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How to Wear a Charcoal Suit

How to properly wear a charcoal suit and different color combinations

If you expect class and formality from clothes, there aren’t many colors that can do it better than the charcoal suit.

I would term it as professionally versatile because you have a myriad of options, but the suit eventually ends up looking formal due to the deep cool tones.

But worry not, knowing the right colors and accessories to pair with it is all you need to wear a charcoal grey suit properly.

Shades of Grey: Light-Grey vs. Medium vs. Charcoal Suit

Charcoal is a shade of grey that falls on the darker side of the spectrum. It is mostly good for achieving a professional look.

What is a charcoal suit?

However, this does not mean it is only restricted to professional settings.

In fact, charcoal suits offer versatility when you experiment with different colors, fabrics, and patterns.

A charcoal suit can also help achieve a worthy informal look if paired with the right shade of brown shoes.

But keep in mind that charcoal does not offer much excitement. It is often considered a bland tone, so people tend to pair it with neutral colors.

Yet, charcoal is versatile enough to pair with neutral and dark colors for a formal look and bright or light colors for a more casual look.

On the other hand, light grey suits are good for casual settings in hotter climates or warmer months.

Light-grey vs. charcoal grey suit

Even though everyone can successfully pull off a light grey suit, they look best on fair complexions.

Finally, the medium grey suit is a highly versatile suit color option because of how well it pairs with other shades.

Medium grey vs. charcoal grey suit

You can make a medium grey suit work for both social and business settings.

You have to mix and match your suit, shirts, and ties to achieve varying looks for different themes.

Best Charcoal Suit Styles

At one end, you can achieve varying looks with a charcoal suit.

On the other end, you can help enhance these looks for varying settings by going for different charcoal suit styles.

Remember that when you wear a suit, the most crucial thing is to ensure the suit fits you right.

Single-Breasted Two-Piece Charcoal Suit

The slim-fit single-breasted two-button suit is the standard style in men’s fashion.

Single-breasted slim-fit charcoal grey suit style

You can make this charcoal suit your go-to attire for various occasions.

This is because charcoal grey sits well with a myriad of other colors, simplifying the shirt and tie choices.

Moreover, you can wear a single-breasted charcoal grey suit made from wool for work throughout all seasons.

The Three-Piece Charcoal Grey Suit

Not many people take the bold step of wearing a charcoal suit with a vest.

If you are a gentleman who wants to come off as someone that knows fashion, a three-piece charcoal suit makes a great fashion statement.

Three-piece charcoal grey suit style

Adding the right texture to the look can take it a step further by making the three-piece suit unique.

My personal favorites are wool or tweed featuring subtle dyed threads.

The best tie options for a three-piece charcoal suit are black, dark blue, or burgundy.

Double-Breasted Charcoal Grey Suit

If you think the charcoal suit is not the right color to look fashionable, think again, but this time double-breasted.

Charcoal grey in darker tones featuring stripes is a flawless fabric choice for a double-breasted suit.

Double-breasted charcoal grey suit style

However, make sure to pair it with a modest shirt and accessories such as a white shirt balanced with a slightly contrasting tie.

Best Dress Shirt Colors for a Charcoal Suit

Since charcoal grey pairs well with various colors, you have some excellent shirt color options.

The classic white is always there, but you can also opt for the contemporary classic light blue or the more modern pink shirt.

If any of these colors bore you and the setting is relaxed, nothing should stop you from wearing a patterned or striped shirt.

White Dress Shirt

The white dress shirt is the classic staple under any suit.

Charcoal suits are famously worn formally, making the white a perfect formal contrast.

How to wear a charcoal grey suit with a white dress shirt

I recommend a white dress shirt with French cuffs, no breast pocket, and a semi-spread collar.

Oh, and add cufflinks if you want to be taken seriously.

White provides the textbook contrast with a charcoal grey suit or any shade of grey, for that matter.

As for the tie, if you want to appear as bold and grim, your best options are red or some shade of burgundy.

Tie color choices you can wear with a charcoal suit and white dress shirt

Navy blue is a solid option if you want something more on the cooler side.

Other tie colors featuring cool tones that work well with charcoal grey include plum, forest green, and even bronze-orange.

You can wear any dark-colored tie with a charcoal suit for cocktail attire and other semi-formal events.

Light Blue Dress Shirt

While white is the classic, light blue is considered the smarter choice in men’s fashion.

Light blue is ideal for charcoal since it has a calm effect by bringing out the blue tones of grey.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a light blue dress shirt

Unlike the sweetness of pink, light blue shirts bring relaxation to the table, reminding us of the warm summer seasons.

Even though light blue is a shift from classic white, it keeps sophistication in check when worn under a charcoal suit.

My recommended tie color with this combination is blue itself. However, a shade darker than the shirt.

Tie color choices you can wear with a charcoal suit and blue dress shirt

However, a navy tie is another excellent option that offers a highly formal approach to the charcoal grey suit.

Dark grey is a great tie option too, but only if it’s the same shade or darker than the charcoal of the suit.

You can wear this combination for evening events or even for work.

Adding a black tie to a charcoal suit with a light blue background makes for an equally formal ensemble as a black suit and tie.

In fact, it is a great way to come off as unique in a sea of black suits.

Pink Dress Shirt

Despite the popularity of white and light blue, these colors can sometimes come off as monotonous, especially when put against pastel pinks.

On top of it, pink works particularly well with different shades of grey.

It is mainly a good match because pink adds some warmth to the cool blue tones of charcoal grey.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a pink dress shirt

As a result, a pink shirt under a charcoal suit is a favorite look of many, especially when a navy tie makes the combination even more interesting and sleek.

You can also opt for a purple (violet) tie, which works equally well as navy.

However, black looks relatively classier and sleeker in this combination and can even make it work for the office.

Burgundy is another option, but I would say you steer clear of bright red shades since pink is enough flare on its own.

Patterned & Striped Shirts

Your shirt with a charcoal grey suit doesn’t have to be solid.

Patterned and striped shirts are also classic choices, especially in grey.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a patterned dress shirt

However, stay vary of larger stripes since they are more informal.

As a result, your patterned or striped shirt should have smaller patterns to go with the formality of the charcoal suit.

Also, avoid floral prints since they are extremely casual and don’t sit well with grey.

More importantly, if you plan on wearing a patterned charcoal suit, the shirt and tie patterns should not overlap.

Turtleneck & Sweater

There’s good flexibility with the charcoal suit, and having the ability to swap the shirt with a turtleneck is just an example.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a dark grey turtleneck

Adding a dark grey or black turtleneck can create a wonderful monochromatic effect on your charcoal suit.

Other dark color turtlenecks like navy or burgundy also come across as elegant and dressy.

You can also play with light turtleneck colors like beige, light brown, or grey, but these are more appropriate for daytime events.

Best Tie Colors for a Charcoal Suit

Charcoal grey falls on the darker side, which calls for excitement for the ensemble by choosing the right tie color.

There are the classics such as black, navy, and grey itself, but you can also go for other brighter and more playful tie options.

Red Tie

A red tie paired with a charcoal grey suit means business.

It helps you make a powerful statement but only if you get the right shade of red.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a red tie and white shirt

Brighter reds don’t tend to sit well with charcoal grey because they attract more attention than required.

Try opting for a deeper red, such as burgundy. Imagine how smart a deep red tie on a charcoal suit with a light blue background will look.

Dark Grey Tie

The dark grey tie is good for a charcoal grey suit, especially if worn over a crisp white shirt.

But honestly, I personally prefer a pink shirt with a grey dark grey tie as the pink helps provide the right contrast for all the grey around it.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a dark grey tie and white shirt

The grey trio is a good but not-so-famous match for all the bold ones out there.

A light grey-silvery shirt under a charcoal suit complemented with a dark grey tie can be a look of its own.

Blue/Navy Blue Tie

You can keep your look casual and smart by pairing a charcoal suit with a white Oxford.

However, this combination lacks a navy tie that offers a touch of smartness over a contrasting ensemble.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a navy tie and white shirt

Navy can also work over a light blue shirt, but I believe it looks better if it was medium or light grey instead of charcoal.

Brown Tie

Brown and grey might not seem to make the best pair but listen to me.

A three-piece charcoal grey suit accentuated with dark brown shoes can look even better if you throw in a dark brown tie.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a brown tie and white shirt

The tie doesn’t necessarily have to be solid but can also have stripes or patterns.

Keep things simple under the suit by opting for the white shirt, and you have a sleek outfit ready.

Black Tie

Black on black under charcoal grey is a smart and stylish look.

However, not everyone can pull off this look with ease.

How to wear a charcoal suit with a black tie and white shirt

Instead, you should aim for the easier yet more successful combination, in my opinion: a crisp white shirt and black silk tie under a charcoal suit.

Other Tie Colors & Styles

Ties don’t necessarily have to be solids. In fact, charcoal grey is a great color to experiment with other tie colors and styles.

Bronze orange or olive green can create a sleek look when paired with charcoal.

However, never go for bright shades with this suit color.

Other tie styles you can wear with a charcoal suit

Other than that, you can opt for patterned or striped ties.

Just make sure it contrasts well with the suit, shirt, and pocket square if you wear one.

Shoes that Match the Charcoal Suit

Charcoal suits are the deepest shades among the grey family.

As a result, they call for equally deep and dark-colored shoes to complement the outfit.

Moreover, since the suit color reeks of professionalism, it is always suitable to wear formal shoes, especially if you attend a business event or a presentation.

Wearing brown shoes with a charcoal grey suit

Oxford or derby in black, dark brown, or even deep burgundy are good choices.

Just avoid wearing a lighter shade of shoes since it will take away all the maturity of charcoal grey.

Black Shoes

Black shoes might not be as versatile as brown shoes, but their dressiness and class compensate for it.

They pair effortlessly under a charcoal suit to create a tidy overall appearance, especially for formal events.

How to wear a charcoal grey suit with black dress shoes

As a result, you should have your black shoes ready to go with the charcoal suit for the next presentation or any formal event.

However, this does not mean black shoes are only meant for formal events.

Instead, black shoes can also complement a casual look exceptionally well.

But that is a rare occasion with charcoal grey, so you wouldn’t really need your black loafers for this suit color.

Brown Shoes

Brown shoes make for a good warm contrast to any suit color.

This shoe color works exceptionally for charcoal grey by balancing out the cool blue tones of the suit.

How to wear a charcoal grey suit with brown dress boots

As a result, it is a must-have shoe in your wardrobe, but only in the dark shade.

Light brown or even medium brown shoes don’t make a good match for charcoal, given how dark it is.

However, brown does unwind avenues to complement a more casual charcoal grey suit look.

You can easily make it work for formal events as well with the right shade of brown Oxford or Derby.

Wearing a charcoal suit with brown loafers

As for a casual charcoal grey getup, you can opt for loafers, monk straps, or even sneakers.

Burgundy Shoes

A rich burgundy shoe is as good as the black shoe under a charcoal suit; however, not for formal settings.

Instead, you can wear this shoe-suit combination to work, dinners, or cocktail attire.

How to wear a charcoal grey suit with burgundy dress boots

Unlike brown, burgundy has cool tones which sit well with the already cool charcoal grey.

Pair it with the right shirt and tie, and you might have a standout look in the crowd.

I personally prefer wearing burgundy shoes with a classic white or pink shirt, especially under a charcoal suit.

Other Accessories You Can Wear with Charcoal Grey Suits

If you are really out there to look fine and polished, you need to accessorize your charcoal suit.

Accessories such as belt, watch, and pocket square are standard additions to almost any suit.

What’s more important than wearing them is to wear them right.

Matching Formal Belt

Belts are sometimes considered informal. However, that’s better than leaving empty belt loops on the suit pants.

Black formal belt with a charcoal suit

Moreover, if you get the right style and shade, the belt can enhance the suit’s formality by making you look tidy and settled.

Just make sure whatever belt you get; is in the same shade as the shoe color you choose.

This is vital to keep up the continuity of the suit; otherwise, it just looks odd.

Both Leather and Metal Watches are Good

The professional look of a charcoal suit isn’t complete unless you accessorize it with a watch.

Leather strap watches are classy, especially if you get one in the same color as the belt and shoes.

Different watch styles that watch with a charcoal suit

Metal watches are for those who want to add some shine to their look.

A silver metal watch attracts attention to the wrist but only enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the suit like a gold watch.

Contrasting Pocket Square

Pocket squares are minute accessories for suits; however, they still have to be done right.

Wearing contrasting pocket square and tie

If the occasion asks for it, add a contrasting pocket square that features the colors of the suit, tie, and shirt as well.

Best Charcoal Suit Color Combinations for Different Occasions

Charcoal is a versatile shade that can be worn on many different occasions.

However, suit enthusiasts know where they look best: formal events due to the bland tones of the color.

As a result, you should rely on this shade of grey to provide a successful look for formal business settings, weddings, and other semi-formal events.

If you want to go for a slightly casual ensemble, separate the jacket and pants.

Office & Business Formal

Office and formal business settings require toned-down outfits that don’t attract much attention.

You should avoid lighter shades and patterns because they lack authority and assertiveness.

How to wear a charcoal suit for formal business settings

Therefore, charcoal grey is an incredible option to wear for work or any sort of formal business event.

I would recommend you stick with the classic white shirt and experiment with dark tie colors.

As for shoes, black must be your first choice.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with going with brown, but black handles office settings quite well.

I would suggest you add a watch on your wrist to come off as someone who is serious and mature.

Charcoal Suit for Weddings

Charcoal suits are often considered bland due to the depth of the shade.

As a result, it isn’t always the best fit for weddings which ask for some blaze.

How to wear a charcoal grey tuxedo for weddings

However, you can still pull off a charcoal suit look at a wedding if paired with the right shirt and accessories.

Let’s start with a burgundy tie and pink shirt combination.

Pair it with burgundy shoes, and add a metal watch for that extra flashiness.

A contrasting pocket square is a must because there is not much going on with the suit.

Semi-Formal Events

Even though charcoal works for highly formal events, you can also make it work for semi-formal settings.

Semi-formal is still quite formal as compared to more relaxed settings.

Semi-formal outfit: charcoal suit with a patterned dress shirt and brown shoes

As a result, this is your chance to experiment with patterns and colors, but don’t overdo anything.

You still have to keep formality in check, so choose a patterned tie over a patterned or solid shirt.

Shoes can be either brown or burgundy but blackwork too.

Separating the Charcoal Grey Suit Jacket and Pants

Accessories can help make the charcoal grey suit look a bit casual.

However, accessories alone aren’t enough because of how dull the shade is.

As a result, to add the right amount of flare for a fully casual look, you have to separate the suit jacket and pants.

A separate charcoal suit jacket with black pants

Pair the charcoal jacket with black pants.

Of course, navy pants work, too, but nothing beats the black and grey combination.

Add a classic button-down shirt, either in solid or patterns.

You can also go easy with the shoes and choose a good pair of sneakers or loafers.

Wearing a charcoal grey blazer with black pants and white sneakers

Just avoid color combinations that make it look like there is too much going on with no continuity.

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