The Black Suit: A Menswear Enigma
Written by Collins Oghor
Photography by Dany Dao
The black suit is an enigma in the classic menswear realm. On one hand, it is thought to be rigid, non-versatile and overly serious. On the other hand, it is a suit that every man with a sense of style must have at least one version of in his wardrobe.
The bad rep of the black suit is largely unnecessary and is furthered by well-meaning enthusiasts who just don’t understand the role of this iconic item. Perhaps, some of this negative perception is also due to how it is being portrayed across various media, often worn by the stereotypical secret agent, rocking a boxy black suit.
The black suit is what it is - a classic piece of clothing, that has specific purposes. You would not (and therefore, should not) wear a black suit every week, it would not win any diversity/versatility awards; but when the right occasion arises, it takes centre stage and makes you stand out, whilst conforming to a dress code.
I’ll confess. I used to be firmly in the anti-black-suit camp for many years. However, I recently realized the value of this classic and I came to the conclusion to commission a three-piece version for myself. So far, I have gotten great use out of it, and this is how:
Wedding Ceremonies & “Black Tie” Events
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Date Night & Classy evenings on the town
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Major Career Events (such as conference presentations)
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At the end of the day, details make the difference. When it comes to a tailored back suit, it is all about the aesthetics, and of course, the fit.
A black suit in a plain fabric does not have to be boring. I always advise my customers to opt for bold details on a black suit. As you can see, I designed mine with a relatively large peak lapel, pick stitching on the lapels, slanted flap pockets and a ticket pocket. These details help the suit to look unique, in spite of its uniformity.
As with everything, the fit of a black suit can make or break the suit. You should be mindful that the black suit is the universal uniform of waiters, maitre d’hotels, and secret agents. An ill-fitting black suit will get you confused as one. In addition, close attention to the fit will translate into versatility.
A last few words...
To conclude, every gentleman needs a perfect black suit in his arsenal. With the right fit and design details, the black suit could be more than a uniform; it could be a suit you actually look forward to wearing.