Grey Men’s Suit
A light grey suit is distinctively lighter compared to its other grey brethren.
This suit works well for spring, summer and fall dressing.
The light grey suit is more casual. It is ideal to invest in one once a man has all of the “must-haves” in his wardrobe.
This shade is a great way to break up the monotony of wearing the more usual shades.
The lighter the shade the easier it is to introduce pattern-such as checks or herringbone-into the suit as the patterns are easily more visible.
5. Black Men’s Suit
The black suit only gets 5th place because compared to the ones previously mentioned it is not as versatile.
Black does not work for every skin type. A black suit works well for a man with a darker complexion and dark hair.
A black suit does not look flattering on a man with lighter complexion and light hair- such as a redhead as it can easily wash him out.
Black suits are limited in their versatility due to the stark contrast with anything else you are wearing.
A black suit is useful for the most formal of occasions such as a black tie event.
If you’re going to an event which requires a tuxedo or a black-tie dress code make sure that your suit is truly black. A black suit is also appropriate for funerals.
6. Dark Brown Men’s Suit
A dark brown suit can work if a man has dark hair and a darker complexion. It can work for some blonds, redheads and for men with ruddier complexions.
A dark brown suit can be effective in adding a little bit of color.
However those who choose to wear it should exert caution as it is clearly not a formal suit.
Never wear a dark brown suit to a formal event or to a place where business dressing is taken very seriously (world cities such as New York and London).
7. Tan/ Khaki
A tan suit falls under the category of a brown suit as they fall within the same color family.
However – for this article, I separate them as for summer wear they are more at home in warmer weather and could easily surplant the brown suit in this list due to their versatility assuming you have the weather and complexion to pull it off.
Like the light gray suit a khaki one can spice up the wardrobe especially for the man who constantly wears suits to work.
They are are a solid choice for low contrast men as the lack of color won’t overpower neutral features and allow you to wear pastels to more effect.
8. True Blue Men’s Suits
Compared to navy, a true blue suit can be harder to find.
The jacket to the left is an example – please note it is being worn as a sport jacket hence the non-matching trousers.
Public personalities & politicians such as Prince William, Prince Harry and Vladimir Putin have popularized the hue and it is actually a good color to wear.
A true blue suit is more popular in Europe and parts of Asia. However it doesn’t score very high for North American based gentlemen because it is simply difficult to find and less formal than Navy.
A man may have to consider getting a custom suit made if he wants a true blue one. A great option if you own close to a dozen suits and want something for weekend or events a formal color isn’t required.
9. White Men’s Suits
The final suit color is white.
Unless you’re a major personality such as Tom Wolfe– who made the white suit his signature look – the white suit will more often appear as an oddity.
Wearing a white suit draws attention to oneself. Therefore it can be ideal for events like white parties, or when you have to make a major presentation and really command everyone’s attention.
However a white suit is not really a necessity and men should not prioritize having it as part of their collection.