Charcoal Suit, Navy Suit, Now What?

There are a lot of articles out there on buying your first suit or what to buy out of college for your first interview, etc.  However, this blog is all about breaking your style out of that typical mold in which most of America (and, probably, the world) fits.  I think most guys buy a gray or charcoal suit first.  They probably already have the black dress shoes, and it’s a pretty easy color to match.  From my experience, the next step is usually navy, followed closely by a purchase of tan or brown dress shoes.  And this is where most guys get stuck.  Maybe they go down that dark path of wearing a black suit, which, in my opinion, you should never do unless you’re wearing a tuxedo.  Or maybe this is just where most guys give up and keep buying more gray and blue suits.  There’s nothing wrong with having a closet full of those two colors.  It makes getting dressed in the morning a little easier.  Most shirt and tie combinations will match either color.  You can get away with wearing black or brown shoes with either color, although I prefer brown shoes with a blue suit.  However, if you’re looking for something with a little more style, there are options.  

Right now, I bet most of you are expecting pinstripes.  Well, I have nothing against pinstripes (unless they’re being worn by the Yankees), but I would like to recommend the windowpane suit.  The windowpane pattern is a member of the check family (think gingham, plaid or madras) where the check pattern is fairly large and somewhat resembles a window pane.  Clever name, huh?  The great part about this fabric is that it’s traditional enough that you can buy suits from some of your favorite stores, but unique enough that you will definitely stand out.  I put together a list of three fantastic windowpane suits from stores you know and trust.

Brooks Brothers  Fitzgerald Fit Saxxon® Wool Plaid Windowpane 1818 Suit

The first name in American suiting knows how to take this gray suit to the next level.  I prefer the Fitzgerald and Regent fits.  They’re slim, but not too slim.  Of course, remember the most important thing is to choose a fit that works best with your body type.


Charles Tyrwhitt Grey Windowpane Italian Cashmere Suit

If you’re looking for something with more of an English flair, I always like to recommend Charles Tyrwhitt.  English tailoring from Jermyn Street is a centuries-old tradition, and I have found that Charles Tyrwhitt, more than any other store, provides the greatest value for your dollar.  Shipping and returns are incredibly easy, so don’t be afraid to buy from across the pond.


Crosby Suit in Windowpane English Wool

When I heard J. Crew was releasing a new suit line tailored to more athletic guys, I was thrilled.  I love most of the clothes at J. Crew but have always found the Ludlow line too tight for me.  The Crosby fit solved all my problems.  If you have ever felt too restricted in a Ludlow suit from J. Crew, check out one of the new Crosby suits.


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