The best colour combination for formal suits

Updated April 17, 2017

Men must pay attention to detail regarding their attire at formal events, such as weddings, funerals and important business meetings. Choosing the right type of suit, such as single or double-breasted and notched or peaked lapels, is imperative for every type of formal occasion, but your suit-shirt-tie colour combination can attract positive or negative attention.


Begin by choosing your suit, as it is easier -- and cheaper -- to purchase shirts or ties to match your suit than to buy a suit matching your current shirts or ties. Black is a classic colour, never going out of fashion, but it's best for occasions such as an evening dinner, a wedding or a funeral. For business occasions, choose a dark charcoal or dark blue suit. Pinstripes are acceptable if you have a solid-colour shirt to match it with.


A solid white shirt is essential for every man's wardrobe, as it matches everything. Blue and dark red match dark blue and charcoal suits smoothly. Patterns on the shirts such as stripes, and squares are acceptable as long as they do not compete with the suit's pinstripes. As a rule of thumb, a shirt that is a lighter shade than your suit is the safest option.


During funerals, wear the tie most closely resembling your suit colour, to avoid drawing attention. In marriages and formal nights out (except for those requiring a bow tie), wear solid colours, such as light blue and green. Red ties match a dark suit on a business occasion, as well as ties with a pattern. If you are wearing a dark shirt, wear a contrasting dark tie, such as patterned green on blue, or a tie with a lighter colour, such as cream on navy.


A brown suit is an interesting alternative to black or charcoal suits, especially when the weather becomes warmer and sunnier. For open-air weddings during the summer, you can also choose a light brown or cream suit with a light shirt and a dark tie. Generally avoid combinations of different suits' trousers and jackets, apart from the cream bottom with navy top combination during outdoor evenings in the summer.

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About the Author

Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.