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Wardrobe Foundations – 3 Suits Every Guy Should Have

Wardrobe Foundations - 3 Suits Every Guy Should Have

Wardrobe foundations should function like your weekly food shopping list. You buy the same staples every time you go to the food store, you know every which way to cook them together, and you sometimes throw new things into your cart to spice things up. If you want constant recommendations, you can subscribe to The Compass.

So, what are the staples? Start with a Navy, Charcoal, and Light Gray Suit. You can wear them all together and they’ll get you through life’s big moments like a wedding, a funeral, or a job interview. You can also combine their parts to create different “recipes.” And you can get something new every so often to add to your foundation. See? Building your wardrobe foundation is as easy as food shopping. Let’s get started.

What To Buy

Navy Suit. Charcoal Gray Suit. Light Gray Suit.

These are classic suits, and we can personally guarantee that they’ll never go out of style (as long as they fit properly). But just because you buy a full suit, doesn’t mean you always have to wear the whole suit and nothing but the suit so help you God. That’s where the idea of recipes come into play. The full suits are the ingredients, but ingredients on their own can be a little plain. That’s why when you mix ingredients together, you always get a better result. Here are 3 ways to mix these suits together to get the most out of them.

What To Wear

Navy Blazer, Light Gray Pants
Navy Blazer, Light Gray Pants

Charcoal Gray Blazer, Light Gray Pants
Charcoal Gray Blazer, Light Gray Pants

Light Gray Blazer, Navy Blue Pants
Light Gray Blazer, Navy Blue Pants

You may notice a dark-on-top, light-on-bottom trend in these outfits. That’s just a Black Lapel styling choice. Make these outfits personal, and don’t be afraid to wear that Light Gray Blazer with your Navy Blue Pants. It’s just like the saying “business in the front, party in the back”: it works both ways.

Vests Can Make Outfits Too

Charcoal Gray Vest. Navy Blue Vest. Light Gray Vest.

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8 thoughts on “Wardrobe Foundations – 3 Suits Every Guy Should Have”

  1. Evan says:

    I’ve read that blazers are much different than suit jackets. On this site you seem to not distinguish between them. Is this true?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Correct, we throw around both terms, but we still know the difference. Check out the differences in this Compass article: https://blacklapel.com/thecompass/ask-a-black-lapel-stylist-difference-between-a-blazer-and-a-suit-jacket/

  2. Evan says:

    Hi – so I have a charcoal gray suit, but in my not-expert opinion dark charcoal gray reads as black unless compared to something black. But I’ve read elsewhere on your site that charcoal gray is a neutral that can support bright colors. Are there any limits to this?

    I’m in my mid-20s and going to an evening cocktail event. My date has a vibrant green dress–depending on the color chart you consult, you could call it emerald or grass. I really would like to coordinate with her a bit, so having green somewhere in my look is a goal. It’s been difficult to find colors that complement that shade of green; it’s not a forest or dark green or a light spring green either. Pink and gold keep coming back to the surface. She has gold accessories/shoes that look great with it. Blue would be tricky because it feels almost a little too close to both charcoal and green to complement either. I’m also not sure on whether I could wear a gingham shirt with a charcoal suit (it’s an indoor evening event in the spring). Here are some combinations we’ve considered for me:
    – Bubble gum pink tie (not too bright/flashy, but not too dull like blush pink – matching the vibrancy of the dress); white shirt or white/gray gingham shirt
    – Light green tie; white shirt or white/gray gingham or white/turquoise gingham shirt
    – Black tie; Light green shirt

    The pocket square would also be an option to tie in color. Would a lighter shade of green (whether on pocket square or shirt) work with such a dark suit? Would it be weird to wear a white shirt, pink tie, and green pocket square?
    Finally, we are both medium peachy (white) skin, medium to light brown hair.
    Any other suggestions for this situation or comments on my ideas?
    Thanks for your help.

  3. Dean says:

    So now that you have the foundation what are the next three items ? Such as a grey herringbone, black and camel (tan or brown tone) suit or sport coat blue with a mix of pants +++ so now to save the suits. You always get different advise from salespersons… I know it’s based on the requirement of your field but casual Fridays are bs especially when you get a last minute visit from corporate… ??

    1. Black Lapel says:

      These suits are foundation pieces because they are so versatile and work with so many different skin tones and hair colors. They’re the building blocks of just about every well-dressed man’s wardrobe.

      Once you get beyond these basics, your style should get more personal and more specific to the way you look. If you’ve got pale skin and blond hair your next steps should be pretty different from somebody with a dark complexion and black hair whose closet shouldn’t look the same as somebody with olive toned skin and brown hair. So our suggestion is to start with a mirror and check out our article on building a suit that explains how to work with what you’ve got to fill out your wardrobe. Think of these articles as a recipe and season to taste.

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