Talking tailoring: Selecting colours and patterns for your next suit

30 October 2018

If you’ve gone through the pains of researching for a suit on the internet at least once, you’ve probably stumbled upon the tried-and-true suiting advice for novices: make sure to start with navy or grey. These are colours that are classic for a reason and while we stand by this advice, there are admittedly more detailed intricacies than meet the eye. Subsequently, what’s next after the timelessness of navy and grey suits?

First and foremost, blues or greys are often the first choice because these colours are straightforward and versatile. The two solid colours are sure to get you through a majority of situations or occasions, whether it’s a new job interview or attending your best friend’s wedding.

Navy suits are most commonly the first suit purchase most men make

More importantly, however, it’s the right shade that counts – at Oscar Hunt, our team of fitters and their experiences can offer advice a particular shade that best complement your complexion while remaining a conservative workhorse suit at the same time.

Grey is rather simple since almost every shade is suitable across multiple situations or occasions; it’s blue that has as many nuances as the fit of a made-to-measure tailored garment instead. A good advice is to keep things sombre with its commanding and conservative nature. The trend in menswear is leaning towards brighter shades like royal or cobalt blue since these more vibrant tones can stand out in almost any business-formal context and certainly in the aisles of a wedding – and that works, but it depends on the complexion of one’s skin. Trust us, if unsure, you’ll probably get more mileage out of a midnight navy suit than ones that are bright and saturated instead.

Blue vibrant tones can stand out in almost any business-formal context.

Due to the characteristics of blue, the solid colour works particularly well across almost any colour combinations, playing off other shades whether vibrant or subdued depending on personal style. For example, you can opt for a darker striped shirt and black knit necktie to dress up the formality or pair alongside a pink gingham shirt for a more casual ensemble.  

Once these solid colours are present in your arsenal, you can move on to the next steps: patterns. Quite humbly, this is where we find dressing up particularly enjoyable. For a more conservative outfit, opt for stripes and checks in general that are either grey or navy for a quintessential business-formal choice, especially in the finance or law industries.

Navy pinstripe suit

Paring these pinstripes with a solid-coloured shirt and a subtly patterned necktie is one of the best approaches to curate a creative ensemble with classic patterns while evoking an overall sense of understatement. Of course, a solid navy or black necktie is a more modern reiteration of business-formal dressing and can bring about a clean and crisp, minimalistic and authoritative appearance.

On the flip side, checks are comparably a more casual alternative but can still be considered rather formal depending on the subtleties of the pattern. A subtle Prince of Wales or glen plaid for example is a classic suiting alternative that works well on both grey and blue suits.

Navy Prince Of Wales check suit

The difference is how you can dress up these checked suits alongside a striped shirt for some pattern-on-pattern action but remain conservative at the same time. Here, the choice of necktie is completely up to you; solid is the safe choice, but a nice repp or medium scale foulard will add some extra interest that is sure to subtly get some attention but for all the right reasons at work.  

If you’d prefer suitings with a bit more character, you can opt for windowpane instead. While it can be more contemporary as compared to glen plaid, the pattern offers a striking look especially when spotted with a contrasting color, and on rich blue suitings. Overall, windowpane checks help dress down an ensemble and allow for an easier wear as compared to the more rakish pinstripes and solid-coloured suits but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Why? Windowpane suitings are versatile patterns that can conveniently be worn as separates.

Charcoal window-pane check suit

While there’s no single method of building a wardrobe of business suitings, one thing’s for sure – it’s the made-to-measure tailoring fit that matters most.