Black suits: yes or no? THE definitive thread (finally)

David Aames's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,248

Alright guys, i've seen some mixed opinions on this so let's set the record straight: can you wear a solid black suit to the office or not? (not referring to charcoal nor pinstripes - straight black). I want to hear from professionals on this one. If not, when (besides the obvious times, e.g. funeral) is it appropriate to wear a black suit? What about black pinstripe suits?

Or... does no one really care?

I am a professional but don't work in a traditional office nor wear a suit to work. When I do wear a suit I wear brown or gray but never because I read it in some rule book, just because i like the look better. Here's what got me started on this topic:
In this thread written by a "prospective monkey" (though what seems to be a very bright and well spoken one) who wrote this:

I would advise starting with black, grey, or navy suits.

Then later on in that thread the user slayer said

as soon as you said black suit I knew you had no idea what you were talking about.

Then user APAE (whose opinion I really respect) said:

Pleats, black suit, and mandatory break on pants? Please, this goes beyond subjective taste to just objectively wrong.

Comments (96)

Jul 17, 2013

Can't go wrong with charcoal

Jul 17, 2013

case in point, ardenreed ad below my post is a black suit, would this be appropriate for the office?

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Jul 17, 2013

Are we talking straight black or even including textured suits or those with a pin stripe? I think a black suit worn no mor ethan once a week with a bright shirt and tie can look fine but I only own black suits with some other feature (aka texture/pinstripe) to temper the stark color of the suit

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous

Best Response
Jul 17, 2013

No one gives a fuck

    • 5
Jul 17, 2013
CaliBankerSF:

Can't go wrong with charcoal

Yes - charcoal, not black

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Jul 17, 2013
CaR:

No one gives a fuck

Jul 17, 2013

Are you a limo driver? Are you at a funeral? Potentially a wedding? No? Then don't wear a black suit.

Aug 14, 2013

agreed

I'm Texas Made Texas Paid

Jul 17, 2013

No, don't even bother buying one.

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

Jul 17, 2013

black = no

Jul 17, 2013

No.

Jul 17, 2013

No.

Jul 17, 2013

No.

Jul 17, 2013

No black except for formal events and funerals. If you have no other option noone will give a shit if you are wearing a black suit

Jul 17, 2013

I saw some dumbass wearing a black suit, neon orange shirt and WHITE SHOES with brown soles out at the bar over the weekend. The worst part about it is that you know that douche thought he was the best dressed guy on the east coast that night.

Jul 17, 2013

No.

Jul 17, 2013

No. Black is for funerals and parties at night.
Charcoal and navy are good for office.

Jul 17, 2013

Definitively, no.

Jul 17, 2013

You don't wear black in the office. Black is a strong, formal color. Wear it for a funeral or wedding, or something of the sort. If you want to wear dark, go charcoal/grey/dark navy blue/brown/etc.

Jul 17, 2013

1) If you wear a black suit to a formal occasion you will stand out. That is what a black TUX is for.

2) You wear black to a funeral because your outfit is supposed to mirror the mood. Serious and subdued.

A black suit can look fine. I have one, although rarely wear it. I've never received anything but compliments.

http://www.styleforum.net/t/8221/is-black-suit-an-acceptable-business-attire

These clowns tend to have mixed opinions. If they can't decide, we can't decide. Stop asking style advice and start wearing what you want.

Jul 17, 2013
VanillaGorilla:
CaR:

No one gives a fuck

Jul 17, 2013

I hate you OP. NO BLACK SUITS IN BUSINESS.

Jul 17, 2013

Black is a bit formal. If your other suits are at the dry cleaners and you've been working late and can't pick them up / don't have a doorman then by all means wear the black and no one will care.

Jul 17, 2013

Black is fine. This isn't 1980. Just in-formalize it with the shirt and tie (i.e. don't wear white shirt and black or plain tie).

Jul 17, 2013
peinvestor2012:

Black is fine. This is 1980.

FTFY

Jul 17, 2013

Black suits are for towncar drivers

I drink your milkshake...

Jul 18, 2013

haha, great quote. my friend has the cartoon t shirt.

Jul 17, 2013

Wear a black suit the day after you see the head of your group/division/firm do it. That day will most likely be the 7th of Never.

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Jul 17, 2013

I've never seen someone pull off a black suit during the day...it always looks off

Jul 17, 2013

no

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

    • 1
Jul 17, 2013

It's not rocket science guys, you can worry about colors later, for now, stick to:

CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE
CHARCOAL OR NAVY BLUE

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Jul 17, 2013

My question is, why do they only sell solid and pinstripe black suits rather than Navy or Charcoal in stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales? Keeping the proletariat down and exposed...

    • 2
Jul 17, 2013

Black suit? Are you a butler or a door guy?

Jul 18, 2013

It looks like a third of the people here don't care, and the others say "no". Probably means it's safer to stick with "no".

For reference, I'm in the first camp.

Jul 18, 2013

bankers stripes!

Jul 18, 2013
jos.a.bankhard:

I saw some dumbass wearing a black suit, neon orange shirt and WHITE SHOES with brown soles out at the bar over the weekend. The worst part about it is that you know that douche thought he was the best dressed guy on the east coast that night.

Jayzus.

Jul 18, 2013

No

Jul 18, 2013

Do whatever you want. I wore black suit to interviews and killed it, the only suit I have though. Unforunately most guys like above^ are judgemental pricks. If you have one of them interviewing you...well you're already ding-ed

So interview, no-i think you'd want the job, not worth the risk. Anything else, hell ya!

Jul 17, 2013
Febreeze:

My question is, why do they only sell solid and pinstripe black suits rather than Navy or Charcoal in stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales? Keeping the proletariat down and exposed...

You must be blind. Both have plenty of non-black suits.

Jul 18, 2013

I have a black suit, but do not wear it to the office. Mostly, I wear it for going out on Friday and Saturday nights to nice restaurants or clubs where I want to avoid the "banker who just came from work" look. I accompany it with nice loafers and one of my better white dress shirts (no tie).

Jul 18, 2013

Okay so I understand that no black suits unless you're at an event, wedding, or funeral. What about interviews? Is the black suit okay since it is more formal and professional? Or go with the charcoal/navy? I wore a black suit to my interview for an internship and I killed it (MM, not BB)

Jul 18, 2013

I understand the age-old mantra of "black suits are for funerals or weddings" but honestly, it doesn't matter at work. The only time i notice what someone else is wearing is when it's totally goofy. A black suit would never catch my eye so its fine.

Jul 18, 2013

Double post

Jul 18, 2013
vBEARED:

Okay so I understand that no black suits unless you're at an event, wedding, or funeral. What about interviews? Is the black suit okay since it is more formal and professional? Or go with the charcoal/navy? I wore a black suit to my interview for an internship and I killed it (MM, not BB)

A black suit is not more formal or professional. A black suit is wrong. The only time black pants or jackets are worn are for semi-formal or formal wear (i.e. black tie, white tie, morning dress), and that's not the kind of suit you are talking about.

The answer is no. I wouldn't even wear a black suit to a funeral. There is no appropriate time to wear a black suit.

No.

There is no need to ever ask this question again - the answer will always be no.

This isn't to say you can't get an offer or go to work in a black suit - you can. But that doesn't stop it from being wrong.

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Jul 17, 2013

I think many people on here are having a hard time distinguishing between an actual black suit vs a very dark navy or charcoal.

Jul 18, 2013

No

Even if you think you or most of your colleagues will not care, someone will. That said, if you only own black suits, I wouldn't say it's urgent to get new ones. However, if you are going to get a new suit, don't get a black one unless it's for a wedding, a funeral or bodyguard services.

Jul 18, 2013

As long as a suit fits perfectly, you'll look good in any reasonable color. I'd rather wear a black suit that fits me like the models who where them as opposed to a baggy navy blue suit you wore as a kid and still had room to grow.

Jul 18, 2013
Scandal:

As long as a suit fits perfectly, you'll look good in any reasonable color. I'd rather wear a black suit that fits me like the models who where them as opposed to a baggy navy blue suit you wore as a kid and still had room to grow.

Fine, but that's kind of a ridiculous comparison.

First - you can look good in a black suit. Johnny Cash looked good in a black suit. But that doesn't make it correct to wear.

Second - yes obviously if the choice is quadruple pleated pants and a 48L jacket from Men's Wearhouse in charcoal vs. a perfectly fitting black suit, then wear the black suit. But realistically, those aren't going to be your only options. If you are thinking about buying a black suit, don't. If you have no other options and only own one suit and it happens to be black, then obviously wear it. But once you have some income and thus clothing options, buy some charcoal and navy ones and donate the black one to charity.

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  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jul 12, 2016

Why would it be incorrect to wear?

Jul 18, 2013

While an average person may not notice, anyone with even basic knowledge of style will think that you look like an idiot (maybe even that you ARE an idiot). Posting a picture of DiCaprio at a red carpet event isn't the same as some doofus wearing a black suit to work.

Jul 17, 2013
Otter.:
Scandal:

As long as a suit fits perfectly, you'll look good in any reasonable color. I'd rather wear a black suit that fits me like the models who where them as opposed to a baggy navy blue suit you wore as a kid and still had room to grow.

Fine, but that's kind of a ridiculous comparison.

First - you can look good in a black suit. Johnny Cash looked good in a black suit. But that doesn't make it correct to wear.

Second - yes obviously if the choice is quadruple pleated pants and a 48L jacket from Men's Wearhouse in charcoal vs. a perfectly fitting black suit, then wear the black suit. But realistically, those aren't going to be your only options. If you are thinking about buying a black suit, don't. If you have no other options and only own one suit and it happens to be black, then obviously wear it. But once you have some income and thus clothing options, buy some charcoal and navy ones and donate the black one to charity.

Mr. Fashion Police over here. Nobody gives a shit what color suit you wear.

    • 2
Jul 18, 2013
peinvestor2012:
Otter.:
Scandal:

As long as a suit fits perfectly, you'll look good in any reasonable color. I'd rather wear a black suit that fits me like the models who where them as opposed to a baggy navy blue suit you wore as a kid and still had room to grow.

Fine, but that's kind of a ridiculous comparison.

First - you can look good in a black suit. Johnny Cash looked good in a black suit. But that doesn't make it correct to wear.

Second - yes obviously if the choice is quadruple pleated pants and a 48L jacket from Men's Wearhouse in charcoal vs. a perfectly fitting black suit, then wear the black suit. But realistically, those aren't going to be your only options. If you are thinking about buying a black suit, don't. If you have no other options and only own one suit and it happens to be black, then obviously wear it. But once you have some income and thus clothing options, buy some charcoal and navy ones and donate the black one to charity.

Mr. Fashion Police over here. Nobody gives a shit what color suit you wear.

I was under the impression that this was a thread about what color suit to wear, so I'm answering the question. But your input is much appreciated.

    • 1
Jul 17, 2013
Otter.:

I was under the impression that this was a thread about what color suit to wear, so I'm answering the question. But your input is much appreciated.

Really? That was the question? Reading comprehension is not your strong suit.

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

no. and not really a fan of straight white shirts except at funerals.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Oct 27, 2015

The black suit question I personally don't think there is a problem with it but who knows. But please don't listen to this guy who says he is not a fan of a white dress shirt.

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

Since everyone is saying no, you should be a contrarian and wear one.

Jul 17, 2013

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

Jul 18, 2013

If I already have a black suit....go blue, charcoal, or light gray for interviews??

Jul 18, 2013
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

    • 1
Jul 17, 2013
companion:
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

No idea how to imbed:

http://shalowater.tumblr.com/post/12886389435/mark...

    • 1
Jul 18, 2013

didn't read any of the comments - I just think black is for weddings and funerals.

Jul 19, 2013

eternal discussion with no universal answer. conslusion is: if you don't have any other options - it's fine, if you do - navy, etc. are more safe.

Jul 18, 2013
streetwannabe:
companion:
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

No idea how to imbed:

http://shalowater.tumblr.com/post/12886389435/mark...

HAHAHA!

Thanks man. You just reminded me of my old manager (Roy, for those of you who've read the book) who just thought he was the cat's ass in this lavender pimp suit he'd wear every couple weeks. It was a custom job and was just loud as the bejeezus, but he was stylin' in it against the backdrop of his canary yellow Porsche. It was a different time back then, lol.

Jul 17, 2013

I can't even imagine. This guy is an MC or something and I still think it's a little bit much.

Jul 19, 2013

I haven't seen anyone wear a suit at the buyside shop I work at. I did see one of the partners wear fluoroscent shorts one friday. But all this talk about black suits makes me want to buy one mainly because I have been told by the fairi... sorry no fashsion conscious gentlemen.. I have no taste. I will just keep my lack of taste and lack of fashion sense going. It has worked for me so far. It is interesting though to see the passion of the anti-black suits to work brigade.

Jul 19, 2013

Whenever i see someone wearing a black suit, I automatically think they're a tasteless pleb. Midnight Blue is the way to go.

You know you've been working too hard when you stop dreaming about bottles of champagne and hordes of naked women, and start dreaming about conditional formatting and circular references.

Jul 19, 2013

If you're good at your job, it doesn't mean shit.

Jul 19, 2013
David Aames:

Alright guys, i've seen some mixed opinions on this so let's set the record straight: can you wear a solid black suit to the office or not? (not referring to charcoal nor pinstripes - straight black). I want to hear from professionals on this one. If not, when (besides the obvious times, e.g. funeral) is it appropriate to wear a black suit? What about black pinstripe suits?

Or... does no one really care?

I am a professional but don't work in a traditional office nor wear a suit to work. When I do wear a suit I wear brown or gray but never because I read it in some rule book, just because i like the look better. Here's what got me started on this topic:

In this thread written by a "prospective monkey" (though what seems to be a very bright and well spoken one) who wrote this:

I would advise starting with black, grey, or navy suits.

Then later on in that thread the user slayer said

as soon as you said black suit I knew you had no idea what you were talking about.

Then user APAE (whose opinion I really respect) said:

Pleats, black suit, and mandatory break on pants? Please, this goes beyond subjective taste to just objectively wrong.

i own a black suit but its not for profesional environemnt...ill wear it sometimes if im going to a club or something like that. black in a business setting is not correct especially in the US.

Jul 19, 2013

Ok. First off as someone who used to work in fashion, black is meant to be more formal. Pin stripe better than solid but not to be worn everyday. As you will look like an asshole who doesn't own any other suits. Never ever wear the same suit more than 3 days in a row. Solid black suits are much more formal than pin striped or textured. Honestly I would never wear solid black suit as it looks a little cheap.
Best bet is to wear it on casual Friday so you can hit the bars or clubs after work and still look smart.
Remember to get the right fitting suit as the rift suit will make the man. Spend time researching different styles and fits, as well as fabric. You can get an decent priced suit(500 to 1000) that looks great on you and you can get high end 1000+ suit that also looks like crap. Be careful what you wear because people in your office and on the street will judge you.

The Duke of Dacca

Jul 18, 2013
streetwannabe:
companion:
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

No idea how to imbed:

http://shalowater.tumblr.com/post/12886389435/mark...

I did not know that a black suit was as ''eccentric'' as a pink suit.

Jul 21, 2013

Never, ever wear a black suit. Tuxedos should be worn for proper formal occasions. Funerals require formal and non-flashy, such as a dignified charcoal suit.

Jul 17, 2013
companion:
streetwannabe:
companion:
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

No idea how to imbed:

http://shalowater.tumblr.com/post/12886389435/mark...

I did not know that a black suit was as ''eccentric'' as a pink suit.

Wasn't comparing the suits; more about your statement of being contrarian.

Jul 21, 2013

No black suits.

Jul 18, 2013
streetwannabe:
companion:
streetwannabe:
companion:
streetwannabe:

If you want to be a real contrarian, I can think of a few other things that would be more radical than a black suit.

If all the sheeps refuse to wear a black suit based on some superstition, I'll wear one in a heartbeat. Actually, I'll wear one tomorrow.

No idea how to imbed:

http://shalowater.tumblr.com/post/12886389435/mark...

I did not know that a black suit was as ''eccentric'' as a pink suit.

Wasn't comparing the suits; more about your statement of being contrarian.

Contrarian has its limits. It's no free for all.

Jul 17, 2013

You don't sound very contrarian anymore. Limits are only defined proportionate to how radical of a contrarian you want to be.

Jul 24, 2013

Yes, you can wear a black suit. However, black suits really show off the quality or lack thereof in construction. Don't wear Jos. A. Bank in solid black (actually, don't wear Jos. A. Bank period). The solid black suit I wear to work is of the high end Italian variety and gets a lot of compliments.

Don't listen to all of these "charcoal or navy only" muppets. Be your own man.

Jul 17, 2013

You sound like that douche that I see on the streets of New York with a bespoke suit, designer sunglasses, and leather handbag walking around like he's big shit when he just graduated from college.

Jul 18, 2013
streetwannabe:

You don't sound very contrarian anymore. Limits are only defined proportionate to how radical of a contrarian you want to be.

Not exactly.

If everyone is bullish on a stock and I short the stock for contrarian reasons, I'm not going to use ALL of my assets to short it.

Also, who decided that one can't rock a black suit for work? If I like it I wear it.

Jul 26, 2013

Just no not close

Jul 28, 2013

absolutely NOT

Jul 28, 2013
FutureWaller:
VanillaGorilla:
CaR:

No one gives a fuck

Aug 3, 2013

If u own the firm u wear what the heck u want. Boesky only wore black suits. If u work for a firm keep it inline with the rest of the chaps. if u are the hitter style the way u want and dare mgmt to tell u differently.

Aug 5, 2013

no.

Aug 6, 2013

Does the same rule apply for women?

Aug 14, 2013

What about Black shadow stripe suits like:
http://www.mensusa.com/images/MensBlack-Ton-on-Ton...

Not this brand btw...

Aug 20, 2013

Shadow stripes wouldn't change anything. I own a couple of grey and navy shadowstripe suits and they are virtually solids for all intents and purposes - on a black suit it would certainly change it up but wouldn't make it less formal. I actually ran into an old buddy today on the subway and he had one a plain white shirt, shadowstripe black suit (more subtle and better than the one you posted actually), and no tie. He looked bad, and a big part of it was just that he wore a black suit to work.

Again, it's not dealkiller - do you job well and you won't get fired. The defenders of black suits here think that the "no"s are implying that you all are awful people, will be blacklisted from Wall Street, and kill babies. We're not saying that, so quit with the defensiveness and the contrarian martyrdom. We're just saying black suits look a lot worse than other colors for work.

Jan 19, 2017

wish i could see these links

is this okay?
http://images.thesartorialist.com/photos/61710Bold...

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Mar 6, 2015

There are occasions where a black suit is fine, but business is not one of them.

Mar 9, 2015

Charcoal or navy master race

Mar 30, 2015

black suit is the forever trend in fashion

Mar 31, 2015
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