A great fitting black suit oozes sophisticated luxury and is the ultimate classic look for men. Black never goes out of style and works for all hair colors and skin tones. It’s also slimming for those who need it.
Do you want to stand out in the sea of pale suits that everyone seems to be wearing at the moment? Dare to be classic in a time when menswear is preoccupied with being bold and hip.
The black suit look can go drastically awry if you get the shirt and tie wrong. We’re here to help. This article has all the advice you need to find the best complementary companions for your black suit. So, why wait?
Read on to find our complete guide to a black suit, shirt, and shoe and tie combinations for a stylish, sleek appearance.
- 1 Which Colors Go Well with Black?
- 2 Choose the Black Suit by Fit
- 3 Black Suit and White Shirt Color Combinations
- 4 Black Suit and Pink Shirt Color Combinations
- 5 Black Suit and Blue Shirt Color Combinations
- 6 Black Suit and Grey Shirt Color Combinations
- 7 Black Suit and Black Shirt Color Combinations
- 8 My Verdict on Black Suit Color Combinations
Which Colors Go Well with Black?
Black suits are a formal attire staple that can also be worn in more casual settings if paired with the right shirt and tie.
You can think of black as the absence of color. This means that in theory at least, everything goes with black. But there are some stipulations. The fit of the suit plays a huge part in the overall appearance.
While a slim fitting black suit can create an elegant, sleek outline for most men, it will not work for everyone. This is where the choice of shirt and tie color can be crucial.
Of course, a white shirt is an obvious option. But pink, blue and even black shirts can look great, too. The preferred footwear option is black Oxfords, but Derby shoes and Monkstraps are acceptable as well.
How a Black Suit Should be Worn Based on Your Appearance
If you have fair skin and hair, wear your black suit with warm colors like pale blue, light pink or light minty green.
If you go too dark, the black suit will make your skin look even paler and washed out. In case you decide to wear baby pink, make sure you have a slim-fitting suit. Otherwise, the look will appear dated.
Darker-skinned men can wear their black suit with white or bolder colored shirts, like vibrant blue or yellow, for example. But it’s best to avoid overly garish colors and definitely don’t go for anything shiny.
Matching the Tie with Your Suit
Darker shirts should be teamed with dark ties. Bright colors stand out too much and create a messy effect. To add a little color, pick a dark-based tie with a colored pattern to create a formal look.
Printed shirts should have more muted colors. Look for small prints with small patterns like stripes, plaid or polka dots. Use a different scale pattern on the tie and shirt.
For example, if your tie has bold stripes, wear a solid color shirt or one with a tiny pattern only.
The rule of thumb is that your tie needs to be darker than your shirt. If you’re unsure, simply wear your tie in a darker shade of your shirt.
So, for a pale blue shirt, pick a cobalt or navy tie. With a light grey shirt, wear a charcoal grey tie. Solid color shirts can be mixed with textured ties such as a crochet weave.
Meanwhile, here is our in-depth look at the best shirt and tie combinations to rock your black suit look.
Choose the Black Suit by Fit
The black suit is the epitome of classic attire, no doubt. But to make the appearance appealing, the suit must be perfectly fitted. It’s not just about the “correct” look, it’s what defines your style and the occasion you’re attending.
I know I’ve talked about how the fit of your suit defines you over and over. However, people seem to forget how the difference becomes crucial when your suit doesn’t match your size. Always remind yourself of the basics.
Classic-Fit Black Suits
Classic-fit suits provide class and comfort. They are perfect for everyday wear, especially black ones. Besides, they are easy to find and easier to fit.
What is very interesting is the fact that classic-fit suits make you look smarter. Therefore, they are most often used in corporate environments or any formal events.
Check some of the choices I’ve made:
Slim-Fit Black Suits
No attire looks as sharp, powerful and bold as a black slim-fit suit. If your body is slim or skinny, then this fit is the one for you.
In general, slim-fit suits boos the confidence of the wearer. As a result, they are the preferred choice for dates, business meetings, and show-off events.
Here are my black slim-fit suit choices for you:
Black Suit and White Shirt Color Combinations
It’s hard to mess up a black suit/white shirt combination. The look works pretty much anywhere, any time. Wear it to the office, a wedding or out for dinner.
Getting the tie wrong, however, can cause problems with the look. Black and white are the original classic colors, so when it comes to choosing a tie, embrace tradition for formal occasions.
Your shade of tie can add a lively, or more subtle, note to your black/white backdrop, depending on the occasion. Of course, you can always wear a bow tie too.
A red tie will always add ‘pop’ to your black suit/white shirt combo. Avoid shiny ties that can look outdated, and opt for matte, or even woolen ties.
Rule of thumb states that the more formal the event, the darker the tie, with black patent leather shoes to complete the outfit. Pick this elegant combination for funerals, weddings, and formal dinners or business meetings.
For more casual occasions, brighter shades of red are acceptable, and black suede brogues or loafers are fine during the day.
Grey’s proximity to black makes this combo a smart option for any business environment. Coupled with a crisp white shirt, the shades of grey in your tie can range from dark to almost silver without appearing out of place.
Remember that your tie should fit the proportions of your lapel, and again, avoid shiny materials. Black patent Chelsea boots or a pair of semi-brogue Oxfords are ideal for this combo.
The epitome of all men’s looks, the black suit, white shirt, black tie combo is a true classic. However, with an outfit that is equally appropriate for weddings and funerals, the texture is critical.
Wool, cashmere, or tweed ties will lighten the look and are good in winter, while silk is considered seriously formal. Go for black suede Chelseas or patent black loafers to complete the ensemble.
You’ll look like a movie star and give off an unmistakable air of masculinity if you can pull this one-off. After all, James Bond looked stunning in his perfectly cut black suit, crisp white shirt, and black tie.
The days when men were advised to stay away from black and blue together are over. The genius of the black and white ‘non-colors’ means they can be combined with just about any shade of blue.
Again, navy and darker shades of blue are best for formal events. Light and even powder blues can add a pleasing, playful note to the look. Opt for ties made of silk or cashmere, and glossy, patent black leather for the shoes.
This classy but daring combo of black suit and a brown tie allows you to show off your sartorial prowess. Silk ties work well here, matt or shiny. For shoes, go classic with black patent Oxfords, or casual with leather loafers in dark brown.
Black Suit and Pink Shirt Color Combinations
In combination with a black suit, single tone pink shirts are the way to go. This creates a great foundation for your choice of tie. Red, pink, and purple ties are all good color options. Pink softens the black look.
The color is flattering and surprisingly easy to pull off. A light-pink button-down Oxford, for example, looks smart without being stuffy. It’s also a dapper choice when you need something for a less casual event.
Aim for youthful fits and textures to stave off a too elderly effect. Wear this interesting combination for a morning at the races or a daytime wedding.
Red and pink are color wheel bedfellows, so go bold with a strong, dark red to create contrast. Silk and cotton ties complement the look well.
Opt for patent leather dress shoes for formal occasions, or black suede ankle boots for the more fun-based events.
Probably one of my personal favorite choices with a pink shirt. Quite neat combination, adds elegance and a subtle note of refinement.
Since navy ties go naturally with patterns, choose a dotted or striped tie with pink stripes. Foulard ties with pink elements work great, too.
You need to break up the look here, which means that contrast is essential. Your shirt and tie should not be a similar shade of pink. Pair a dark pink shirt with a light pink tie, or vice-versa.
Texture can help add contrast too, with woolen neckwear adding a playful touch. For shoes, just about anything goes. Just keep them black.
From lavender to lilac, through to magenta and mulberry, to shades of plum and violet, purple has a lot going on. So, while still close on the color wheel to pink, a purple shade opens up a lot more options.
Purple is the color of kings, so texture-wise, silk is probably your best choice. Footwear? Classic Oxfords, Cheltenham brogues, or patent leather penny loafers will all work well with the black/pink/purple combo.
Black Suit and Blue Shirt Color Combinations
Black and blue together aren’t traditionally recommended, but if you follow a few rules they can work. Pick a light blue shirt, close to white.
This almost universal color suits most skin tones. It’s an inoffensive color that’s fairly neutral. As a general rule, don’t wear a dark suit (in our case black) with a dark shirt. So, a navy shirt wouldn’t work here.
Your outfit will be better with some contrast. A black suit, light blue shirt, and dark tie combination works well in the boardroom for a Monday morning meeting. It gives that subtle hint of dressiness without being overly formal.
Get smart in a contemporary way – just make sure that the suit is beautifully tailored and fits like a glove.
A black suit, white shirt, and black tie is a classic, but you can end up looking a little bit like a waiter if you’re not careful (use a white pocket square to prevent this, by the way). Switching the white shirt for light blue avoids this problem.
Yes, this can work if you pay attention to detail. Pick out a powder blue shirt. The perfect blue tie is royal or cobalt with a powder blue and black stripe or pattern. This patterning pulls the entire outfit together and is great for office or other daywear.
A navy tie over a light blue shirt can look great, particularly if the tie has a touch of a pink, dark red or maroon running through it.
Prince Harry pulled off a very suave looking combo recently. His black suit, light blue shirt, and narrow dark red tie pairing worked brilliantly together. His blue shirt had a subtle red thread running through it, so this was one clever outfit indeed.
Black Suit and Grey Shirt Color Combinations
This is a very good color pairing that looks good with any skin tone. Choose from a range of grey tones, from silver, slate, dove grey or charcoal.
It’s a softer contrast than black with a white shirt and looks very pulled together with silver accessories like a silver watch and ring. Black shoes would be best.
A black tie looks very smooth with a slate grey shirt. Choose a slim black tie rather than something wide. A tie with some diagonal stripes or preppy checks will lighten the mood a little.
Dark Grey Tie
A dark grey tie worn a shirt just a shade or two lighter is smart yet trendy. Look for a tie with some texture or embossed patterns for interest.
Black Suit and Black Shirt Color Combinations
Combining a black shirt with a black suit can be a difficult look to pull off. The lack of distinction between the two pieces means that getting the right balance is an absolute must.
If you do decide to take on the challenge, remember that this very exacting color combo demands quality. A mediocre black shirt will ruin the effect of even the best black suit.
The shirt should be slim fit, like the suit, and matte, rather than shiny. Use the tie to add contrast, but don’t go too wild with color. Tight knitted, wool ties in pastel shades work well as they imply a casual flavor.
Suede brogues or loafers in black (never brown), can also help break up an otherwise sober appearance.
My Verdict on Black Suit Color Combinations
A black suit doesn’t have to be staid or boring. The keys to this classic look are relatively easy to remember.
You should always aim for a top-quality, preferably slim-fitting black suit with complementary shades that won’t overwhelm. Don’t be tempted to use too much color with the black, rather try to keep it simple.
It’s vital that your suit is a good quality fit and is perfectly tailored to suit your body shape.
The best color coordination won’t make a cheap suit look expensive. Pocket squares are your go-to accessory for a finishing touch that will liven up the whole look.
Missing a combination? Feel free to add it in the comments below.