The versatility of brown business suit

Posted by Atte Rytkönen on 27.5.2017 in General

Is there such a thing as brown business suit? Can you be a credible expert and wear brown for business or other formal meetings? Yes you can. In general it is nowadays totally appropriate to wear brown for business. And it has become one of my personal favorite suit colors.

Today I take two different kind of examples how you can wear a brown suit. Or at least how I choose to wear it. The first one is a little bit more casual option and the second one is a combination you can wear even to any board meeting. If you want to.

Brown business suit - three-piece gives you more possible combinations.
Brown business suit is one of the most undervalued options. Try to go with brown.

Brown business suit at the office

I have written earlier about how you can dress down your suit. Here I chose to put into practice two of those tips. First, I wear a lightweight soft collar oxford shirt. Secondly, I wear a tie made of textured wool fabric. Two very simple things that some people won’t necessarily even notice. But two things that makes the brown business suit and the attire perfectly appropriate for normal work day in the office. And gives the outfit a bit of casualness at the same time.

Brown business suit - make your suit more casual with light blue shirt and printed tie.
This one is definitely one of my favorite suits at the moment.

Difference between dress shirts – formal or casual

The formality of your dress shirt is defined basically by four things:

  • color
  • pattern
  • fabric
  • type of collar (and cuffs)

And particularly in that order. Plain white shirt with point or spread collar and french cuffs is the most formal shirt you can wear. In turn, for example a button-down collar shirt made of flannel fabric with tattersall check is one the most casual shirts a man can have in his wardrobe. I have said it multiple times, but for business use I personally wear mostly plain white, light blue and striped shirts. It is a matter of taste but I feel that for example checked shirts are first of all too casual. Secondly, they are much harder to combine with your suits, sport coats and accessories. As you know, I like my outfits as simple as possible.

For this outftit I chose the DLA light blue oxford shirt. Some people might say that brown and light blue are a boring combination. I say that’s rubbish. It’s a perfect combination. And it works for many occasions. The contrast is restrained and the colors support each other.

Click here for DLA essential shirts

Brown business suit - show the right amount of cuff underneath your suit jacket.
The right amount of cuff that shows underneath your jacket is a matter of taste. I prefer 1,5-2,0cm.

Separation from the crowd is not an absolute value. On the contrary, mostly in the business environment you want to merge into the crowd. But still you want to be remembered.

The best way to do that is always to present the best version of yourself. And in my opinion the easiest way to do that, is to wear simple and classic combinations. And wear clothes that fits you well. Then it is those little details and combinations you can make the difference with. But when it comes to dress shirts, I go with the simple choices.

Brown business suit - brown calf leather oxfords with the suit.
Calf leather oxfords are in fact quite a formal choice. If you want to go more casual, try penny or tassel loafers.

Brown suit for formal business meetings

The brown business suit is totally appropriate even for the formal business meetings. That’s my opinion. This of course must be read by knowing that some places have stricter dress codes. But I personally have participated many board meetings as well as for example hearings on the Finnish parliament and wore this suit. It’s just about how you combine it. And how you present yourself.

Brown business suit with formal accessories.
Dark brown suit, white shirt, navy grenadine tie and white linen pocket square. Classic and business appropriate.

White shirt and blue tie – the most classic choice

You can’t really say it in a simpler way. And if you finish the look with a white linen pocket square, the ensemble is as classic and restrained as it gets. A dark or navy blue or dark gray suit would of course be a step into more formal result. But the dark brown business suit works here. As you can see. In my opinion the plain shirt, tie and pocket square keeps the outfit coherent. And it works for the occasions where you just need to create an elegant, classic and simple look.

Brown business suit - Adjusting the cuffs of the shirt.
Have you noticed that I like simple colors and combinations?

Business wear and accessories – couple of thoughts

In terms of ties, you know, I am a fan of no pattern. Although recently I have started to wear again some patterned ties as well. But prints are safe. Basically everyone wears prints. And printed pattern ties are a good way to bring a little contrast to your outfit. But remember, you want a classic looking print of utterly indeterminate provenance.

For the first outfit I wore a mid-brown wool tie with beige and light blue flower print. If you want to try print, flower prints and other micro prints are a good way to start. Here I personally like how the wool fabric of the tie plays together with the oxford cotton fabric of the shirt and herringbone wool of the suit. Of course this kind of combination is more suitable for colder months than for summer.

Brown business suit - the double four-in-hand knot and navy blue DLA grenadine tie
The DLA navy blue grenadine with a double four-in-hand knot.

For the second one, as said I went for my favorite navy blue grenadine tie. The reasoning behind the choice is the same as always. The texture of the fabric gives it visual and aesthetic interest balanced by subdued coloring. These features make it easy to wear with almost anything. And these are the features that makes this tie to be my number one choice whenever I need to be the best version of myself.

Brown business suit - the details
The details.

Sum-up – choose pocket square and shoes to balance the outfit

As usual, finally there is the pocket square and shoes. The borders of the pocket square repeats the light blue color of the shirt. This is an easy way to combine the colors of the outfit. The main color of the pocket square is orange which is not visible anywhere else. But as I have said earlier, orange actually blends in nicely with the shades of brown and blue. Therefore the contrast is not too big. And in my opinion, you can wear colors in your pocket square even though the same colors do not appear in other parts of your outfit.

Brown business suit - outfit to wear for the formal business meetings
Ready for work.

And if you want to read more about brown suits, check out these earlier posts:

Brown suit with brown accessories

Brown suit for spring – inspiration