Style Scenario: Getting more use out of your charcoal suit

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What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. A dark charcoal suit is a foundation for any guy’s dressed up wardrobe. It’s smart, it’s sober, it’ll get you the job and/or show respect if you have to attend a funeral. But what about when the occasion isn’t so… serious? Here’s one way to dress down your favorite charcoal suit, so you can wear it a lot more. This replicates a particular, personal favorite setup that I wear a lot this time of year.

The Suit: Spier and Mackay Super 120s Merino Half Canvas Wool Suit in Charcoal – $262.40 w/ THANKS ($328). An absurdly kind price for a half canvas suit. Available in two fits (although sizes in the slim are going quick). Timeless lapel width. Nice wool. Lined in Bemberg. Code runs through tomorrow, 10/16.

The Pocket Square: The Tie Bar “Navy Floral Acres” Pocket Square – $14. Blues and greens and a bit of pattern. Sorta like a blackwatch tartan, minus the “hey it’s Christmas!” feel. Because it’s not Christmas yet. And feel free to make it messy. It doesn’t need to be a perfectly ironed square.

NOTE: TheTieBar is currently having some issues with fulfilling orders? Caught wind of a recent email from them to a customer which said: “Yesterday you received an e-mail regarding an outage with our third party fulfillment center that impacted your order. We want to keep you updated on this outage as we learn more about the severity and duration. At this time there are still no shipments leaving the fulfillment center and we are still uncertain of when shipping and fulfillment will begin again. We will continue to keep you updated as we are learn more.” So yeah. That doesn’t sound… good. Big thanks to Josh P. for the tip here.

The Shirt: 1901 Button Down Oxford in “Blue Brunnera” – $38.90 ($59.50). You can absolutely wear a button down collar with a sharp suit. It just has to be pretty polished (like this lightly textured dress oxford from Nordy’s 1901 brand), and the rest of your look also has to be on the dressed down side. Which with the boots, the watch, and the pocket square, is precisely what we’re doing here. This is not some super thick, squishy, rumpled OCBD from UNIQLO. It’s a dress shirt. Want something dressier? Try Ledbury’s new essentials line.

The Bag: WP Standard Zip Top Briefcase – $349. Big fan of these guys. The leather is exceptional, the designs are interesting without being trendy, and the prices are investment worthy but still attainable for many. And the zip top briefcase walks the line between smart and not too stuffy perfectly. Full review here.

The Watch: Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chrono in Blue – $260. On the heels of a super positive review about them, gonna suggest their blue racing chrono here. No, it’s not the kind of watch you’d normally wear with a suit. But that’s the point for this style scenario. Charcoal suits can lean pretty conservative and sober. If you start gently de-formalizing the other bits and pieces of your outfit, it can, somehow, all come together in the end. Want a watch that’s a bit more traditional? Try the Orient Polaris, which is now down to $360 on Amazon. The watch at the top of the post? That’s a Monaco. I paid a heck of a lot less than what they go for now (the spendy watch market, as a whole, has been inflated for a couple years now). And it was a totally bizarre, one-off situation. It involved one of the first big Amazon Prime Day events, and being completely surprised that Amazon was selling one direct, on sale, WITH an additional 30% off select watches deal stacked on it (for real, I couldn’t believe it). It’s my “grail” watch, so, I jumped on it. But it took some mental gymnastics to get out the credit card.

The Shoes: Allen Edmonds Hamilton Boots – $275 ($395). Why people still believe that dark brown shoes and gray suits (or trousers) don’t mix is beyond me. They do. Don’t take my word for it, look around at various suit brand sites. Their models are often wearing dark brown shoes with their charcoal suits. And it works! Especially when you’re dressing that suit down a bit. Because black shoes would look pretty… severe. Funeral like. Meanwhile, dress boots are the perfect play here. These are brand new to the Allen Edmonds lineup, and they’re on mega sale during the Rediscover America event. I normally wear an old, discontinued pair of Allen Edmonds Bleecker Street chukkas when I’m dressing down my charcoal suit in the fall.

The Belt: Marino Ratchet Belt in #37 Brown– $24.99. Or whatever dark brown dress belt you prefer.

The Socks: SmartWool Barber Pole Wool Blend Crew Socks – $11.97 ($18.95). On sale via Nordstrom Rack. And The Rack is a great place to get select items for hugely reduced costs (think sunglasses and… socks). Their current selection of SmartWool socks proves this.

This post originally ran in the spring but… it’s fall now. Products have been updated for availability and, to reflect the season. Plus, now that summer is over, that charcoal suit in your closet can be aired out and worn once again. And again. And… again. Don’t be scared of it (see #3 here). 
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