Tailoring has forever been the cornerstone of menswear. The suit has developed into the modern man’s uniform, and while not as de rigueur as previously – the rise of smart and business casual have seen to that – it’s still stands as the bastion of masculinity.

A lot has been written about the standard go-to suits of navy, black and grey, and rightly so. They have formed the crux of the formal (and in some cases casual) male wardrobe since inception. However, this dominance has often meant the variety of other colours available to us within tailoring has often been neglected.

3 Alternative Suits
1. The Burgundy Suit

Over the past two years, burgundy has begun to establish itself as one of the few colours that men have a tendency to flock to in abundance. When it comes to suiting however, the burgundy suit is nowhere near as popular as it’s grey and black counterparts.

While it may not be the choice of the everyday man, the burgundy suit has had its profile raised by some of Hollywood’s young elite. With the perennially stylish Ryan Gosling and former GQ Best Dressed Robert Pattinson having been snapped in some memorable burgundy tailoring, many of us have sat up and taken note.

Men's Burgundy Suits

A burgundy suit is a fantastic option for the modern male – it is not only more eye-catching than the usual suspects but it’s just as versatile. It will work with just as many shirt and tie combinations as a navy or black suit, although I would suggest staying away from pink and red hue shirts – these will most likely be far too close in colour. Bear in mind that this is no different to the fact that you usually wouldn’t wear a black shirt with a black suit.

You can also dress a burgundy suit down much more easily when compared to other neutrals. Black (and sometimes grey) suits have an inherent smartness that you automatically associate with the office, making it hard to pair them with other casual pieces within your wardrobe. There is no such problem with a burgundy version, with the lookbook above showing that they can be paired with everything from denim and staple tees to polo necks and bow ties effortlessly. If your dress code allows, why not add a burgundy suit into your weekly rotation?

When it comes to shoe colour the rules are pretty simple – anything goes. Black, brown, tan and even a pair of oxblood/burgundy shoes will easily work with a good burgundy suit.

  • Asos Skinny Fit Suit Jacket In BerryAsos Skinny Fit Suit Jacket In Berry
  • Topman Wine Coloured Cotton SuitTopman Wine Coloured Cotton Suit
  • Burgundy Slim Fit Suit: JacketBurgundy Slim Fit Suit: Jacket
2. The White Suit

Slightly impractical? Yes. Stylish? Even more so.

The white suit is the embodiment of summer tailoring and perfect for all those weddings which occur at this time of year; unlike our female counterparts, white is perfectly acceptable for men to wear at a wedding.

One thing the white suit isn’t perfect for though, is business. This piece of fresh tailoring is meant for pleasure and is a great accompaniment for a summer lunch or drinks by the beach.

Men's White Suits

Styling a white suit is incredibly easy. It goes with everything, even a white shirt would be acceptable here, although I would suggesting adding some colour through accessories if this is your plan of action. A white suit will easily anchor brights, pastel and prints, no matter how bold they may be.

A white suit also works great as separates. Try splitting up this couple, temporarily of course, and pair the jacket with some coloured chinos or jeans. Alternatively, the white trousers have become a summer essential on their own – in effect you’re getting two for the price of one!

For more information on utilising this suit as separates, you can find inspiration in these articles:

  • Asos Slim Fit Suit JacketAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket
  • Band Of Outsiders Cotton And Linen-blend Suit JacketBand Of Outsiders Cotton And Linen-blend Suit Jacket
  • Givenchy Satin-lapel Cotton-twill SuitGivenchy Satin-lapel Cotton-twill Suit
  • Pure Cotton Suit Amaro/heise By HugoPure Cotton Suit Amaro/heise By Hugo
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit White Cotton JacketAustin Reed Contemporary Fit White Cotton Jacket
  • Topman Bone White Skinny Suit JacketTopman Bone White Skinny Suit Jacket
3. The Grey Check Suit

The third and final suit on today’s list is the grey check suit. It took centre stage in the Gucci spring/summer 2012 show and has probably been the most prominent style of all three mentioned in this article.

With variants named after royalty – the Prince of Wales Check – this suit has class and style in abundance. While it makes more of a statement than it’s solid grey equivalent, it is still rather subtle and perfectly acceptable for both casual and formal wear.

Men's Grey Checked Suits

Despite it’s patterned nature, the check suit is rather versatile, depending on the strength of the pattern.

Lighter checks will easily accommodate patterns such as stripes and paisley, and even a combination of the both (as shown in the lookbook). I personally find a paisley tie against the backdrop of a striped shirt to be rather appealing – when paired with a check suit, it shows subtly to the world that you have mastered the art of pattern mixing, which will put you on a fashion pedestal.

Bold checks [bottom centre] on the other hand should be paired only with solid shirts and ties. The statement nature of the print in the suit will most likely clash with any other patterns you try to incorporate (no matter how subtle) via your shirt and tie.

One thing that should be avoided – no matter how bold or big the check – is a check shirt or tie. This will be fairly obvious to many, but too many checks in the same place will make you look like a walking optical illusion.

Of course you can opt to style a check suit as separates. I find the trousers are easier to style individually than the jacket, but the latter is certainly workable – think of it like you would a check sports jacket. Pair your checks with solid block colours and when it comes to incorporating patterns, it is the jacket that you want to be considerate of.

  • Reiss Carter Modern Houndstooth Check SuitReiss Carter Modern Houndstooth Check Suit
  • Alexander Mcqueen Check Wool Suit JacketAlexander Mcqueen Check Wool Suit Jacket
  • Yves Saint Laurent Prince Of Wales Check Wool-blend SuitYves Saint Laurent Prince Of Wales Check Wool-blend Suit
  • Finely Checked Suit Segal/state By Boss SelectionFinely Checked Suit Segal/state By Boss Selection
  • Burton Grey Double Breasted Slim Fit Checked SuitBurton Grey Double Breasted Slim Fit Checked Suit
  • Asos Slim Fit Check Suit Jacket In GreyAsos Slim Fit Check Suit Jacket In Grey

So there you have it, 3 alternative suit styles you should be considering adding to your arsenal. The main advantage of all the suits mentioned today is their effortless ability to be split into separates, helping you get more wear out of your pieces and develop new looks within your wardrobe.

But what do you think:

  • Do you own any of the suit styles showcased today?
  • If, so how do you like to style yours?
  • Which is your favourite style and why?
  • Which would you consider the most versatile for business and pleasure?

Let us know in the comments section below…