A staple of any wardrobe, the classic charcoal grey suit is suitable for business and social events.

That’s because charcoal suits are versatile and can create many looks, depending on how you pair them with ties and dress shirts.

Your choice of shoes can also switch up the look.

So, with the strategic use of colors and patterns, you can always make it appear unique.

Charcoal Grey Suits vs. Light & Medium Grey

Just a quick intro: different shades of grey match best with different colors.

The light grey suit is generally more casual initially. It’s a shade better for warmer months or hotter climates.

Most people can successfully wear light grey suits, but they look best on people with fair skin complexion.

light grey vs. charcoal grey suit difference

A medium shade of grey is the most versatile suit color of all because it pairs well with other colors.

It is a neutral shade that can go equally well for business or social. Swap out the shoes or mix and match your ties and shirts to vary your look.

Charcoal suits, on the other hand, are considered more professional-looking. Although, charcoal grey is adaptable and can be dressed down for an informal event.

how to wear charcoal grey suit

Keep in mind that charcoal grey is not a color that typically generates much passion or excitement. Instead, it is frequently considered a bland tone.

So, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it must be paired with equally neutral colors. Quite the opposite!

The Formality of the Dark Grey Suit

The darker a suit is, the more formal it’s considered.

As a result, charcoal suits are one of the top recommendations for most professional work settings.

charcoal grey suit color combinations with a shirt and tie

If you work in an environment that has a business professional dress code, chances are you need a charcoal suit.

A charcoal suit is dark enough to be similar to a black suit but not as ubiquitous. It allows you to stand out from the crowd at a semi-formal event with a charcoal suit.

how to wear charcoal grey suits for semi-formal events

This type of dress code offers more choices than its more formal counterpart, so there is room for slight experimentation.

Patterning makes the suit less formal. Subtle pinstripes are acceptable for a work environment but not for formal occasions.

Be sure to stick with a plain charcoal suit if you intend to incorporate it into your eveningwear.

how to wear plain charcoal grey suit

Charcoal grey wool suit by Tomasso Black.

Slim-fit white dress shirt by Suitsupply.

Navy blue tie by

Patent-leather black Oxfords by Bruno Marc.

You can always purchase a second charcoal suit with patterns once you discover how much you love your original charcoal suit.

Charcoal Grey Suit and White Shirt Color Combinations

It is likely that you already have a white button-up shirt in your closet. A dress shirt can’t get more classic than that.

White looks crisp against charcoal grey. It makes the colors pop and is very bright and clean.

how to wear charcoal grey suit with a white dress shirt

When you want your charcoal suit to be at its most formal, wear it with your white shirt. Together, these two colors can give you tie combinations for days, so deciding on one may feel daunting.

Slim-fit charcoal suit by Calvin Klein.

Slim-fit herringbone white shirt by Calvin Klein.

White blue striped tie by Tiebar.

Brown derby shoes by TJM.

Red Tie

Red ties are traditionally known as “power ties.” It is easy to see why – the bright slash of color jumps out at you.

A deeper red, however, with a charcoal suit is more muted and looks stunning. It creates an understated look for the office without trying too hard.

Herringbone red tie by Tiebar.

Dotted maroon tie by Tiebar.

Grey Tie

A grey tie with a charcoal suit is slightly less formal. It is a way to lessen the formality of the suit while still looking very pulled together.

Try wearing this with brown shoes and a brown belt to tone down the monochromatic effect.

Black-striped grey tie by Retreez.

Striped grey tie by

Black Tie

Adding a black tie to your charcoal suit and white dress shirt makes the outfit formal enough to wear to most evening events.

It’s the most formal color combination for this suit while also looking incredibly sophisticated and polished.

Black tie by

Foulard black tie by Nautica.

Brown Tie

For a surprising twist on the charcoal suit, pair it with a brown tie. A muted brown next to charcoal grey looks impeccable.

Adding some texture, such as small dots, can create a lovely effect. Naturally, pair the outfit with brown shoes.

Chocolate brown tie by Tiebar.

Dotted brown tie by Tiebar.

Charcoal Grey Suit and Pink Shirt Color Combinations

A pink dress shirt with any suit may seem modern, but you might be surprised how long it has been around.

David Beckham was known for being an impeccable dresser, and he often paired a pink shirt and a charcoal suit.

how to wear charcoal grey suit with pink dress shirt

There is no reason that a charcoal suit always needs to be dressed in dark or muted colors.

Pink will brighten the look of the charcoal suit and add a bit of flair. It brings a bit of cheer where you least expect it. It may even brighten your day.

Shop The Look

Charcoal herringbone suit by Suitsupply.

Herringbone pink shirt by

Foulard grey tie by

Brown cap-toe Oxfords by Ace Marks.

Red Tie

This look is best pulled off with a dark red tone. The red will complement the pink and create a striking visual.

Burgundy tie by

Maroon silk tie by

Purple Tie

Pairing purple with a charcoal suit and a pink shirt creates a visually appealing combination, thanks to their proximity on the color wheel.

This use of analogous colors results in a harmonious and splendid look, perfectly blending these hues.

Royal purple tie by

Dotted purple tie by Retreez.

Striped Tie

If you’re unsure which color to go for, a black and dark grey striped tie is always an excellent choice. Navy with pink stripes is fine as well.

Black-striped grey tie by Retreez.

Striped lavender/navy tie by Tiebar.

Charcoal Grey Suit and Blue Shirt Color Combinations

A light blue shirt has a serene effect on a charcoal suit. A darker shade comes on too overpowering, while a bright blue would feel too garish.

how to wear charcoal grey suit with light blue shirt

Pale blue is tasteful, and it complements the grey by bringing out the suit’s blue hues.

While not quite as cheery as a pink shirt, a pale blue shirt is relaxing, a subtle reminder of summer and warmth.  It can cut the intensity of a charcoal suit without sacrificing any sophistication.

Wool-cashmere blend slim-fit suit by Suitsupply.

Spread-collar sky blue shirt by Charles Tyrwhitt.

Dotted grey tie by Tiebar.

Brown penny loafers by The Jacket Maker.

Blue Tie

The blue tie should be darker than the shirt. The two blues together have a calming effect, emanating relaxed vibes.

This color scheme is very graceful and draws out the blue tones of the charcoal suit.

Classic blue tie by

Patterned blue tie by

Navy Tie

Another very sophisticated look – navy with a charcoal suit looks beautiful together. It is slightly less formal than a black tie, but it is still quite conservative-looking.

Navy is a serious, thoughtful color. It nearly blends with the charcoal suit but instead stands out ever so slightly from it.

Solid navy tie by

Patterned navy blue tie by

Dark Grey / Black Tie

Again, the tie should be the same shade or darker than the charcoal suit. The blue shirt helps break up what could become a dreary look by infusing a bit of buoyancy.

If you’re unsure whether a particular dark grey tie works with your suit, you can always stick to black.

Charcoal silk tie by

Onyx black tie by

Charcoal Grey Suit and Patterned Shirt

Tie and shirt color combinations can create a very personalized look for your charcoal suit.

To take it a step further, try incorporating some stripes or patterns on your dress shirt. Don’t feel confined by solid button-up shirts.

how to wear charcoal grey suit with dotted and patterned shirt

Vertical stripes are the most classic print for a dress shirt. The thinner the stripes are, the more formal the shirt is.

The most conservative look for this is a white background with colored stripes. Even the most professionally dressed offices see plenty of this.

charcoal grey suit, pink striped shirt, and white sneakers

Other patterns can be fun and even quirky. Floral and checked patterns are the most popular but don’t shy away from paisley.

Prints such as these are more relaxed and casual, so don’t attempt them for a formal look.

Patterns are a decided effort to make a suit less stuffy. Overall, remember to keep the patterns and stripes simple.

However, too much busyness will overwhelm the dark hues of the charcoal suit and can come on too strong.

charcoal grey suit with patterned shirt and tie

Be mindful when choosing a tie for these shirts so that you do not end up in a clashing mess. A charcoal suit needs very little help to look amazing.

Match the Shoes with a Charcoal Grey Suit

Black shoes are the best match for a charcoal suit. They are close enough in color that they are a natural pairing.

Since black is the color choice for formal events, a pair of black leather shoes will dress up your charcoal suit.

Dark grey (charcoal) suit, white shirt, grey tie and black shoes color combination

A dark, warm brown dress shoe is a lovely alternative to black shoes that project an old-fashioned appearance. However, it is slightly less formal.

Be sure to opt for a pair with rich tones that will be on equal warmth with the charcoal suit.

Try out a pair of burgundy shoes with your charcoal suit for a surprising twist. Burgundy is reminiscent of a jewel tone, which beautifully blends with a charcoal suit.

charcoal suit and burgundy dress shoes

These can also be worn for more formal occasions.

Beyond the Basics of a Charcoal Grey Suit

Before jumping to a conclusion, there are other things to consider. Not every combination works merely on color.

Charcoal Grey Suit Styles

There are many options out there in the world of suits. However, you are probably looking for something conservative if you opt for a charcoal suit.

The safest and most classic suit style is a single-breasted jacket with two buttons.

Single-breasted suits are the standard style for most office wear. They have been around for decades, and though it has gone through minor variations, they remain mostly the same.

A vest can increase the sophistication of your charcoal suit by making it a three-piece. It also adds versatility to your look.

Charcoal windowpane three-piece suit, blue dress shirt, red paisley tie and burgundy double monk straps

It’s like you have two different suits when you have a vest. So, depending on which look you want to go for, you can decide to wear the vest or not.

Double-Breasted Charcoal Suits

Double-breasted suits are more formal and, therefore, increase the sophistication of the suit. As a result, these suits look polished and gentlemanly.

Dark grey double-breasted suit

Another way to jazz up a standard double-breasted suit is to swap out your standard notch lapels for peak lapels.

A different stylized and fashion-forward look is to pair a double-breasted charcoal suit with a sweater or turtleneck. It may not be suitable for a corporate office, but it will slay at a semi-formal event.

double-breasted charcoal grey suit, orange turtleneck, black oxford shoes

You never want to appear as if you are trying too hard, so be sure to pick one design and wear it with flair. Less is more.

Dressing Down The Suit

I know for some of you, “charcoal” and “dressing down” are terms that don’t intersect, but hear me out.

You can start by simply replacing the dress shoes with a more casual shoe style, like low-top sneakers.

charcoal grey suit, white dress shirt, and white sneakers

Opting for a charcoal blazer that features patch pockets is also another way to tone down the suit.

Even better, why not separate the blazer and pants?

That way, you can pair the charcoal blazer with other dress pants, like navy or grey ones. Even beige pants work well with charcoal.

charcoal blazer, navy striped shirt, grey pants, and brown suede loafers

Similarly, you can pair your charcoal pants with other suit jacket colors, like navy or blue.

navy blue blazer, grey turtleneck, charcoal pants, and brown loafers

Finally, separating the suit jacket and pants is a wonderful opportunity to bypass dress shirts.

Polo shirts, sweaters, and turtlenecks are great garments to complement your charcoal suit. Also, this combination opens up a broader spectrum of color options to experiment with, enriching your wardrobe possibilities.

Charcoal suit, black turtleneck, and burgundy loafers

grey turtleneck, charcoal dress pants, and black derby brogues

Did I miss something? What’s your favorite combination that includes a charcoal suit jacket or pants? Let me know in the comments below.

Alexander Stoicoff

Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.