A great fitting black suit is the ultimate classic staple for men. Black is after all, timeless; it transcends time and works well for all skin tones and hair colours. Classic black, however, can look dated if you don’t get your tailoring right, and also if you are pairing a black suit with questionable colour combinations. We will guide you through the top black suit, tie and shirt combinations to ensure your look is anything but boring.
Related: How to Wear a Black Suit
Complementary Colours to Black
In theory, black goes with everything, but we do have a few stipulations if you’re going to brighten up a plain black suit. Firstly, know what colours suit your features. A colour that registers well on one person may not complement you the same. So, play to your strengths to ensure that you make the most of a black suit; complementary colours for your features are integral. There are a few shades that will typically always work for a black suit – white (the most obvious, but most classic), powder blue, blush pinks and greys.
Black Suit and Shirt Combinations
Black Suit / White Shirt
You can’t go wrong with a black suit and white shirt. You can, however, mess up the colour choice of your tie. With such a traditional colour like black and white, harness classic colours for a mature take on black suiting. Opt for ginghams, plaids and checks, and harness colours like black, emeralds, oxblood, muted purples and soft blues for a simple, yet effective livening up of your traditional black suit and white shirt. Steer away from shiny materials as they will only bring unwanted attention.
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Black Suit / Blue Shirt
A powder blue shirt is the brighter, more lively version of its classic white counterpart. Try pairing black and white printed accessories with your black suit/blue shirt combinations. This will allow the colours to visually align and read more nuanced. Despite its simplistic reputation, a solid black tie will also work well, and try out different textures, like crochet versions for a dimensional approach. Deeper blues will also work, so opt for cobalt and vivid indigo for a playful approach to your black suit and blue shirt combination.
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All Black Suit
We issue a word of caution on the black suit and black shirt combination. It doesn’t read flattering on some gents, and the proportions need to be right for there to be enough distinction between the different elements of your outfit. Typically, black on black registers better without a tie, but if you would like to wear one, just stick to, well, black. Stray from pairing any other colours with a black shirt and black suit, as they can read dated and messy.
Related: How to Wear a Black Suit With Style
Black Suit / Pink Shirt
In the context of a black suit, we urge you only to wear one tone of pink. This will give you a great starting point for complementary ties. Lilacs and pinks will work, as do soft blues, black, navy and in some right contexts, burgundy. The key to perfecting the black suit and pink shirt combination is to work with youthful textures and fits – this will prevent it from reading old man-ish.
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Black Suit / Grey Shirt
As black is said to be the most versatile hue, you have a great deal of freedom with what kind of grey shirt you elect to wear. Slates, charcoals and dove greys all work really well, and because they are in the same colour family, you can wear a lot of the same ties. Team your greys with other darker grey ties. You can also ground your looks with slim black ties and do not be afraid to work it some classic prints like diagonal or horizontal stripes, preppy checks or traditional crochet versions.
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Black Suit / Purple Shirt
Typically, lilac should be the shade of purple you elect when pairing it with a black suit. As it is a lighter, softer version of purple, lilac will offer you a lot of freedom when it comes to teaming your shirts with ties. Bolder pink ties can work, but ensure they’re not too over the top. Deeper plums, rusty violets and warm mauves are also worthy complements. Darker purples are a bit trickier to wear but can be done well with traditionally printed ties and crochet versions which will lend more dimension.
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How to Wear a Black Suit
- Find complementary colours that won’t look too overwhelming with your black suit.
- Don’t always feel the need to go too colourful, at times keeping things simple is best.
- No matter what colour combinations you may perfect, it all means nothing if your suit is not tailored to fit your body appropriately.
- Don’t forget to liven up your black suit and shirt combinations with pocket squares.
- For a failsafe colour choice opt for a white pocket square in a presidential fold.