In a world of navy blue, greys and other neutrals, the brown suit is stand out style statement when properly done.
On the echelon of suit colours, brown sits somewhere near the bottom. It lacks the suaveness of blue, the formality of black, or the breezy coolness of lighter colours. In fact, there’s every chance the only brown suit you’ve ever seen was on Ron Burgundy in the film Anchorman or on your old man in photos of his high school formal back in the day. But brown’s a great way of standing out from the crowd of blue and black, if you follow these four tips for doing it right . . .
It. Must. Fit.
Telling you a suit needs to fit is a bit like telling a chef his food needs to be tasty — advice that falls firmly into the ‘No shit, Sherlock’ category. But it’s especially important with a brown suit, because the colour already seems like it belongs in a different era. With conservative charcoal or classic navy, slightly baggy trousers or a boxy jacket can be glanced over. But make the same mistakes with a brown suit and it looks like you pick up your menswear from a thrift shop that hasn’t rejuvenated its stock since 1976. Poor fit makes the whole shebang look outdated.
Contrast is king
Brown suits are so hard to pull off because the colour isn’t all that versatile, and a lack of contrast leaves you looking like a pile of crap (literally). Red-brown or simple black leather are therefore solid choices to break up all that brown, while your ever reliable white and powder blue shirts offer nice contrast, too. You want to work with dark yet contrasting hues — different shades or brown, as well as rich blues — rather than anything too bright or pastel, which is something straight out of the gaudy costume department for Saul Goodman off Breaking Bad.
Style it right
Accessories are super important for the reason of contrast, too, so add a pop of colour with a pocket square, a pair of statement socks, or a patterned tie. In fact, brown is such a casual choice of suit colour you should feel free to forgo the tie altogether and rock and open-necked shirt (and even a smart white sneaker if you want to add an even more casual edge). If the occasion’s so formal it calls for a tie and leather footwear, it also calls for a more restrained choice of suit colour than brown.
Mix up the material
You’re already breaking the mould with your choice of colour, so you may as well rock a pattern while you’re at it. Pinstripes and checks are popular options, while there’s scope to incorporate a different texture into your outfit, too — brown velvet can be a slick choice for more formal outings or try a rough academic tweed in colder conditions.