THE ESSENTIALS: THE NAVY SUIT
In my mind the two absolute essentials in any wardrobe are the navy suit and the white shirt. I have started with the navy suit, as I think it is the more important and more versatile of the two.
The right navy suit will get you a job from the interview, to the office everyday, to casuall drinks on a friday, to weddings and race meetings on the weekend, out to a bar at night and if need be to a funeral. In short it is the panacea to any sartorial dilemma.
It is no coincidence that in menswear everything sells better in blue, especially suits. Blue is a colour that is flattering to all (unlike charcoal which a small minority look very pale and washed out in). It goes well with almost any colour shirt, from whites to pinks and lavenders to blue and coloured stripes, which makes it a great choice to the office. It also can be dressed down beautifully with a nice t shirt of any colour and the jacket goes beautifully with denim and casual cotton trousers as well.
This is the classic work/interview style. Very simple shirt and tie combo, please note the brown shoes. One should only wear brown shoes with navy and blue suits, why? would you ever wear a black tie with a navy suit? question answered. It is quite easy to see here that if this man wore a different shirt and tie combo you wouldn’t even notice that it was the same suit.
These two images show the navy suit worn with a little more panache. Maybe for those higher up the foodchain at the office , or who want to look like they are, also great for special occasions like the races or weddings.
David Beckham (one of the style icons of our time) has worn a contrast collar shirt and accessorised with a pocket square and tie bar to suit the special occasion.
In the other image the man has included a vest and a tie pin for an elegant look suitable for the upper echelons of office wear as well as occasions. He looks like he owns whatever work he is doing and looks very individual even though he is wearing plain navy suit, plain white shirt and classic navy patterned tie. He lets the accessories add the bang. Both of these add a touch of flair to the classic navy suit but nothing overwhelming and a look that is easy replicable.
This is the more casual style suitable for Fridays or the weekend. A beautiful white crisp shirt unbuttoned, well accessorised with a Panama hat and pocket square, and although I can’t see I could almost guarantee mid brown loafers and no socks for a real italian style. Great look for heading out to a bar after work or even on the weekend. This is where real personal style can come through into the suit. The same type of look more anglicised would be with a crisp white T and some chuck taylor style sneakers for a more weekend oriented style.
Well if a navy suit works for all occasions and I must have one what style do I need?
The classic would be a plain fabric, maybe with a texture like a herringbone, waffle weave or hopsack just to give a little detail. The suit really should be two buttoned, three limits it more towards workwear and one towards occassion wear, single or double vent is fine. The trousers must be flatfronted otherwise again it is work only and the trousers can never be worn as separates. The suit should be quite fitted, but not so tight that it “spiders” at the buttons when done up, but fitted enough it hangs nicely when unbuttoned. The trousers crucially have to be nicely tailored in shape, quite slim, but comfortable enough to move around in all day.
The right navy suit will rarely have people saying “great suit” rather “you look great today” which is exactly what you want from you staple pieces.