I used to think everyone was over this no brown in town nonsense. Apparently I was wrong.
On one of the Facebook menswear groups I had a discussion about brown suits. I’ve also seen some comments here and there, where people would say that brown is a horrible colour for a suit, and that it looks unprofessional in the city setting.
To which I can only reply: no it doesn’t, and stop saying that. There’s even some doubt whether brown was ever actually seen as inappropriate in the city – unfortunately a fantastic post on the Cutter and Tailor forum which would back me up on this, lacks the pictures it once had, due to some unfortunate transfer limit on the website that hosts them.
But it doesn’t matter much – if you’ve been reading my blog, you should know I’m not particularly interested in recreating outfits that follow all the old-timey rules, and I believe that even in classic menswear fashion plays an important role.
So instead of arguing whether there’s historical precedent for a brown suit in the city, let’s look at its modern use. This is quite simple: if you want to wear a suit, and don’t have to, you’ll usually go with more casual options. They can be linen or cotton in summer, or tweed and heavier woolen flannels in winter. Brown, especially in lighter shades, will work very well in this instance – you want your suit as casual as can be.
Clothing: Suit: Bespoke from Dege & Skinner, in 11-ounce W Bill linen. Shirt: Bespoke from D'Avino, in white linen Tie: Black large-knot grenadine, made to order at 9cm width, from Drake's Hat: Anderson & Sheppard haberdashery, in sisol straw Shoes: Bespoke from Gaziano & Girling, mid-brown adelaide with painted patina Folio: Leather envelope from British craft market (not great quality, which is why I have never mentioned it, though I do like the design) Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man #bespoke #italy #style #mensblogger #styleblogger #menwithstyle #linensuit #summer #summerstyle
So in recent years, tobacco brown – a lighter shade, sometimes with a tinge of orange – has become a very popular colour, especially for a linen suit.
Returning to this wonderful @sartoriaformosa1965 tobacco linen suit from @nomanwalksalone. I'm wearing it with a @ginglese.it shirt and @drakesdiary square, also from NMWA. The tie is E.G. Cappelli from @skoaktiebolaget. . . . . #sartoriaformosa #formosa #nomanwalksalone #tobaccolinen #linensuit #linensuits #egcappelli #skoaktiebolaget #drakes #drakesdiary #drakesoflondon #ginglese #tie #tieporn #handmade #artisanmade #madeinitaly #pocketsquare #pocketsquares #pocketsquaregame #mensblazer #menstailoring #menswear #stylishmen #stylishgent #mnswr #ptoman #classicmenswear #styleforum #rakish
But other shades and other less formal fabrics will work very well too.
An unspoken rule of classic menswear provides that carded fabrics must be paired with suede shoes. Do you agree? Bespoke three-piece donegal suit by @eduardo_de_simone. Mark: 9.5/10 (just because my left central crease looks a tad twisted on the bottom). Have a lovely weekend Dudettes and Dudes . . Una regola non scritta dell'abbigliamento classico maschile prevede che i tessuti cardati siano abbinati a scarpe scamosciate. Siete d'accordo? Abito bespoke tre pezzi in donegal di Eduardo de Simone. Voto: 9.5/10 (giusto perchè la gamba sinistra sembra torcere un filo sul fondo). Un buon fine settimana a voi! . . #thebespokedudes #sartoria #bespoketailoring #classicelegance #donegal #threepiecesuit #alden ph: @nafisehka
4-5 Casual suit This is a relatively broad category in one sense: it takes it every material from tweed to linen to cotton, and every colour and pattern imaginable. But it is also a narrow category, in that it is rarely employed. Few people wear casual or ‘knockabout’ suits today. When they do, they belong between the blazer and the tweed jacket… The cord suit above: 4.3. Has a tie and clean white hank, but tie is wool and shirt is denim. #bespoke #style #formality #menswear #permanentstyle photo @jkf_man
But yeah, this is simple – when you’re not forced to look professional and trustworthy, you can have fun with what you’re wearing. It’s different if you need to adhere to an office dress code. But even then, unless it’s explicitly forbidden, brown can work nicely. Just choose a dark, chocolate shade and worsted wool fabric. Go with conservative details and accessories. And voilà, you have yourself perfectly acceptable office attire.
Brown Friday with shades of fall. ————————————————– #menswear #mnswr #menstyle #menwithclass #menwithstyle #dresslikea #DLA #inspiration #suitup #business #style #outfit #styleinspiration #classicmenswear #madeinitaly #luxury #rakish #rakishgent #fashion #ties #tieporn #helsinki #suomi #finland #ptoman #accessories #gentlemanstyle #gentleman #wayw #wiwt
The two gentlemen above even wrote about wearing a brown suit to work, and I recommend their articles at The Nordic Fit and Dress Like A. Especially that these are real life examples of people who successfully pull this off, and not just theorize about it.
And let’s be honest – in post modern situations wearing a jacket is fine, and a full suit is rarely a must. So brown jackets or trousers will be perfect in those less formal outfits; throw in a pattern, and you’ll look great in almost any day-to-day situation.
It's time to say Goodbye to sunny Florence and Fortezza da Basso, but first, some #ootd ? – – – – – Pora żegnać się ze słoneczną Florencją i Fortecą da Basso, ale najpierw dzisiejszy zestaw ? #menwithstyle #travelwithstyle #pitti #pitti92 #pittiuomo #pittiuomo92 #lancerto #menswesr #menstyle #mensfashion #firenze #outsmart
So my conclusion would be: don’t worry about what you’ve read about colours too much. Follow simple, common-sense guidelines, in which the more something stands out, the less formal it is, and just compose your outfits to fit the occasion and satisfy your own preferences. Clothes are not precise science, but they’re not magic either – they’re not going to make you competent or interesting on their own, and they’re not going to take those qualities from you.
That, and brown is a good colour to wear.