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Cracking the Colour Code for Suit and Shirts

By Mark Ferguson

Colour is perhaps the most expressive part of any wardrobe. The colours you choose can say a lot about the man behindthem. In fact, some suits may mean you are ready to get down to business, while others may imply that you are willing to take the time to understand the situation better. Either way, the important thing to acknowledge is that your suit colour does communicate something about you, so choose wisely. To set the stage, it’s important to note that there are some gender differences. Quite frankly, society gives women a lot more latitude with their choices. For instance, most would consider light blue as a poor suit choice for a man in a conservative office setting. However, a lady in the samesituation would come across as perfectly traditional. That’s not to say that men don’t have choices; however, it’s best to stick with the basics. Here is a brief look at some of men’s preferred suit colours and the corresponding image these shades may project.


This colour is as basic as it gets. Although some still feel it should be reserved for formal gatherings, you will see black in the workplace and other settings. It’s a favourite, especially since it has a tendency to make the wearer appear slimmer. In terms of image, black transmits a sense of power, sophistication, and authority. This is great when you are trying to assert yourself. Be careful, though. As we mentioned earlier, black can appear a little over the top.


Similar to black, navy is another colour associated with authority. However, unlike the aforementioned, the worry about being too formal or coming across too strong is not a problem with this colour. In general, the blue colour family projects a sense of trust and dependability. Picking a darker shade, like navy, goes a long way in strengthening that message.


The colour grey presents a sense of practicality, solidness, and security. When it comes to suiting, charcoal grey is a good choice if you need something substantial but not quite as powerful as black. Grey is also associated with intellect. Therefore, it’s a great way to project an air of knowledge and competence. Be aware, though, that grey can be associated with some negative connotations, too. For many, grey symbolizes depression or a bleak outlook. If this is a concern, counteract the effect with a colorful tie.


The colour brown often has a wholesome connotation. Wearing browns and similar tones will also lead others tobelieve you are open and down-to-earth. These shades portray an eagerness to listen and a willingness to build rapport. Like all the colors listed here, earth tones bring a sense of stability to the mix. Brown and its offshoots are especially great choices when you know you will be consensus-building. Darker browns show your willingness to build rapport

Of course, it’s really the man beneath the clothes that determines his personality, and we all have have many facets. However, keep in mind that you don’t want your clothing to say something you don’t mean! Our advice is to dress with intention — be sure to take into account your business objective for the day and choose a suit colour that harmonizes accordingly. If you would like any further information on this subject please contact our head office.

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