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Written by Ben Chuang
When it comes to making a bold and stylish fashion statement, few combinations rival the classic pairing of a blue suit and a black shirt. While blue suits typically look good with a white shirt, there may be occasions to wear something more daring.
This dynamic duo has long been a favorite among sartorially inclined individuals looking to break away from traditional attire while maintaining an air of sophistication. It's the flashier, edgier cousin of wearing a black suit with a blue shirt.
In this post, we'll delve into the art of pulling off this striking ensemble, exploring the myriad ways in which a blue suit and a black shirt can be expertly coordinated to exude confidence, elegance, and a touch of rebellion.
So, whether you're gearing up for a business casual event, going to the Kentucky Derby, or just seeking a fresh twist on your wardrobe, read on to discover the secrets behind this captivating and unconventional style choice.
When to Wear a Blue Suit with Black Shirt
Wearing a blue suit with a black shirt is a bold and unconventional choice that can make a strong fashion statement when done right. Here are some occasions and situations where this daring combination can be appropriate:
A navy suit with a black shirt can be a compelling choice for evening events, such as upscale dinners, gala events, or formal parties. The dark, moody contrast between the two colors can create a sophisticated and alluring look.
Nightlife and Clubs:
Whether you're planning to attend the opera or go to a nightclub, a blue suit with a black shirt can help you stand out from the crowd and express your fashion-forward style on a night out.
At fashion shows, trendy art exhibitions, or events where fashion-forward attire is encouraged, this combination can demonstrate your knowledge of style and your willingness to experiment with unique ensembles.
Creative Work Environments:
In some creative industries or workplaces, wearing a navy suit with a black shirt can showcase your individuality while still adhering to a smart casual dress code.
For upscale cocktail parties, where the atmosphere is more relaxed but still sophisticated, this combination can set you apart as a stylish and confident guest.
If you're looking to impress on a special date night, a navy suit with a black shirt and plain tie can be a daring choice that communicates your fashion-conscious attitude.
However, it's important to exercise caution when wearing this combination, as it can be a challenging look to pull off successfully.
Ensure that the blue suit and black shirt are well-fitted, and consider the shades of blue and black for optimal contrast and style.
Accessorize appropriately with dark, complementary accessories, and be mindful of the event's dress code, as this pairing is best suited for occasions where a more relaxed and fashion-forward dress code is acceptable.
Picking the Right Blue Suit
When pairing a blue suit with a black shirt, it's important to choose the right type of suit to create a visually appealing and balanced look.
Here are some suggestions for the type of blue suit that pairs well with a black shirt:
Navy Blue Suit:
A classic navy blue suit is an excellent choice when wearing a black shirt. The deep, rich color of the navy suit provides a strong contrast to the black shirt, creating a sophisticated and visually striking combination. When pairing a navy suit with a black shirt, you may wish to accessorize with a light blue tie to match the suit. Here's how to match a navy suit with brown shoes and a guide on royal blue vs navy blue.
Midnight Blue Suit:
For a more formal and elegant look, consider a dark blue suit. This midnight shade of blue is almost black but retains a subtle hint of color, which pairs beautifully with a navy tie, black shirt, and brown shoes.
Light Blue Suit:
If you're aiming for a bolder and more fashion-forward style, a light blue suit can work with a black shirt. The vibrant and stark black creates a vivid contrast, making you the center of attention.
Cobalt Blue Suit:
Cobalt blue is a brighter and energetic shade of blue that can be a good choice for less formal, creative events when worn with a black shirt. This combination adds a touch of personality and flair to your look.
Teal Blue Suit:
Teal is a unique blue-green shade that can create an interesting and stylish contrast with a black shirt. It's particularly suitable for fashion-focused or artistic settings.
Remember to pay attention to the fit and tailoring of the blue suit, as a well-fitted suit enhances the overall appearance. Also, consider the fabric of the suit, as different materials can give off different vibes. Wool is a versatile and classic choice, while lighter fabrics like linen or cotton can work for more relaxed, warm-weather occasions.
When wearing a black shirt with a blue suit, it's essential to choose appropriate accessories, such as black shoes, a black belt, and dark-colored ties or pocket squares, to maintain a cohesive and polished look.
Pairing Your Blue Suit with the Right Black Shirt
When pairing a black shirt with a blue suit, it's crucial to select the right black shirt to create a stylish and harmonious look. Here are some suggestions for the type of black shirt that complements a blue suit:
Crisp Black Dress Shirt:
A classic, well-tailored black dress shirt can work excellently with a blue suit. This combination exudes a sleek, modern, and formal look. Opt for a black dress shirt with a clean, minimal design, such as a hidden placket for a sharp and sophisticated appearance.
Black Flannel Shirt:
A black and white flannel shirt can offer a more versatile and slightly relaxed look when paired with a blue suit. This style can work for both business and casual settings, depending on how you accessorize it.
Black Tuxedo Shirt:
For more formal occasions, a black tuxedo shirt with pleats and a black bow tie can create a polished and elegant look when worn with a blue tuxedo or a very formal blue suit. Our list of best tuxedo shirts here.
Black Shirt with Texture:
Consider a black shirt with subtle textures, like a pinpoint or herringbone pattern. These textures can add depth and interest to the outfit while maintaining a formal or semi-formal appearance.
Plain Black T-Shirt:
The combination of a black T-shirt and a blue suit leans towards the casual end of the spectrum. Ensure that both the T-shirt and the suit are well-fitted. The T-shirt should be of good quality, and the suit should be tailored properly to maintain a polished appearance.
Remember to coordinate your accessories, such as ties, pocket squares, and shoes, appropriately with the blue suit and black shirt to complete the ensemble.
Dark-colored ties, like navy or charcoal, often work well to maintain a balanced and polished appearance.
Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid with this Combination
Wearing a blue suit with a black shirt can be a striking and stylish choice, but there are some potential fashion faux pas to be aware of when putting together this combination.
Avoiding these pitfalls will help you create a cohesive and fashionable look:
Wearing a blue suit with a black shirt to business formal events, where traditional suit pairings are expected, can be a faux pas. Make sure your outfit matches the formality of the occasion.
Ill-fitting clothing can ruin any outfit. Ensure that your blue suit and black shirt are tailored to your body, as a baggy or overly tight fit can detract from the overall aesthetic. If in doubt, check out our online suit size calculator.
Be cautious with the shades of blue and black. A blue suit that's too light may not provide enough contrast with a black shirt, while the darker tones of a navy blue suit might appear almost black in certain lighting. Finding the right balance is crucial.
Lack of Accessories:
Neglecting accessories can make the outfit look incomplete. Consider adding appropriate ties, pocket squares, belts, and shoes that coordinate with the ensemble. Look for brown shoes rather than black to go with your blue suit.
While accessories are important, over-accessorizing can be a fashion faux pas. Keep the accessories minimal and cohesive to maintain a polished look.
Disregarding the Dress Code:
Always consider the dress code of the event or setting. Wearing this combination to a conservative business meeting with a strict dress code might not be well-received.
Avoid pairing a black shirt with a blue suit that has clashing patterns, such as pinstripes or bold checks. Keep the patterns in harmony for a more cohesive look.
In some traditional and conservative settings, wearing a black shirt with a blue suit might still be considered unconventional. Be mindful of the norms and expectations of the environment.
While a blue suit with a black shirt can be a remarkable fashion choice when executed with care, being aware of this potential faux pas will help you avoid common pitfalls and create a stylish and confident look.
Accessorizing Appropriately for this Outfit
Accessorizing a blue suit with a black shirt is a crucial step in completing your overall look and adding those finishing touches that can make a significant difference.
Here are some tips on how to accessorize effectively:
Pick the Right Tie:
Choose a tie that complements the combination. Try wearing a solid navy blue tie, or an Oxford plaid tie to maintain a cohesive look. A blue that matches the tone of your suit can be a subtle complement. Solid, patterned, or floral ties can add dimension to the outfit. Avoid overly flashy or colorful ties that might clash with the black shirt.
Adorn with a Pocket Square:
Consider adding a pocket square to your suit jacket's breast pocket. It should coordinate with your shirt and tie in terms of color or pattern but not necessarily match it exactly. A classic white pocket square is a versatile option, but you can also choose a color that complements the black shirt and blue suit.
Match Your Belt:
A belt should be in a color that matches your shoes. If you're wearing black shoes, opt for a black belt. The belt should be understated and not draw too much attention away from the outfit.
Consider Brown Shoes:
Wear brown shoes to create a seamless and polished appearance with your blue suit. Oxfords or Derby shoes are classic choices for a navy suit. Ensure they are well-maintained and polished for a clean look. In general, brown shoes are an appropriate match for a blue suit, but be aware that if you decide to wear brown shoes with a black shirt, it may be a good idea to go for a darker shade of brown leather.
Try On Cufflinks:
If you have French cuffs on your black shirt, consider wearing subtle and elegant cufflinks. Avoid overly flashy or eccentric designs, as they might distract from the overall look.
Add a Wristwatch:
A classic wristwatch can be a stylish accessory. Opt for a watch with a leather or metal band, depending on the formality of the occasion. The watch should complement your overall style.
Include a Tie Bar or Clip:
If you choose to wear a tie, a simple silver tie clip can add a sophisticated touch and help keep your tie in place. Ensure it's not too flashy and coordinates with your other accessories, and make sure its tie clip placement is correct.
Pick the Right Colored Socks:
If you're wearing a black shirt and black shoes, choose black or dark-colored dress socks to maintain the overall harmony of the outfit. Ensure they're long enough to cover your ankles when you sit.
Frequently asked questions about wearing a blue suit with a black shirt
What color shirt to wear with a blue suit?
If you plan on wearing a blue suit but don't have a black shirt, other good options include a light blue shirt, a plain white shirt, or even a pastel pink shirt. Pastel shades such as pale yellow and cream work for a more relaxed feel, and patterned shirts add character when balanced with the suit's color.
Classic striped shirts, like white and light blue banker stripes, are a professional choice for business settings, making the blue suit a highly adaptable wardrobe piece suitable for a variety of occasions. A grey shirt, a crisp white shirt, or a pale pink shirt are also solid options to go with your blue suit.
Do black and blue go together for a suit?
Black and blue can indeed go together in a suit, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. The combination of black and blue can create a striking and stylish look, but it's essential to choose the right shades and maintain a sense of balance in your outfit. For example, a dark navy blue suit with black accents, such as a black tie or black shoes, can create a sophisticated and harmonious appearance.
However, pairing a bright or light blue suit with black may not offer the same cohesive effect and might appear too contrasting. It's crucial to pay attention to the formality of the event and your personal style when deciding to wear black and blue together in a suit, as this combination can be more unconventional and fashion-forward.
Is it OK to wear a black shirt with a suit?
Wearing a black shirt with a suit is a daring and unconventional fashion choice, and whether it's "okay" depends on the context and your personal style. This combination tends to work best in more casual or creative settings, but it's generally not recommended for very formal or traditional events.
The success of the look also hinges on the specific shades of black in the shirt and suit, your confidence in pulling off the style, and the appropriateness for the occasion. When executed thoughtfully, it can create a stylish and edgy appearance, but it's important to be mindful of the context and your own comfort in wearing it.