Stephan asks: I’ve come into possession of a black sports coat (a little more formal, higher lapels, single breasted, no flaps on the pockets). I know black is a tricky color to wear, but it seems like a shame to let the piece go to waste. Are there any nighttime combinations that it might work in?
Stephan, you’re right that black blazers are tricky to wear, and you’re right that nighttime is the time to wear them. Here are the basics.
- More texture is better. This is true of the jacket (note the velvet coat above) and the trousers (flannel, above). This will help you look less like you bought a black suit and ruined the pants.
- Gray trousers are your best bet. A simple, monochromatic look that varies intensity rather than hue is a good way to go. Shades of gray, white and black are perfectly appropriate for the evening. The pants should typically be at least medium gray – otherwise the contrast can be a bit much.
- Jeans might work. Sharp jeans and sharp black shoes (like Chelsea boots, for example) might very well work. Again, the tricky bit is that you can’t look like you meant to wear a suit but tore the knee of your pants.
Well executed, you can make a black coat look sharp for going out in the evening.
But seriously, if you’re at the store? Go with navy. A thousand times easier.
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(Photo: StyleForum User TonyRomo)