What is the best suit colour?
I will now look at what really is the best suit colour for business.
Traditional business wear requires a dark suit and light shirt – this is conservative and expected however you do have a say over what colour your suit actually is and your choice should be informed by the following five factors:
- what is appropriate for my industry?
- what do people expect of me in my role?
- what do I want to communicate?
- what climate (season) am I dressing for?
- what colours complement my skin tone and make me look attractive?
I recently looked at what the colour grey communicates, when looking from the psychology of colour.
Now what do navy and black say?
Navy is the colour of conservatism and responsibility – it says I am reliable and you can trust me. It conveys honesty, loyalty and confidence, it is a serious colour representing knowledge, power and integrity, and for this reason it is used widely in the corporate world. Navy expresses inner security and assurance, it is sincere and reserved, it does not make a fuss or draw attention. Navy conveys reliability, taking control and doing the right thing!
When selecting a shade of navy be mindful of your own colouring and the climate you are planning to wear it in. A lighter or brighter navy works well when the sun shines, and is better on people who are blond or fair in colouring – while a deeper/darker navy is better in the winter months and works well on those of you with darker hair and a mediterranean or asian complexion.
Obviously if you have blue eyes wearing some sort of mid-navy will only bring them out! Something to note: when you ask people their favourite colour a clear majority will say some sort of blue, as it is safe and non-threatening. A great deal of what we see in the world is blue – the sky and the ocean, which might be why we feel so comfortable with it – while navy is not blue like the sky it is related.
Something to note: when you ask people their favourite colour a clear majority will say some sort of blue, as it is safe and non-threatening. A great deal of what we see in the world is blue – the sky and the ocean, which might be why we feel so comfortable with it – while navy is not blue like the sky it is related.
A black suit would never be my first choice.
Although black is the colour of authority, power, formality, prestige, sophistication, stability and intelligence – it can also look unimaginative or sombre on its own. It is also associated with fear, death, mystery, evening wear and anonymous waiting staff – black can easy overwhelm people and be seen as intimidating, unfriendly and unapproachable.
As a colour black absorbs light and contracts – for this reason it works well in contrast with bright colours and will make you look slimmer, however when black and yellow or orange are put together the message is a warning of danger.
So when buying a formal suit for business I would start by recommending a navy suit followed by a mid grey suit. In order to create an interesting wardrobe and add variety especially if you wear a suit every day, you need to vary the shade, the weave of cloth and the styling.
A note about black: I would avoid the black suit as a business choice for men because it reminds me of the dinner suit or waiting staff. Some woman can carry black off during the day (those are usually the ones with dark hair and black, asian or mediterranean colouring) however what I have discovered over the years is that a great deal of senior business women avoid the black suit because it is so common. What they have said to me is “I don’t want to look the same as the intern” who just starting her career and purchased a black suit from Zara!
A business suit is an investment in your whole look – and if purchased well it will last many many years.
I recommend putting time, energy and money into finding the “right” one. So that you not only look good but feel really good while wearing it.
The cost of your clothes is not what you pay for them
but what you pay for them divided by the number of time you wear them.
I now leave you equipped with the challenge of suit shopping!
REMEMBER BE YOURSELF AND LOOK GREAT!