There seems to be a consensus with men, especially over the age of 40 that the only suit they look good in is a navy one. Grey is too dreary and obviously any other colour is out of the question in this city of conservative dressers.
Here are a few easy ways to wear grey well.
A navy is easy, it looks good on everyone and you don’t need to do much to your outfit to look smart and stylish. Wearing grey is tricker. You can run the risk of looking drab, it can age you and wash you out if not worn properly. But worn right you can look fantastic and turn heads for the right reason.
Bear with me while I go on to compare a grey suit to a salad. On it’s own a bowl of spinach leaves looks bleak and unappetising. But add some colour; beetroot and tomatoes, some texture; goats cheese and walnuts and finally some freshness; pomegranate seeds and you’re salivating. Much like a salad, a grey suit is unappealing until you add some texture, colour and pizzazz.
Let’s start with texture. Now this can simply be the suit itself. For example a grey flannel suit is stylish, timeless, and clearly sets itself apart from a grey worsted wool suit. Grey flannels also tend to be a melange of different shades, which make them more attractive than a plain grey.
The texture can also come from the rest of the outfit. A fine merino wool roll-neck worn under a grey suit can look really sharp, and perfect during the winter months. You can experiment with different colours and layers depending on your skin tone. Equally a knitted tie worn with a grey suit gives the outfit more character. Pair with a silk pocket tie and and ribbed socks and no one will ever accuse you of looking tired in grey.
Next colour. Now if you love wearing a navy suit, the easiest way to transition into a grey is to supplement the rest of the outfit with navy hues. A blue shirt and a navy tie will look good with most grey suits and that way you get your navy fix, with the blue sitting next to your skin and preventing the grey from washing you out. It you’re more daring, grey is a great base to add bright colours to. Autumn colours look great, oranges, burgundies, olive greens can all lift your outfit, and grey can be work with brown or black shoes, giving you a lot more room to be creative with your colours.
Back to the salad analogy to discuss pattern. It may taste the same if all the ingredients are lobbed into the bowl but if it’s been arranged with care and there’s a pattern to it, it looks much more inviting. I appreciate a lot of men shy away from checked suits out of a lack of confidence or fear of ‘peacocking’ but a check will really break up the monotony of the grey. It only needs to be subtle and again, if you wear a grey with a navy overcheck, you’re including your staple colour. Failing that, try a pinhead or nailhead fabric, even a herringbone, anything that gives body and dimension to the cloth. I’m not a fan of the grey pinstripe, I think it’s corporate and outdated, but any other pattern you can work with.
The pizzazz come from style of the suit. The great thing about grey being a blank canvas is you can be more daring with the design and cut. Opting for a double-breasted jacket add authority and style to a grey suit, but is more subtle than a double-breasted navy. Wearing a three piece again works well in grey, it creates interest and unlike a navy three piece, you won’t get mistaken for being en route to your wedding.
To summarise, wearing a grey suit may require a bit more thought and planning than a navy, but it can have a fantastic effect when done right. Texture, colour, pattern, style. If you make sure your outfit has at least two of the four, you will never looking gloomy in grey.