Men's Fashion Basics - Part 20 - The Navy Suit
In The Navy

So now you know all the reasons why you should have or at least be considering having a grey suit in your wardrobe as your go-to option if you’re heading to the office/wedding/formal event. But with the summer nearly upon us (or at least we all hope so), there is another versatile suit that deserves a mention and lends itself particularly well to the hotter months. Yes, the Navy suit. Sure, camel or beige khaki material suits are the obvious choice when it comes the summer but navy is the real stylish go to when it comes to an all round summer suit.

The main reason for this is due to its versatility. It can transcend from the office to a night out seamlessly and with just a few changes here and there, it can seem like a whole new outfit. For the summer months, look to get one in a light weight material like cotton and for the cold months a wool one would be suitable. You can then pair it with absolutely everything that you already have in your wardrobe! It goes great with white, pink, blue or (gasp) green shirts of any pattern and there isn’t a tie out there that doesn’t compliment a Navy suit. Well, except for one.

The combination of black and navy is always a tricky one as they are both similar shades and do have a tendency when mixed together to create a black hole effect – where people’s eyes get drawn to your chest and never come back. Now don’t get me wrong, black with a navy suit is fine when it comes to shoes, they co-ordintate really well and most guys will reach for this fail safe option.

But a black tie with a navy suit is a completely different story. Or for you guys who love wearing a black shirt to the office or on a night out, this is another big no-no. I don’t know whether this particular opinion has been installed in me from a previous girlfriend who thought black and navy was hideous combination – or the fact that after many attempts myself I couldn’t prove her wrong – but black and navy are two dangerous elements to mix.

I would say for the moment when wearing your navy suit, stick to black only when it comes to your shoes, watch and hats. Everything other navy and black combination should be kept apart like deodorant cans and bonfires (that’s a whole other story).

Other than that go crazy and see what your personal preference is with a navy suit. My favourite colour to wear with it is brown. I always wear brown shoes and belt with my navy suit and when I’m in a particularly brown mood, I reach for a tan/beige shirt and dark brown tie but swap the shoes for some white Stan Smiths or Jack Purcells. I also love matching striped ties with them as well, especially in the spring/summer. I try to wear one that contains a neutral colour like grey or navy combined with a bright complimenting colour such as anything from the red, brown or green family.

Ways To Wear

As always here are some fool-proof ways of wearing a navy suit: –

  • Go all out Cary Grant – pair it with a crisp white shirt, a dark solid tie and a colourful patterned hanker-chief. For the summer months lose the tie, loosen a few buttons and put on a straw trilby for the evenings out.
  • Think American Flag – that means red, white and blue. Any combination or option will do but why not try a light blue shirt with a red and white striped tie. Add some chocolate brown shoes into the mix and you’re away.
  • For a more casual take on the navy suit for the winter months why not pair it with a knitted cardigan? Try a blue and white striped shirt with a solid yellow tie and a red cardigan over the top. It may sound like a lot of colour but there is no more than three colours at play and they all complement each other very nicely. I’m often found in this combination for the office myself.

But it doesn’t just stop there. As always think about what you can do with the jacket and trousers separately. A navy suit jacket is pretty much a must for this summer as an easy way of hitting a nautical theme and if there is in any doubt about what to do with it just check out my previous article on blazers. As a guideline try pairing it with chino’s and a polo shirt to get some American prep in your life.

There you have it guys, the Navy Suit. Go out, try a few on and experiment with any of these ways to wear it to see what you think. I know it’s my favourite suit I own and it might just be yours too.

Next week, the black suit.