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Dressing down a black suit

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    Dressing down a black suit

    I have a few DC election night parties to go to on Tuesday. I was planning on wearing a navy suit, but as it no longer fits... I'm going to wear my black J.Crew ludlow suit.

    Any ideas on how I could dress down a black suit? The parties are mostly in bars and clubs, so I don't want to look like I'm going to a formal black tie event. However, I work in media and so I have to look professional. Any shirt/tie advice would be greatly appreciated.


    Wear a tie that's so loud that they won't notice the suit. :-)



      It's tough to dress down a black suit - a lot of the ways you can dress down other suits end up looking a little, well, sleazy in a black suit.

      For the shirt, skip the crisp white dress shirt and go for something with a little pattern or color - not a LOT, but a little. Something like a tattersall or a windowpane, or maybe a light blue shirt. Skip the tie, or else go for a dark knitted tie. Wear a v-neck sweater or sweater-vest in a conservative color that contrasts a bit with the suit (maybe mid grey?). For shoes, go for a wingtip (or something similar) in dark brown or burgundy.

      Alternately, I just found this image, which I like (except for the belt).

      Maybe skip the jacket altogether and do something like this?




        @Alan I thought about wearing this red tie:

        It's very subtle haha



          @BenR Thanks those are good ideas. You're right, dressing down a black suit ends up looking a little..eurotrash. I might try and skip the suit all together, maybe get a nice tweed sportcoat or something. The locations are not super formal.. but DC, is pretty much a suit and tie only town.



            Just a non-solid color shirt with a pocket square would look good



              AedanM, there's only one way to pull off a black suit: with white gloves and a matching silver tray layered with glasses of congratulatory drinks. Expect tips, but don't demand to be tipped.



                @bruschetta: That's untrue and unfair. Attending a funeral and standing in a wedding are also both completely valid occassions.



                  Alan, forgive me; you're right about the funeral.



                    I disagree with the idea that there is no way to dress down a black suit - in fact, a black suit dresses down quite well, I think. Some ideas (many of which are echoing BenR's excellent advice):

                    -Go tieless, and either wear a button-down collar - which also adds a casual element - or use Wurkin Stiffs. (Either of these routes will prevent your shirt collar from going all floppy and saggy without a tie.)

                    -Wear a tie with some texture and/or pattern - knit, stripes, pindot, etc.

                    -Skip the white shirt, and go instead with a light blue or even a subtle lavender.

                    -Wear some SLIGHTLY more casual footwear - don't think brown shoes are a good idea, but you can try a dressy boot, a wingtip, or even just a captoe with open lacing as opposed to closed.

                    -My favorite option: wear a chambray dress shirt. This look is very in right now, and adds an undeniable casual element. I love the idea of this combo, but if you're going to do it, I would definitely wear a tie (with some pattern/texture, to match the vibe of the shirt).

                    Some pictures for inspiration:

                    Brad and George doing tieless black suits with class:



                    Chambray shirts with suits:


           (the guy in the middle)