Men’s guide to wearing navy suits

Harvey Specter in a navy check suit from the TV series Suits

Harvey Specter is one of the sharpest “suits” on tv
Image: Suits Webisode – Produced by NBC Universal

A navy suit is one of the most versatile things in any man’s wardrobe. It’s a color that flatters every skin tone and is as classic as it is modern.

Yet there are plenty of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to navy. Can you wear black shoes with a navy suit? What about patterned shirts? Is navy a summer or winter color? If you want to know how to wear a navy suit, here’s the ultimate guide.

Advantages of a navy suit

Navy pinstripe suit from Samuel Windsor - available to buy today

Navy flatters almost every skin tone
Image: Samuel Windsor navy suits

Navy is the most popular men’s clothing color for one simple reason: versatility. Stylish and timeless, the navy suit can do almost anything. As The Man in a Suit points out:

“The right navy suit will get you a job, to the office, [out] to casual drinks on a Friday, to weddings and race meetings on the weekend…and, if need be, to a funeral. In short, it is the panacea to any sartorial dilemma.”

With only a few subtle changes to your accessories and shoes, a navy suit can look equally at home in summer or winter, at formal events or casual settings.

The dos: how to wear a navy suit

Here are a few smart suggestions for getting things right when you wear a navy blue suit:

  • Wear brown shoes – Oxfords, brogues, loafers and monks all work well with a tailored suit. Tan will look more casual, while dark brown is more formal.
  • A navy suit is in style all year-round. In summer, try lighter fabrics such as linen or a summer-weight wool.
  • In winter, switch to heavier fabrics. A matching navy vest looks smart and adds a layer of warmth. A good quality navy wool suit also pairs nicely with a smart pair of brown leather boots.
  • A crisp white shirt is always a good choice. But pale blue, pale pink and subtle checks or stripes can also look great against navy.
  • When it comes to ties and pocket squares, red, pink and yellow are all classic color combinations that look ultra stylish.

The don’ts: how not to wear a navy suit

The navy suit is versatile, but that doesn’t mean “anything goes.” Here are a few points to keep in mind when dressing your navy suit.

  • With a dark blue suit, it’s wise to stay away from black shirts and ties. You can get away with black shoes, but dark brown is much better. The only time you should definitely wear black shoes is with a midnight blue tuxedo – when highly polished black Oxford dress shoes are a must.
  • Navy suits benefit from a shot of bright color, but take care not to go overboard.
  • Don’t try to make it too casual. If you’re looking for a more relaxed look, ditch the suit and opt for chinos and a navy blazer instead.

A navy suit is a must-have for any man. Follow these few simple guidelines, and you’ll look your best at virtually any occasion. Share your navy suit style tips with us in the comments below!

Posted in Men's Style Guides.

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