For generations the suit has been considered the everyday man’s armour – something you pull on when you want to look and feel your very best. But for those men who are exploring the world of formalwear for the first time, where should you start? And what styles should you be looking to invest your hard-earned cash in? After all, a good suit is one of the most expensive clothing purchases you will make, so you want to get your money’s worth. Timeless, refined and sophisticated, the five suits below are what we consider to be modern-day essentials – transcending seasonal trends, they will never go out of fashion.
The Navy Two-Piece
A navy blue two-piece is arguably the only suit a man would ever need, with its rich and versatile tone enabling it to adapt to any scenario – be it a job interview, high-end restaurant or wedding reception. The key with this style (aside from it fitting perfect) is to opt for a classic single-breasted, notch lapel jacket and always look to combine with brown footwear and accessories over black. Outside of the office, your navy blazer can do double time, combining with jeans, chinos or tailored trousers to produce a wealth of smart-casual looks.
The Black Two-Piece
Although the black suit often gets a bad rap, a well-tailored version will always look sophisticated and chic, not to mention slimming. However, when it comes to styling, keep it simple – too much colour or pattern can cheapen the aesthetic. A classic white dress shirt and black silk tie is a winning combination, especially when finished with a smart pair of black lace-ups or Chelsea boots. This should be considered your go-to evening option; a full black suit is often too stark to wear in the daytime (it looks its best under artificial light), but you can take the edge off by splitting it into separates and pairing the jacket with slim grey trousers.
The Grey Prince Of Wales Check Suit
Some prints fall out of fashion as quickly as they come in, but the Prince of Wales check has stood the test of time. First developed for gamekeepers in Scotland, who would watch over the countryside and monitor the wildlife, the motif has become a popular option for men of all ages and walks of life. Understated yet refined, a charcoal or mid-grey Prince of Wales check suit will help you subtly stand out in a sea of navy and black tailoring. Just remember to keep your surrounding pieces pared-back and muted to let the pattern do all the talking. Due to its British heritage roots, try combining the blazer with similar rugged and outdoorsy pieces at the weekend – think dark indigo jeans and a pair of tan brogues.
The Mid-Grey Three-Piece
Grey is a truly versatile colour that works just as well in the office as it does for a groom’s suit. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the mid-grey three-piece has remained a menswear classic, proving a strong investment for those that prefer fully buttoned-up style. While the waistcoat may not seem like an everyday piece, it’s a great addition to have hanging in your wardrobe for those occasions when you want to make a real impression. It also allows you to ditch the jacket (for example, in the heat of summer) and still look extremely put together. Try the trousers and waistcoat with a tieless shirt – sleeves rolled up, of course – for a slightly dressed-down feel.
With modern gents finally realising the importance of seasonal dressing, the beige suit has quickly developed into a contemporary classic. Your default option for any warm-weather event, it effortlessly bridges the gap between smart and casual, meaning it can be dressed up with a shirt and tie for work as easily as it can down with a simple grey tee for a summer wedding. With this design only really suitable during spring/summer, prioritise breathable cotton or linen-blend versions to ensure comfort in the heat and opt for a slim but not skinny cut so as not to restrict air circulation. Don’t be afraid to split it into separates either. Due to its relaxed nature, the individual pieces are extremely easy to wear – try the trousers with a polo shirt and minimal trainers for a sporty weekend look or the blazer with your favourite jeans and a pair of leather loafers for a night out on the town. Complete with brown or navy blue accessories for a strong yet considered contrast.