Reader Question: Brown Suits

Saturday, March 13, 2010
"I've been thinking about getting a chocolate brown two piece suit, what do you think about this colour in a suit?

Brown suits can be great, although I don't think they're the easiest look to pull off. Dark brown, like chocolate brown, I think is a particularly hard one as it can lack the classic formality of a similarly dark grey or blue suit, but it also doesn't have the appealing warm-weather look of a lighter brown suit. That said, I've seen examples of very nice dark brown suits, so I don't think it's impossible at all. I think you're also right to go with a two-piece for this, and presumably a single-breasted, as I think anything else could be overkill.

With a brown suit, you have two main approaches as I see it. Either you can opt for a very city-style suit in a plain worsted wool, just as if it was grey or blue. This could be a good look, but I think there's a reason that city suits are generally not brown, and this might be a wasted opportunity to do something more interesting. My preferred option would be the second approach, which is to acknowledge that you've chosen a country colour, and wear something with a more country flavour.

The above suit is from Walker Slater who have stores in Edinburgh and London. Even if you're not from the UK, it would be worth looking at their site for inspiration, as I think they do the town/country crossover very well. With this approach, you could choose a heavier cloth (perhaps even a tweed, although that might be overkill...) and maybe opt for a subtle pattern, like in the picture above. Although this style of suit would be arguably a bit less formal, you would still be able to wear it in most situations, and I think it would be a more interesting suit with a bit of extra personality.

A long answer to a simple question, but I hope it's useful at any rate!