Aside from gray, blue, and brown, there is one other color in the world of men’s suiting that’s fairly widely seen, and that’s black. But for how popular and ubiquitous it’s become, the question remains: is it truly a good look for most men? Let’s find out.
Why Are Black Suits So Widely Seen Today?
The fact that the typical dress of the general populace around the world, especially in the United States, is largely dictated today by what famous and other notable people are wearing–be they celebrities, politicians, or people in similar fields. To focus on men, what do we see these famous individuals wearing? We see them wearing black ensembles at award shows, black ensembles in music videos, black ensembles at political debates and other state functions. In short, the color black is everywhere.
With that said though, the presence of black ensembles in these various situations can ultimately be divided into three camps; appropriately formal, high fashion, or ultimately misguided.
When we see men wearing black ensembles at awards ceremonies and other similar functions, they aren’t wearing–or at least shouldn’t be wearing–conventional black business suits. Rather, they’re adhering to historical dress codes where the formality of black is appropriate. In these kinds of formal situations, a black business suit wouldn’t be formal enough in its details and styling, and would therefore be an ill-advised choice to wear.
Black is the bedrock of the fashion world for both men and women. For men, there are all kinds of black garments as well like black turtleneck sweaters, black leather jackets, and black suits.
What we mean by that is this, if you’d like to look hip, trendy, on point and so on, there’s nothing wrong with you wearing an ultra skinny fit black suit, white shirt, and black necktie. But on the whole, black suits and especially monochromatic all black looks don’t have a place in the traditional style canon of the early 20th century which, of course, is our focus here at the Gentleman’s Gazette. Phrased another way, black suits, black shirts, and so on, undeniably have a place in modern fashion but they’re harder to implement well in a classic gentleman’s wardrobe.
Misguided Wearers of Black
The main culprits in this camp are politicians. We mean that most politicians from various political parties all across the Western world but again, particularly in America, have adopted the black business suit as a sort of default uniform over the last 30 years or so. They’ve done it because it’s an effort to look as serious and businesslike as possible and in reality, while a black suit certainly is serious, it’s not all that appropriate for most business settings and so it ultimately looks somewhat out of place. If we look back further though to presidents and other political figures of the early to mid 20th century, we’ll see that they weren’t afraid to wear suits in various different shades of blue, gray, brown, and other colors.
Why don’t you need a black suit anymore?
In a nutshell, you shouldn’t wear it often. As we laid out above, there are better choices for most scenarios.
- Formal events should be given their proper due with adherence to formal daywear or black and white tie. More politicians should feel free and confident enough to shun the confines of the black suit uniform and while high fashion can have its own trends, we believe that classic menswear follows a different set of guidelines.
- It all comes down to a matter of contrast. While it is true that the stark contrast of a black suit, white shirt, and black necktie can have a flattering effect on the silhouette of many men, it’s also true that there’s a downside to this. In that stark contrast between the black and white can also wash out the complexion of many fair skinned or fair haired men. This, of course, is especially true when out and about during the day and in direct sunlight. Of course, men who have darker complexions or darker hair could probably get away with wearing a black suit more easily but the fact of the matter remains that for a large amount of men, black suits in the daytime are just going to wash you out.
So black suits are appropriate for these three occasion
The first situation, as you may have guessed, would be funerals. Black has a historical association with mourning and while formal daywear or evening wear would probably be seen as too celebratory in tone, a black business suit can strike the right somber tone that would be appropriate for a funeral.
- Musical Concerts
While the world of classical music does have an association with white tie and black tie that’s still ongoing today, a more contemporary and popular alternative to these dress codes has been the rise of the so-called Concert Black dress code. The objective here is that the musical ensemble looks as uniform and consistent as possible so that what the audience will focus on will be the music itself.
Worship leaders such as priests and pastors will often wear black suits as will adherence to certain sects of religious tradition like Hasidic Jews or the Amish.