Charcoal grey is a trendy choice for business suits. A staple of any wardrobe, the classic charcoal suit is suitable for business and social events.

Charcoal suits are quite 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.

However, keep in mind that different shades of grey match best with different colors.

Light Grey vs. Medium Grey vs. Charcoal Grey

Light grey suits generally fall on the more casual side. It’s a shade that is best for warmer months or hotter climates.

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

Dirrefent shades of grey: from light grey to medium and charcoal grey

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 more professional-looking.

how to wear charcoal grey suit

Italian wool charcoal grey suit by Tomasso BlackPremium cutaway collar white dress shirt by Hockerty
Microfiber navy blue tie by Ties.comPatent leather black oxford dress shoes by Bruno Marc

Though traditionally more formal, charcoal grey is also adaptable and able to achieve different looks through varying fabrics and colors.

A dark grey suit can be dressed down for an informal event, too. If you pair a charcoal suit with the right brown shoe hues, it will slightly reduce formality.

how to wear brown dress shoes with charcoal grey suit pants

Polyester notch lapel charcoal grey suit by SuitshopSlim-fit herringbone white shirt by Calvin Klein
Striped white & light blue tie by The Tie BarTilden cap Derby Brown Shoes by Clarks

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

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

Charcoal suits are the perfect palette for creating a variety of looks by using color. Dark or neutral colors look formal and stylish. Light or bright colors look vibrant and crisp.

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.

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

James Bond being capable

Charcoal suits look nice enough to wear for black tie optional events, though it isn’t appropriate for black-tie events.

A charcoal suit is dark enough to be similar to a black suit but not as ubiquitous. If you want to stand out from the crowd at a semi-formal event, go 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

Two-piece wool blends dark grey suit by Hockertywhite dress shirt by Suitsupply
Solid blue tie by KisstiesLeather plain-toe oxfords by Ace Marks

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

If you do not wear suits regularly but are looking to purchase one, invest in a charcoal suit. With this in your wardrobe, you can be as dressed up as you need to be or as dressed down as you want.

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.

one vs. two vs. three button charcoal suit styles

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.

charcoal grey single-breasted vs. double-breasted suit

A vest can increase the sophistication of your charcoal suit. It also adds versatility to your look.

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

If you opt for a double-breasted charcoal suit jacket, keep in mind that you should not wear it with a double-breasted vest. That is piling on too much stylishness and would feel like overkill.

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

Peak lapels look very stylized and fashion-forward. They may not be suitable for a corporate office but will slay at a semi-formal event.

When looking to upgrade your charcoal suit, only add one stylized piece to the suit.

For example, peak lapels, a French-cuffed dress shirt, and a double-breasted jacket all in one suit may come across as a bit strong.

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.

Double-breasted modern-fit charcoal suit by Adam BakerDouble-breasted slim-fit charcoal grey suit by Alain DupetitDark-grey striped double-breasted slim-fit suit by Perry EllisDouble-breasted modern-fit charcoal grey suit by Kenneth Cole

#1: Double-breasted modern-fit charcoal suit by Adam Baker.
#2: Double-breasted slim-fit suit by Alain Dupetit.
#3: Dark-grey striped double-breasted slim-fit suit by Perry Ellis.
#4: Double-breasted modern-fit charcoal grey suit by Kenneth Cole.

Choose the Charcoal Grey Suit by Fit

By the nature of their color, dark suits naturally look heavier. It will draw attention to an improper fit.

Any extra folds of fabric will be instantly noticeable.

A suit should not appear baggy in any area; this comes across as unkempt. It will also wrinkle easily, which will contribute to an untidy appearance.

Conversely, a suit that is too tight in areas is also unflattering. Dark colors show all these imperfections clearly, so it is crucial to get just the right fit.

30 suit basics on how to fit your suit

To avoid problems with fit in the future, be sure that you are selecting the suit that is right for you.

There are a handful of different cuts of suit to pick from, but two are exceptionally flattering in charcoal suits.

Classic Fit Suits

For a more conservative look, you should opt for a classic fit. It is the traditional cut, the king of suits.

Charcoal grey is excellent in this cut. That’s because, like the color, this fit is appropriate for everything. It can’t go wrong on any occasion.

classic cut suits explained

A classic fit is a comfortable option. With a bit of room to spare, it is no wonder that this is the most popular fit for business professionals. It leaves plenty of room to move freely.

With a classic fit cut, you don’t have to evaluate if it is too fashionable for a conservative setting. You always know that it is the right level of dressed-up.

Best Choices

Classic-fit Napoli charcoa-grey suit by SuitsupplyModern fit charcoal grey suit by Tommy HilfigerDark grey classic-fit suit by Tommy Hilfiger two-piece dark grey suit by Tomasso BlackCharcoal classic-fit suit by P&L

#1: Charcoal Grey Napoli Suit by Suitsupply.
#2: Modern-fit charcoal grey suit by Tommy Hilfiger.
#3: Dark grey classic-fit suit by Tommy Hilfiger.
#4: Classic charcoal grey suit by Tomasso Black.
#5: Charcoal classic-fit suit by P&L.

Slim Fit Suits

A slim-fit cut for your charcoal suit is a straightforward way to create a stylish effect. It is a modern suit style that hugs tightly to the body.

slim fit suits explained

Despite its name, this fit is not only for the very thin among us. Most men can pull off this look as long as it is tailored well to their bodies.

Even with the close-cut to your body, a slim-fit suit should still allow for freedom of movement. If movement is restricted, it probably is not the correct size.

Charcoal grey looks quite elegant, and so does a slim-fit suit. Together they create a very polished and classy appearance, and it always manages to look sleek.

Best Choices

Charcoal slim-fit suit by Calvin KleinDark grey slim-fit suit by Tommy HilfigerItalian wool charcoal grey suit by Tomasso BlackPolyester notch lapel charcoal grey suit by SuitshopDark grey slim-fit suit by Perry Ellis

#1: Charcoal slim-fit suit by Calvin Klein.
#2: Dark grey slim-fit suit by Tommy Hilfiger.
#3: Charcoal grey slim-fit suit by Tomasso Black.
#4: Polyester charcoal suit by Suitshop.
#5: Dark grey slim-fit suit by Perry Ellis.

Charcoal Grey Suit and White Shirt Color Combinations

It is likely that you already have a white button-up shirt in your closet. A suit 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.

Best Choices

Slim fit white shirt by Amazon Essentials Van Hausen regular fit white shirt Kenneth Cole slim fit shirt in white colorSlim fit white shirt by Calvin Klein

#1: Slim fit white shirt by Amazon Essentials.
#2: Regular fit white shirt by Van Hausen.
#3: Slim fit shirt in white color by Kenneth Cole.
#4: Slim fit white shirt by Calvin Klein.

Charcoal Suit with White Shirt and 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. Next to a charcoal suit jacket, it looks like a natural fit.

Kissties men's striped tie in red colorSolid burgundy tie by KisstiesElviros solid tie in dark red color

Charcoal Suit with White Shirt and Grey Tie

A grey tie with a charcoal suit is a slightly less formal look than some other colors, such as a black tie. It is a way to lessen the formality of a charcoal suit while still looking very pulled together.

Try wearing this with brown shoes and a brown belt to tone down the monochromatic effect. If you want to keep the formality, wear black shoes and a black belt.

Dark-grey striped tie by RetreezSolid grey tie Kissties

Charcoal Suit with White Shirt and Black Tie

Adding a black tie to your charcoal suit creates a subtle shift from the black suit/black tie combination. It is still formal enough to wear to most evening events.

This color combination looks incredibly sophisticated and polished while also separating you from all the other black suits.

Black solid tie by Amazon EssentialsSolid black tie by KisstiesDotted tie Black color with white dots by Nautica

Charcoal Suit with White Shirt and Brown Tie

For a surprising twist on the charcoal suit, pair it with a brown tie. You will be amazed by how nice it looks.

A muted brown next to charcoal grey looks impeccable. Adding some texture, such as small dots, can create a lovely effect.

Striped brown with white tie by Scott AllanShlax & Wing foulard tie - brown color

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.

Charcoal grey suit & pink shirt color combination

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.

Best Choices

Metal Cufflink Regular Fit Pink Shirt by J.VerTailored fit light-pink shirt by Buttoned DownCalvin Klein Slim Fit Pink ShirtRegular fit pink shirt by Kenneth Cole Unlisted

#1: Metal Cufflink Regular Fit Pink Shirt by J.Ver
#2: Tailored fit light-pink shirt by Buttoned Down
#3: Slim Fit pink shirt by Calvin Klein
#4: Regular Fit Pink Shirt by Kenneth Cole Unlisted

Charcoal Suit with Pink Shirt and Red Tie

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

The two shades make a nice contrast to each other. You may be surprised how pretty this unusual combination looks when paired together.

Red tie with black/blue/white stripes by Tommy HilfigerSolid burgundy tie by Kissties

Charcoal Suit with Pink Shirt and Black Tie

Dark purple looks great against a charcoal suit. This dominant color telegraphs confidence.

A dark tie with a light shirt creates a stark contrast that is very bold. These two colors are not often paired in menswear, but maybe they should be more often.

Solid purple tie by Kissties  Dotted purple tie with white dots by Retreez

Charcoal Suit with Pink Shirt and Striped Tie

If you’re not sure about the tie color or want to make it as formal as possible, black or dark grey is always an excellent choice.

Navy pink is fine as well. Opt-in for striped ties for the best appeal.

Black striped tie by RetreezStriped Navy tie with pink stripes by Luther Pike SeattleDark-grey striped tie by Retreez

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.

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

how to wear charcoal grey suit with light blue shirt

While not quite as cheery as a pink shirt, a pale blue shirt is relaxing. It is a subtle reminder of summer and warmth.

Pale blue can cut the intensity of a charcoal suit without sacrificing any sophistication.

Best Choices

Slim fit blue-striped white shirt by Calvin Klein Slim fit blue shirt by Kenneth Cole Slim fit blue shirt by Tommy HilfigerClassic Fit Blue Shirt by Buttoned Down

#1: Slim-fit blue-striped white shirt by Calvin Klein.
#2: Slim-fit blue shirt by Kenneth Cole.
#3: Slim-fit blue shirt by Tommy Hilfiger.
#4: Classic-fit blue shirt by Buttoned Down.

Charcoal Suit with Blue Shirt and Blue Tie

As with the pink on pink discussed above, the blue tie here must be darker than the shirt. The two blues together have a calming effect, emanating relaxed vibes.

This color scheme is very graceful. The two shades of blue draw out the blue tones of the charcoal suit.

Dotted royal blue tie by ElfevesSolid blue tie by Kissties

Charcoal Suit with Blue Shirt and 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.

Dotted Navy tie with white dots by Spring NotionStriped dark blue tie with powder-blue stripes by Bows&TiesPierre Cardin solid navy blue tie

Charcoal Suit with Blue Shirt and Dark Grey Tie

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

This combination would look good for either work or an evening event.

Dark-grey striped tie by RetreezSolid charcoal grey tie by Romario Manzini

Charcoal Suit with Blue Shirt and Black Tie

This look is a slight variation on the traditional black suit and black tie. Substituting a charcoal suit is a classy way to stand out from the crowd and retain that polished look.

You still look sharp while putting a new twist on a classic style. It is perfect for a semi-formal evening event by adding the right accessories.

Dotted tie Black color with white dots by NauticaSolid black tie by QBSM

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.

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

how to wear charcoal grey suit with dotted and patterned shirt

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

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.

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

Best Choices

Regular-fit blue-striped shirt by Van HeusenAlimens & Gentle regular fit blue-striped shirtSlim-fit pink gingham shirt by Tommy HilfigerTailored-fit white-stripe pink shirt by Buttoned Down

#1: Regular-fit blue-striped shirt by Van Heusen.
#2: Regular-fit blue-striped shirt by Alimens & Gentle.
#3: Slim-fit pink gingham shirt by Tommy Hilfiger.
#4: Tailored-fit white-stripe pink shirt by Buttoned Down.

How to Match Your 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

Black shoes are the best option for a dark grey (charcoal) suit.

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

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.

These can also be worn for more formal occasions.

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.

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