Suit Colors - language and meaning of colors

Solid navy or charcoal gray is the best choice for your only suit. These colors will take you everywhere from interviews to boardrooms, business lunches to cocktail receptions, weddings to Funerals.

Avoid patterns like bold pinstripes for this one suit. Patterns may be classic, but they’re not as flexible as solids and are more tiring. You‘ll have plenty of time and money for pattern later.

Of the two colors, we lean toward charcoal gray. Charcoal is the confidence color. It’s subdued and elegant and makes a young man look experienced. Gray makes good first impressions because it's less common, less severe, more upscale. You won't look like the last guy who came in or the one before him or the one before him. They all wore navy suits.

If you’re fortunate enough to have both, wear charcoal for the first interview and the navy suit for follow-up. Navy is the power color. Wear it when it’s time to negotiate.

Do not confuse charcoal gray with black. Although the black business suit has gained acceptance in contemporary Fashion and is widely seen abroad, it is not mainstream among American executives in all regions of the country. It shouldn’t be your first or second suit. Maybe your eighth or ninth.

 

The power of color 

Color has a language all its own, even the subtle shades found in fine budiness suits. It behooves you to speak a little of it.

- Dark gray, as we have said, is a confidence color. lt gets you noticed without intimidating others. lt‘s good for first interviews. meetings with clients, and most anything else you can think of.
- Navy is a more powerful color. Wear it to negotiations in which being successful trumps being liked. Meetings with bankers come to mind.
- Black is a severe color. lt conveys confidence and power, but with an edge. For some more traditional types, the black suit still denotes funereal, artsy, or brutish in a business setting. That's why you should be careful where you wear it and with whom. Of course, it's the color for formal attire.
- Brown and olive are warm and masculine. They do not have the presence or authority of a navy or gray suit, but that can be a good thing, as President Ronald Reagan often demonstrated. Browns project a friendly image and are great for rapport-building. Wear them to staff meetings or anytime you want to be non-confrontational. They‘re perfect for the dominant man who needs to come across as approachable.
- Tan is a neutral color. People tend to remember a tan suit, which is often thought of as a rich man's color because he can afford the dry cleaning bill. Provided the fabric is fine and shirt and tie colors are conservatively balanced, Ian's neutrality can be to summer what charcoal and navy are to winter—ultimately flexible and universally acceptable.

 

Next: Suit Cuts - American, British and Italian Cut Jackets

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