Though not as easily pulled off as ubiquitous – mostly thanks to their versatility – grey or navy men’s suits, a well-styled black two-piece is a thing of undeniable sartorial gravitas.
Unsure of how to style yours? Are you thinking what shirt and tie to wear with a black suit? Are you trying to outfit build with our wide range of hand rolled and bespoke accessories? From colour combinations to finding the perfect coordinating accessories, we’re here to show you exactly why black is the new, well... black.
In this post we will cover:
- What shirt colours work best with a black suit
- What shoes to wear to create a balanced black suit combination
- The all black suit for men - one to wear or avoid?
- Black suit combinations
- Black suit and tie options
- Styling options for black suit tie & pocket square combinations
- Some of our favourite black suit images
Black Suit Combinations
Spoiled by too-often seen over-long trousers, ill-fitting jackets and mismatched colour combinations, the impact a sleek black suit can create has often been overlooked. Not only does it never date, the black suit styled right with the correct accessories can be mixed and matched to suit all occasions.
Black-tie dress code? Don't make the mistake of wearing a normal black suit, instead, wear a tuxedo, with peak lapels, a marcella shirt with double-cuffs, a tonal black based silk tie and pocket square and always hide your waist, with a waistcoat or a cummerbund.
Though it may require a little more thought, a beautifully cut, perfectly tailored men’s all black suit that fits like a glove should be a staple in every refined gent’s wardrobe.
After you have considered your fit and cut, an important thing to consider when piecing together your black suit is how it works alongside your colouring and complexion. As a rule, those with pale skin and fair hair would do well to opt for a shirt that eases the contrast between light and dark – cool grey, light blue or warmer pastel shades work nicely here. Those with darker skin tones can opt for braver colours or add bold print pops through their styling accessories.
When building out your outfit, nailing the colour combination of shirts, ties or pocket squares for black suits is key; anything overly saturated, garish or bright in colour just won’t work. That’s not to say colour can’t work at all, in fact, some of the most well put-together men’s suits involve unique colour combinations or pops of complementary hues. Take note of our advice to showcase your sartorial mind:
The Black Suit and Blue Shirt
The age-old adage states that navy and black should never be worn together, but we’re here to attest that this could, in fact, be one of the sleekest tonal combinations around. A black suit, blue shirt hints at dressiness without the formality of, say, a white shirt, and this ensemble makes light work of smartening up in a contemporary way. As the image of Mr Ryan Reynolds below shows, the navy accessible accents in the combination gives a young, smart yet fashion look that appeals to the eye. Why not shop our range of Navy and blue suiting accessories here.
Alternatively, the black-suit-light-blue-shirt combination remains one not to be sniffed at. Perfect for the office, it looks entirely appropriate for meeting clients, and works for after-work drinks too. Match with a simple easy print/dot/geo colour print tie and you are good to go.
The Black Suit and Grey or Silver Shirt
A beautiful colour combination that works for any skin tone, a black suit and silver or grey shirt is a sartorial go-to. Not quite as stark a contrast as white and black, it’s smart without being harsh; a tonal tie and silver accessories will pull the look together effortlessly. We suggest our grey pinstripe merino wool tie to finish the outfit.
The Black Suit and Pink Shirt
Softening against black, a pink shirt is surprisingly flattering and easier to pull off than you think. In the same ballpark as a light-blue Oxford button down, the look is smart but not stuffy, making it a safe bet for work or with jeans for smart-casual dress codes. Alternatively, a light or pastel-pink shirt makes a dapper alternative to white when your RSVP calls for something a little smarter.
The Black Suit and White Shirt
John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, Will Smith in Men in Black, James Bond… some of the most iconic scenes in modern film have featured a black suit and crisp white shirt – a testament to the ensemble’s enduring impact. The ultimate way to smarten up for a formal affair, this combination gives off a certain air of masculinity that can’t be achieved with any other combination; it’s suave, sharp and slick. As suggested, this combo is a classic and everlasting look so we suggest to keep the ties, square and shoes minimal, skinny and slick. A tonal jacquard floral is a nice way to add some texture without breaking up the palette.
Looking to push this look one step further? How about opting for the tuxedo. The main difference between a tux and a classic black suit and white suit shirt is the presence of satin on the lapels and trims, and the bow tie or cummerbund/vest worn with it finishes off a true occasion wear piece. The very last word in debonair sophistication, the tux is the reserve of the elite of social engagements and we’d argue that a gent looks at his very best in a beautifully crafted tuxedo. Shop our tuxedo accessories collection on site here.
The All Black Suit and Black Shirt
Black, on black, on black. You can sometimes have too much of a good thing, and in our opinion, the black suit and black shirt (often paired with a black tie, see our choice of pleasure here) is a bridge too far. All though quite a common look, the lack of contrast in black suit black shirt means that the overall shape and cut of the jacket, shirt, waistcoat and even the tie are lost in the darkness and leaves the wearer looking flat.
Style is a personal choice, and you won't be undertaking any fashion faux pas with this black on black suit look, but with so many amazing combinations out there, whether you lean towards subtle or flamboyant, we'd say the black suit with black shirt is one to avoid. If you do love this combination and styling choice, may we suggest to add some texture interest in the tie and pocket square to add subtle details to break up the tonal.
The Black Suit and Printed Shirt
Now here’s where things get interesting. Inject a little personality into your look with a print or motif that complements your black suit. Take your pick from geos, florals or polka dots, but to avoid a style catastrophe keep the print small and tonal, keeping the colours of the shirt and suit complementary – they should work together rather than battling for the limelight. This also gives you the option to match and play with your pocket square print. We at Rampley are known for our stunning bespoke and unbeatable print technique and options so we are sure you can find a counterpart here. Be sure to style together in a complimentary manner rather than pattern clash. Example, use the border edge of your square to match the dominate print colour of your shirt.
The Black Suit and Non-formal Shirt
A contemporary update for the gent who likes to stand out from the crowd, swapping a shirt for a high-quality cotton tee or knitwear can really highlight your standing as a man of impeccable taste and sartorial know how. Perfect for low-key occasions and winter layering, try a grey cashmere roll neck or a printed t-shirt. Just remember the golden rule: keep the neckline high and the cut form fitting. Be sure to keep an eye out for our new cashmere knitwear range landing this season on site, perfect for the layering option.
What Makes Up A Black Tailored Jacket?
With any black suit, you need to ensure you know all the key details associated with a luxury tailored jacket. As part of our Details Video Series, we explore the key components that make up a tailored jacket. From the importance of the lapels, to the benefits of using natural fibres, Leah speaks with fashion consultant Chris Modoo and delves into the main elements of a tailored jacket.
A classic jacket should be well made, versatile and long-lasting. The below video covers the key elements to be aware of when choosing a new jacket.
The Finer DetailsFinally, we move onto the accessories which can make or break your look. Below we run through those small touches that will add the final touch of finesse to your black suit.
The most obvious choice is the black suit and black tie combination. Really, you can’t go wrong with it for a special occasion; effortlessly suave and polished with minimal effort, it’s a sartorial no-brainer.
For a pop of colour, the black suit, red tie look does provide a sharp finish for a more formal occasion such as a wedding and is something a little different than the classic navy suit and red tie that you'll see in cities across the world.
Another key option with your tie is the T word… Texture. We love a subtle pindot, stripe or fabric detail running through that catches the light in a delicate way. Our wool and basketweave ties on site are perfect for this end use. To avoid looking dated, forego shiny fabrics in favour of matt tones and subtle texture. Just make sure the tie is in proportion to the lapels and fit of your suit.
The colours in your tie should be sympathetic to those on your pocket square. So either you can take a secondary colour from your tie and have that in your pocket square such as in the image below where the yellow stripes in the blue tie work well with the yellow primary colours of our Lion Hunt pocket square as shown below. For a deep dive on pocket square colour combinations, designs and folds see the following link: How to wear a pocket square.
Your pocket square would be made from the finest fabric, have clear print definition for colour clarity and be the perfect weight to create the perfect fold. See how our pocket squares are created in this video series below.
Looking for new staple pieces for your wardrobe or updates from a previous purchase? Many of the suggestions and choices below are available from our website : Rampley & Co Shop.
The easiest rule of them all: a black suit should always be paired with a pair of polished black shoes. For a slightly less formal look go for a pair of Derby black shoes, but for formal events go for a pair of whole cut Oxfords.
Image Source: Soletopia.com
Watch, Cufflinks and Tie Bar
Whichever watch, cufflink and tie bar you opt for, remember to keep the metal on each the same. Nothing ruins an outfit quicker than mismatched metal. And if you’re wearing a belt, ensure the buckle follows suit. The devil is in the detail after all.
Like the footwear, and without sounding too boring, there really is no other choice than black when it comes to socks. Our Black Dress Socks are an elegant everyday dress sock, made in England from the highest quality cotton lisle. The cotton-nylon blend vastly improves their durability, while the toe is hand-linked to provide a virtually seamless toe.
Choosing a Tie for a Black Suit
Rich and earthy colours such as reds, cream and greys work best with a black suit as they complement well and rarely clash. With a black suit red tie the most popular and classic option for most gentlemen.
Below image shows a classic combination of the black suit red tie which is an easy way to look smart and works in a multitude of occasions such as a dinner event or work environment. The white shirt here works well at creating a negative space and breaking up the outfit unlike a black suit black shirt would.
Product Focus: Pocket Squares For Black Suits
Accent a dapper print or colour with your pocket square or socks. Giving a hint of your style leanings, these accoutrements allow you a little more creative freedom than your tie or shirt. But whatever you do, remember your look should work together as a whole, and the golden rule is to keep in mind is that your tie should never directly match your pocket square. See our favourite silk pocket squares on site which work perfectly with a black suit.
'Baiser Nocturne' Pocket Square
As the description says, “As our gentleman’s head hits the pillow, one final glance to his night stand shows the kiss of a fleeting romance.” This cheeky, yet dapper choice works well with black suits due to the dark and introverted colour levels. The pops of burgundy work well to pair with a matching solid tie.
Blue And Green Ottoman Tile Pocket Square
The vibrant motif on this pocket square has been adapted from a beautifully decorated tile in the V&A, a classic and versatile design that can be paired with a number of different jacket colours and styles. We love the white negative space with highlight peacock colour pops to add to a black suit for a flamboyant edge.
'Dernier Verre' Pocket Square
With a bow tie in check and cigar in hand, this true sartorial piece works perfectly with any black suit, and in specific, formal or occasion-wear. The colour levels include cognac brown, velvet rich greens and honey warm golds which bring this piece of modern art to life.
See our video below for why we believe we create the world's best pocket squares. You can view our full range here: Pocket Square Collection.
In summary, the right black suit combination is a classic look that can be worn a number of ways to either dress it up or down depending on the occasion. Below is a recap of the main points we've covered.
- The fairer your complexion the warmer your shirt’s colour should be.
- A black suit and white shirt is a great choice for a very formal affair.
- Looking for an office-appropriate men’s suit? Opt for black with a blue shirt.
- If you really want to show off your sartorial skill, reach for a printed shirt or a cashmere roll neck.
- Match your metals, coordinate your accessories and always pair your black suit with black shoes. No exceptions.
Menswear Blogger - Linus Norrbom - Sweden
"From a person that feels naked without a pocket square in the chest pocket of my jacket, I can honestly say that Rampley & Co. have change the way I look upon pocket squares.
Rampley & Co. is well renowned for their beautiful and unique pocket squares, but have more recently widened their range of quality men’s accessories, such as e.g. ties in lovely Scabal fabrics but also braces, umbrellas and socks.
In terms of the pocket squares, it is truly a great joy wear a piece of art in your pocket. They feature carefully selected artwork motifs, beautifully printed on high-quality silk and well handcrafted with nice hand-rolled edges etc. I find that the size of 42×42 cm of the Rampley & Co. pocket squares works really well, it sits well in the pocket and allows various folds. The different folds, combined with a lot of colours in the motif, makes the pocket square really versatile in terms of complementing an outfit..." Click to read full review.
The Grey Fox - David Evans - United Kingdom
"I've used Rampley & Co pocket squares, socks and ties for a few years now. All are well-made and stylish. I believe in buying few and buying well - it's the only sustainable way to avoid piles of stuff going into landfill.
The pocket squares are exceptional; in fact I'd collect them all if I could. Those based on old paintings and prints have the advantage that you can fold them in infinite ways, effectively giving you scores of squares in one.
The ties are the ideal width and length and their quality enables me to tie a full knot - always important. It's always worth keeping an eye on their website as the best designs come and go quickly..." Click to read full review.
"I was elated when I received the most elegant and exquisite pocket square I had ordered from Rampley & Co! It is absolutely gorgeous. The color and clarity of the scene depicted, and the quality of this accessory are truly exceptional." Read more reviews...
"Very impressed by both the quality of the product and the customer service. The team fulfilled a last-minute request and got a beautiful pocket square to me via international shipping nearly instantaneously." Read more reviews...
"I recently purchased a scarf for my wife´s Birthday and a pocket square for myself. We could not be more pleased. The items arrived promptly, beautifully presented and I received a surprise with my pocket square." Read more reviews...