How To Wear A Gray Suit – Guide For Stylish Men
With regards to suits, nothing beats the staples. Also, by staples, we mean black, navy and gray. Navy and black have consistently had a general prevalence for their adaptability, however gray additionally rises as a worthy suit color choice. In fact, gray suits have become more prevalent in street style, their flexibility particularly speaking to the more youthful market. Clean, understated and classic, a gray suit does the trick. However gray can also be tricky to perfect. Done right gray reads youthful and modern; done wrong it will leave you looking outdated and frumpy.
RELATED: What Shirts to Wear with a Gray Suit
Light Gray Suit
The Light gray suits are an excellent choice for formal and casual looks. They are youthful, modern and sharp – but as with all suits, tailoring is essential. Ensure you’re choosing gray suits that do not overwhelm your body and fit your shoulders appropriately. Lighter versions of gray are also an appealing option for the hotter months and provide a summary alternative to the monotony of black and navy. You are also going to want to make sure you keep an eye out for potential dirt marks as light gray can stain quite easily.
Casual Styling for Light Gray Suit
Wearing light gray suits can be a softer approach to gray tailoring, and they work phenomenally well for casual wear. The key to embracing light gray for casual looks is to go for suits that come in lightweight materials and fabrics such as cotton. Pair a light gray suit with white trainers for a relaxed look inspired by recent street style trends. Alternatively, a brighter trainer will draw emphasis to your outfit and inject a dash of color to your looks. White complements light gray well but does not be afraid to incorporate darker tones like burgundies and navies to ground your looks.
Formal Styling for a Light Gray Suit
To style formal light gray suits, keep in mind that it is all about contrast. With your formal shirts, a crisp white shirt is failsafe paired with a black tie, but do not fear to experiment with other colors. A muted powder blue complements light gray and other pastel tones can work well also. Balance out your silhouette with a slimmer tie to modernize your look. Don’t forget that accessories are crucial to pulling together an outfit. Find a unique patterned pocket square and fedora to make your suit pop and stick to silver watches, tie bars and cuff links to align with the gray tones of your look.
Charcoal Gray Suit
A charcoal gray suit is also another great option for versatility. Much like a light gray suit, a charcoal tone can be reworked in many ways. Keep an open mind to the different textures you can adapt to this tone of gray. A charcoal gray suit with a textured fabric will stand out and work effectively to change up your look and is flattering when tailored correctly. Ensure your textured gray suits are streamlined and aren’t too big so you look more youthful as opposed to outdated. Consider charcoal grays as the most corporate-friendly gray suit option. It reads professional and is a refreshing change from the usual black and navy suits we typically reach for. Regarding shoes, mix things up with a burgundy Oxford to complement the dark tones of charcoal.
Casual Styling for Charcoal Gray Suit
Charcoal gray suits will dress up your casual attire, making it easy for your looks to go from day tonight. To complement the darkness of deeper gray tones, try out accompanying pieces in other dark classic colors for a more refined approach to casual wear. Navies, burgundies and emerald greens work nicely, particularly in lightweight sweaters that can be worn under charcoal gray suits. Pair with a rusty brown belt and matching loafers or Oxfords for a traditional approach to this tone. For more of a modern aesthetic, incorporate blacks and bright whites to keep your charcoal grays stark and the focus of your looks simple but visually appealing.
Formal Styling for Charcoal Gray Suit
Charcoal gray suits may have proved popular for the office, but these versions of the typical gray suit have also become a favorite option for weddings which can be a refreshing change from classic black suit. Remember your fit needs to be perfect and your shoes pristine. Crisp white shirts are the usual favorite for charcoal gray suits, and navy silk or knitted ties are the perfect accompaniment. Also, do not fear ties in other brighter colors, as they can boost the appeal of an ordinary gray suit. Oxblood, browns, and navies are worthy options and will lend a classic vibe to your looks. Add a silver tie bar for an extra bit of polish.
Gray Suit and Shirt Color Combinations
So we’ve established that gray suits are versatile that work well with a wide number of colors. But which colored shirts are your best bets? Here are the suit and shirt combinations that always look amazing.
Gray Suit / White Shirt
Probably your safest option when it comes to gray suits is white shirts. Given that wearing gray is all about complementing, a white shirt gives you a crisp edge. For a smart-casual look, you can opt for a white t-shirt with your suit. Combine it with some fresh-looking white trainers for a winning style. If you’re looking for something a bit more formal than a stark, white shirt with a black tie is a reliable combination. As always, don’t be afraid to experiment with some colored ties and pocket squares to bring something bolder to the ensemble.
Gray Suit / Blue Shirt
Not all shades of blue will look appropriate with your gray suit. For example, a deep blue shirt may be too much to work with a light gray. For a more casual look pair a light gray suit with a muted, powder blue. It will give your style a summery daytime vibe. Charcoal suits can be paired with deeper blues, making for a more appropriate office color combination. If you’re wearing a tie, a darker shade of blue is a powerful color combination with the lighter shades of blue.
Gray Suit / Black Shirt / Turtleneck
For a particularly sleek look, you can pair your gray suit with a black shirt or turtleneck. Given the heavy look of the tones, this pairing will look best on people with darker skin tones. The result of the pairing is a very chic and clean aesthetic that’s perfect for more formal occasions. With black shirts, you should choose a tie that is one or two shades lighter than your shirt. You can even choose a tie in a shade of gray that matches your suit’s tone. If you opt for no tie, you can feature a pocket square in black or light tones.
With Red Shirt
The pairing of gray suits and red shirts is a powerful one, though can be risky if you happen not to get the right shade of red. Avoid red shirts that are too bright. The gray will make for a juxtaposition that makes the shirt look brighter than it is. Deeper reds and burgundies, however, can be a strong pairing.
What Shoes to Wear with a Gray Suit
When it comes to shoes, it all depends on the tone of gray you are wearing, as well as the formality of the place you are going to visit. For casual wear, you can be more flexible with trainers or sneakers to pair with your gray suit. Feel comfortable making bold choices – gray is, after all, neutral color and can handle a lot of colors. For formal wear, keep things classic with Oxfords and simple lace-ups as well as loafers. Tan rusty browns, black, and burgundy all work for the different tones of gray. Burgundy is a nice alternative to the classic black and brown because it warms up gray tones, lending a bit more dimension to your looks.
Tips For Wearing In Style
- The shades of a gray suit sit on a long sliding scale.
From the casual lighter grays to the more serious charcoal; there are a time and a place for each different shade of gray. When picking out your suit, the color should be your first consideration. Think about when you will most likely be wearing your suit, will it be during the day or night? To what events will you wear it? Is it for the office or for a party on a yacht?
- Your skin tone will also come into play in your decision on suit shade.
Lighter gray tones work better for those with fairer skin. While those with darker skin and darker hair will look better in charcoal and darker grays.
- For a versatile shade, you should opt for a gray that sits somewhere in the middle of the scale.
Opt for a solid color, stripes and checks are more likely to age faster. You’ll get more use from a suit in a mid-gray tone both at the office and in more casual situations. Mid-gray is most complementary to other colors, meaning you won’t need to update your whole wardrobe around the suit. To dress your gray suit down to a smart casual look, pair it with a solid color t-shirt and ditch the socks.
- Wearing so much gray can threaten to send your look into ‘drab’ You can avoid this with smart accessories.
Add some color with a patterned tie and pocket square. Go with accessories that are the same color as your shirt, but in darker shades. Silver and white gold accessories work well to set off the metallic character of gray. You can incorporate silver tie clips, cuff links and lapel pins for something eye-catching.
- Given that your gray suit is so versatile, you have a few different options when it comes to shoes.
The safest option is a pair of lace-up tan or burgundy shoes; the detail of a pair of brogues working particularly well with the gray. Black is a good option too, lending a more formal tone to the aesthetic. The beauty of the gray is its neutral character, meaning that if you want to wear something a little louder you can. For a more casual look, you can match your suit with a pair of sneakers or trainers and no socks.
- As is always the case when you buy a suit, the suit fit can be the difference between dazzling and disappointing.
The suit’s jacket will be the focal point of the whole operation, so any bunching or sagging will stand out. If you don’t have the time or money to see a tailor there are a few considerations that you should take into account when buying a suit. When you try on your suit, it needs to look good in your natural stance.
- Look at the shoulders, the seam connecting the sleeves to the jacket should meet where your arm meets your shoulder.
The back of your jacket should fall over your behind, while your trousers should sit loosely on your seat without bunching or sagging. When standing, a closed jacket should not pull at the button; it’s a bad look and can result in a strained button hilariously popping across the room after a hearty meal.
- In terms of the suit’s cut, it’s best to opt for a classic style.
That means two-button, notch lapel and double-vented. A classic style is less likely to date, meaning you’ll get more years out of your gray suit.