The Classic Dark suit
These days, we live in a society with fairly casual rules about dressing. Most people don’t need to wear anything more formal than a pair of khakis and a button down shirt to work, and many workplaces allow blue jeans and sneakers. Even the most traditional law firms and investment companies, where just a decade ago employees could be reprimanded for removing their suit jackets in the elevator, have downgraded their dress codes and abandoned the suit requirement for the most part. Working from home has increased this trend, as workplaces that had held onto the necktie have allowed that requirement to fall away too. But no matter what happens to workplace dress codes, we will always need to have at least one reliable, adaptable suit for important occasions, and The Andover Shop’s made-to-measure program can help you create the ideal suit.
Figure 1: The Classic Dark Suit can be seen in such classic movies as Cary Grant's North by Northwest
Details, details, details...
If you only have one suit, versatility is key. As much fun as a heavy tweed or a crisp tropical linen can be, they are limited in terms of the level of formality and type of weather they are intended for. A year-round worsted wool suiting fabric is the best choice, providing breathability in the summer and warmth in the winter. Worsted wool is also naturally wrinkle resistant due to the way the yarn is twisted and then woven to make the material, keeping your suit crisp even after a hard day of travel.
Equally important in terms of versatility is the color. The most conservative color choices are navy blue and grey. Black might seem like an obvious choice, but it is difficult to pair with other colors and has funereal connotations. A black suit might look good on a musician like Johnny Cash or Tom Waits, but it’s not going to serve you as well at a wedding or job interview. Grey is the most versatile choice for a first suit. It pairs well with all kinds of colors, and often has a depth of texture or tone that looks more attractive than navy blue. According to Larry Mahoney at The Andover Shop’s Cambridge location: “while blue is also an option, I think grey is a little more useful, more sincere, and you’ll look less like a politician in a grey suit.”
When considering the cut of a first suit, it’s best to make your suit timeless, rather than flashy. A single-breasted two-button jacket with a notch lapel is a classic look that will never feel dated. The Andover Shop’s characteristic soft-shouldered jacket also remains current to this day. Side or center vents, however, which affect how the jacket moves and how you can reach your trouser pockets, are up to your personal taste, and either is a good choice. The last thing to choose is your suit’s lining, and that is entirely up to you. The lining is hidden inside of the jacket, a little flash of color that you can use to express your personality, and The Andover Shop has dozens of samples of bemberg (a material that we will discuss in a future) in different colors and patterns to choose from.
Figure 2: The Andover Shop offers a variety of fabrics to choose from
One piece, so many uses
Whether it’s for a job interview, a funeral, a wedding, or a date, a well-fitting classic dark suit is a must-have item, and The Andover Shop’s made-to-measure offerings will have you looking your best. Contact either of our locations if you have any questions, or come in to look at materials and plan your suit. And if you know someone who would benefit from adding a classic, versatile suit to their wardrobe this winter, consider sending them a gift certificate to start them on that journey with us here at The Andover Shop.
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