The black suit can easily be forgotten – shafted for a hipper blue suit, or a stylish grey number in windowpane check or sleek charcoal. Yet, in a menswear world obsessed with the new and the bold, a well-tailored suit – in black – is a sure-fire way to looking chic among a sea of navy, light grey and beige suits.
Not to mention, black goes with everything. And it's slimming. A triple win, really. To help you out, we've put together a selection of our favourite street, celebrity and lookbook shots, which showcase the very best in black suits. With a plethora of men working black this season – from the office, to weddings, to that all-important first date, black is certainly worth a look when deciding what suit to wear today.
For more ways than one to wear it, click through the gallery above for an 50 inspiring ways to wear a black suit.
Then, read on to found out exactly how, and when, to wear the black suit.
The rules for wearing a black suit
- Styling should be kept simple but varied on the occasion. Formal or black tie events look best with a classic white dress shirt, with a bow tie or long tie in woven silk.
- An all-black outfit can look sharp and slick, especially for the party season. Start by contrasting the textures between individual pieces, creating depth and spiking definition. For example, textured tie and shirt combinations.
- Play around with accessories – silver tie pins, a lapel pin in rose gold or brass and mother-of-pearl cufflinks creating sophistication and old-world charm. These fixtures will add warmth to the monochrome palette, too.
- For smart casual, exchange the button-up shirt for a t-shirt in summer, or a rollneck sweater in winter. Just keep the layer piece colour-neutral (maroon, navy, olive, beige) and patterns tasteful (a Breton stripe or a contemporary geometric mosaic).
- Not into ties? Don an open neck, button shirt and grab a neckerchief, tying it in a loose knot around the neck before tucking the loose ends into the shirt or letting them fly about – like a rock star – in the breeze.
- Finish a formal black suit with a smart pair of black dress shoes or a more rock-ish outfit with Chelsea boots. Look to a black suede cap-toe for a tonal match that will add some texture to your outfit, too.
- Take the formal edge off a two-piece by splitting the suit into separates and pairing the jacket with slim grey trousers or jeans.
- Black tends to show up the dirt (not red wine, luckily) so be sure to do the once-over with a damp cloth to rid your gear of any stains. Dry clean only when necessary, or every two to three months.
Menswear designer, tailor and suit connoisseur, Brent Wilson, shares his secrets to perfecting the black suit.
"There are some very simple rules when buying, owning and wearing a black suit. First rule of the black suit club: you have to own one! Why? It's a wardrobe staple. A black suit is so versatile and it can be can be utilised for all occasions.
Picture this: it's the start of a new week, you are wearing a white, spread collar shirt paired with an Italian silk, black-and-white polkadot tie (half windsor knot, of course). Matte-black, polished leather monk strap shoes – with silk black-and-white polkadot socks, match back perfectly with your tie. You look great, feel great, and are now ready to do a great job.
Second rule of the black suit club: make sure your suit is made from a natural fabric – wool, linen, cotton or a blend (wool, silk, cashmere, linen etc). Under no circumstances are polyester or poly-blends acceptable.
Third rule of black suit club (or any suit club): make sure the suit fits. Do not be swayed by brand names, labels or price tags. No fit, no entry.
On Fridays, wear your favourite raw, selvedge denim jeans, roll your cuffs (two turns) and throw on a basic white t-shirt, before sliding into some woven suede loafers. Your impeccably tailored black jacket adds an elegant, refined profile to your contemporary look. Now, sip on a whisky (neat) and reflect on your week's accolades."
Click through the gallery above to see how 50 stylish men interpret the black suit.