A Black Flannel Suit, To Be Exact
I realize that some of you may have read the title of this post and thought, “Wait, why does there need to be an argument about wearing a black suit? Aren’t black suits pretty standard? Shouldn’t every guy’s first suit be a black suit?”
Record scratch sound effect.
If you thought the latter, don’t worry about it. Getting a black suit as a first suit is a common misconception among and mistake made by guys just starting out on their personal style journey. It’s also one of the main reasons for framing this post the way the I have with the title.
Rather than bore you here with the myriad reasons you shouldn’t get a black suit as your first suit, I recommend checking out this post at your leisure, but what it really boils down to is versatility — you can do a whole lot more with a navy suit or a gray suit than you can with a black suit.
Just so you know, I am speaking completely from personal experience here. In fact, one of the very first posts in our popular “1 Piece, Many Ways” series on the site from back in 2013, featured a black suit. It’s true! (And, yes, I am wearing my old Army issue Class A tie in Look No. 2.) I was just beginning my own style journey and like many men before me, I thought a black suit was the way to go.
But then a funny thing happens when you start to learn more about classic menswear and gain a more thorough understanding of its principles. Once you begin to value the concept of versatility and the versatility a navy or gray suit provides you, a black suit takes on a much different character in your mind. Suddenly, it’s the last thing you ever want to admit owning or wearing, like those Skidz you wore once or twice in middle school because they were the must-have thing for Christmas. And by “you,” I mean me . . .
For years — the better part of a decade, actually — the only black “suit” you’d ever catch me in was a tuxedo. I needed to show the menswear world that I “got it,” dammit! But recently, I’ve had a pretty significant change of heart towards the black suit (as well as other black tailored garments). I believe there is a place in every man’s wardrobe for one. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say that every guy should own a black suit.
I know that’s a pretty bold statement. And it does come with a few qualifications. So, in this post we’ll discuss some reasons to own a black suit, when to wear a black, when not to wear a black suit, and take a closer look at the He Spoke Style shop’s newest addition — our black flannel suit.
The Best Reasons To Own A Black Suit
Let’s face it, if you’re at the point in your style journey that you’ve completely written off the black suit, you may need some convincing reasons for why you should own one. Well, as I would now consider myself an “elder” in the menswear world, hopefully you’ll listen to the two best reasons I can think of.
The first reason is that a black suit will provide a certain amount of depth and versatility to your wardrobe. If you’ve built up a closet full of classics — navy and gray suits, jackets, and sport coats, maybe some pattern peppered in — it’s time to take a step back and assess the situation. While a black suit should definitely not be your first suit, sometimes it is the most perfect option for a specific occasion. More on that below.
The second reason to own a black suit is that you will most certainly stand out. A perfectly timed well-fitted black suit outfit can make a huge impact and have quite a wow-factor. I recently attended an event in NYC where I knew there’d be a lot of menswear folks dressed the way menswear folks do for events such as that.
So, wanting to make a bit of a statement, I wore our black flannel suit with a charcoal tie — the exact outfit you see in this post. I’ll tell you what, I received the most compliments I’ve ever heard for this particular suit. Why? It fit great. It looked polished and sophisticated. And it really stood out against the blues, grays, and browns of everyone else.
When To Wear A Black Suit
You will have gleaned from the reasons given above that there is a time and place for a wearing a black suit. If it’s not an everyday suit, then when should you wear it? Here are my four suggestions.
- Winter. Although some may like to counter winter’s bleakness with pops of color and whatnot, I for one like to lean into it. Black has been one of my go-to “colors” this winter and it’s one of the best reasons to own a black suit in a flannel fabric.
- Evening. This may seem ridiculously obvious, but a black suit is best suited — sorry not sorry, for the pun — for evening wear. It’s one of the most chic and sophisticated options for a cocktail party, cocktail or dinner date, or attending an orchestra or opera performance.
- Festive. While black isn’t the most festive color, I definitely believe that a black suit is a great option for festive occasions. Again, it’s sophisticated and it will stand out. And it also provides a great opportunity to have fun with some subtle (but not) festive highlights. Throw on a pair of bright red or red tartan socks and you’ll be the star of the show.
- Funeral. While this is an event that nobody ever wants to attend, showing up dressed well is a powerful way to pay (and show) one’s respect.
When Not To Wear A Black Suit
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. The one situation you should never wear a black suit is for business. A black suit is not a business suit. It looks immature. It looks cheap. And it’s much too high contrast for an office where one is required (or encouraged) to wear a suit.
The He Spoke Style Black Flannel Suit
I’m not exaggerating when I say that our black flannel suit has been my absolute favorite suit this winter. It’s the suit I wore the most in December and it’s looking like it’s going to get a lot of wear time next week when I’m in Florence for Pitti Uomo. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
Aside from fit, one of the things that can really distinguish and set a suit apart is the fabric that it’s made with. Ours is cut from Drago Swing. It’s quite soft, yet hefty, and wears exceptionally well. It’s one of the nicest flannels I’ve felt.
The jacket. Once again, I’ve chosen to style the suit jacket in a very classic and conservative manner. Two button, notch lapel, double vent, flap pockets, tone on tone lining, and fully canvassed. You will also notice that this jacket includes a hand done Milanese button hole, which is an option I highly recommend adding via our “sartorial upgrade.”
Like the jacket, I’ve styled the trousers as I generally would with one exception. Side adjusters instead of belt loops and a two-inch cuff, as all flannel trousers should have. The exception I mentioned is that I decided not go with with my regular single reverse pleat in favor of a flat front. I chose this option because I felt as though it was a better fit for a dark suit such as this — chic and sleek — and how I would generally style it.
The Bottom Line
Although a black suit shouldn’t be the first suit you own, there is a place for one in every man’s closet. And as I believe winter is one of the best times to wear — and get the most out of — a black suit, having one in a flannel fabric like we offer in the He Spoke Style Shop is the absolute best option. It adds depth to your wardrobe and is sure to stand out.
Thanks, as always, for reading.