Clichéd but devastatingly true, the first impression plays a crucial role in how hard you need to work for success. And the first and the most important thing that one notices in a man’s suit – before the number of buttons, the cut, the proportions – is its color.
The general rule is that the larger the clothing item, the more conservative the color choice should be.
Beyond that, consider the situations in which your suit will be used. If you rarely need a suit, then one will always be a safe choice. On the other hand, if you wear suits regularly, you will probably want one of each and a variation on brown as well. For the business world, you can’t go wrong with black, charcoal grey or navy blue.
Then there’s your own lifestyle. If you wear suits regularly, you will probably want a number of different choices in terms of style in your wardrobe; once you have a core collection of dark suits – grey, black or navy – you may feel able to experiment with colors like brown or dark green.
Until the 1980s, browns and greens were not considered an appropriate color for a business suit. That has changed today, especially among younger professionals who want to break away from tradition. The danger of course is that you may have to interact with people who have not yet achieved a similar flexibility; don’t risk setting the wrong impression among those with whom you will be doing business.
And some colors for men’s suits match the seasons, or more specifically the weather. Darker tones generally suit gloomier times like winter or the rain. Spring and summer would be right for lighter, fresher colors.
You should also find out what colors highlight your hair, eyes and skin tones. When trying on a suit, check it out in both fluorescent and natural lighting
When a man’s suit has to serve multiple purposes, choose a conservative color like charcoal grey and vary the look with accessories. Adding extras such as colorful ties, pocket squares and cufflinks allows you to insert your personality whenever the situation is appropriate.