• SumoMe

Last class, we learned when you should wear a suit. Now that we have that (mostly) figured out, the next question you should ask your self is: what kind of suit should I wear?

The short answer to this question is not the suit in the featured picture. I tried to think of exceptions to this rule, but could find none. Under no reasonable circumstances should anyone, anywhere, ever wear the suit in the featured image to the left. That being said, class can start to make some headway. First of all, I tend to have two general lumps of suits: tuxedos and not tuxedos.

Tuxedos are perhaps the most well known suits, famous for their shiny lapels and sometimes long vents in the back of the jacket. You should only wear these when you are in a wedding party or when you are at an extremely formal event (note the emphasis on extreme). These events include red carpet affairs or extravagant galas. These events are rare, and wearing a tuxedo should be heavily considered (unless you just don’t care or want to have a laugh).

The next general lump of suits includes everything else. This set is the whole range of colors, patterns, styles, and pieces. Let’s start with the basics.

The Black Suit: The black suit is the male equivalent of a girl’s little black dress. The black suit is extremely versatile, and as such a man with no suits should start there. A plain, black suit is great for interviews, appellate court proceedings, worn with dark denim for casual events, or basically anything else. This suit is great to begin with because of the wide array of shirts that can match the suit. In fact, you can get a lot of consecutive use out of a black suit just by changing the color of the undershirt and tie. However, there are some downsides to the black suit. Namely, it can make you look like a butler or waiter at times. Additionally, because the suit is so common, it’s hard to stand out in a crowd of suits–which might be good or bad, depending on the situation. Overall, the black suit is classic and will never go out of style, so it serves as a good starting point.

The Navy Suit: The navy suit is a slight variation on the black suit, adding just a touch of color. Navy suits are good for use at a job (which requires a suit) after you’re in the hang of things. These suits offer just enough variety to make you stand out, but not enough to draw total attention to yourself. Navy suits serve mostly the same purpose as a black suit, however make you less likely to be confused for a butler.

The Grey Suit: Grey suits are not for the meek of heart. Grey suits are dangerous because unlike the navy and black suits, not everything looks good with a grey suit. The darker the shade of grey, the safer you can play it. However, a light grey suit (like my personal favorite suit) should stick with light undershirts. What is great about a light grey suit is how a solid three-color tie (we will cover ties later) will make your suit pop in color. Grey suits are a great way to stand out in a crowd, and will definitely call attention to you no matter where you are. A word of caution about grey suits: if you wear a black/dark undershirt, wear a light tie or your look will melt together and your power will be lost.

Pinstripes: Pinstripes are for bosses. Pinstripes are vertical lines that go the length of the fabric and are often white on dark fabric. Pinstripes come on all sorts of color of fabric, but they will always give the same signal. Whenever you wear pinstripes, you will immediately feel like a boss (Lonely Island, anyone?). You can overdo it though. If you look at your suit and see only pinstripes, you have overdone it. The only exception to this is if you are a mafioso. In which case, you can do whatever you want. Pinstripes are not recommended for job interviews, as they are sort of a power play. However, used correctly, pinstripes can offer a lot of authority to the wearer.

Checkerboards: This pattern is similar to pinstripes, but it includes horizontal lines that makes a checkerboard pattern. This pattern is tricky to wear because any pattern on a shirt will likely clash with the suit, so solid shirts are recommended underneath. However, it is possible to pull this off once you’ve completed Suits 201: Advanced Suit Wearing.

We’ve reached the end of our hour today, class. So now you know when to wear a suit, and what kind of suit to wear. But that’s not all–what shirts should you wear under the suit? We will cover this next time. Class is dismissed.