Four colours and one patterned suit in the wardrobe will see you through any professional or personal situation.
Style it with . . . most shirt-and-tie combos. Dark navy contrasts with most colours, but you can’t go wrong with a crisp white shirt and a red tie, or a light blue shirt and a darker blue tie.
If you only own one suit, make it navy: your solid all-rounder that can be worn at almost any event. It brings a professional vibe to the office and can also be dressed down, plus, its versatility means you can style it any number of ways to keep it looking fresh. If navy’s your everyday nine-to-five number, stick to a single-breasted two-button jacket in a medium weight fabric.
Style it with . . . that same white shirt if you’re after a failsafe option, or a subtle pink shirt and a deep red or purple tie to add some warmth.
Right after you buy that navy suit, grab a dark grey one, too. It’s just as versatile to style for different occasions — a white shirt and black tie is a formal office ensemble without the stuffiness of a black suit, then undo a couple of buttons or slip into a pink shirt to dress it down for after-work drinks.
Style it with . . . a white shirt and a black tie, plus black leather. If the event calls for a black suit, you want your entire outfit to be simple and sober.
Your classic black suit is too austere and old fashioned for everyday office work but is a mark of respect at more formal occasions like weddings, funerals, and black-tie social events. Those invitations might only come around two or three times a year, but when they do, what are you going to wear?
Style it with . . . that trusty, simple white shirt, open-necked for an informal feel, or use shades of blue to provide some contrast with the warmth of the suit. Match with a pair of tan loafers — sans socks — for a breezy summer vibe.
You don’t want to be swimming in puddles of sweat suiting up in summer so park your heavy wool suits in winter and lighten things up with half-lined linen or cotton when the weather gets a bit warmer. Powder blue is another cool contemporary summer suit choice.
Style it with . . . solids, to let the pattern do the talking. Anything other than block colours in the shirt and tie threatens to overdo it.
Pinstripes, windowpanes, dots, a subtle plaid, a not-so-subtle paisley — a suit carrying a little more personality definitely has its place in your wardrobe, for offices with a more relaxed dress code and smart casual weddings where a hint of flamboyance is appreciated.