Kinds of Blue
If you tell someone to shut their eyes and imagine a suit, there’s a good chance their imaginary garment will be some shade of blue. The grey flannel suit may have reigned supreme in Don Draper’s day, but by the time Mad Men aired it had been surpassed by blue.
Why? Rack it up to more relaxed dress codes and a less conformist society. And while we love a good grey suit as much as the next fictional ad man, we can’t complain about blue’s ascendancy. Its versatility makes it the ideal blank canvas.
That’s not to say that all blues are created equal, however. Some distinctions should be made about the many, many shades of blue available today. So we’ve organized them into three catch-all categories, and laid out what makes each different below:
Blue. The biggest dividing line in the world of blues comes down to navy vs. not navy. That’s why we're categorizing anything brighter than navy into one category: “blue.” While this covers an enormous range of shades, a common characteristic unites them all: a brighter tone means a more casual suit. This makes anything blue great for weddings, creative work places, and just plain having fun. While the warmer tone will set you apart in a sea of navy, blue remains a versatile, foundational color that can be paired with most anything. It comes with trade-offs, however: blue's more casual appeal makes it less suited for funerals and formal occasions. But it's still a sliding scale: just remember that the lighter the blue, the more casual the suit.
Mid-Navy. Mid-Navy is the perfect compromise for those stuck between a more individualistic blue suit or a classic navy. It’s a degree warmer than navy, but not so popping as a true blue. This allows it to be worn just about anywhere that a navy suit can be, while still setting itself apart from the pack. It’s just as versatile as navy, but it’s slightly warmer color makes it a great match for ties that are brightly colored, patterned, or made of more casual materials like knit silk and grenadine.
Navy. Whether it’s a blazer with gold buttons or a two-piece suit, navy is the color that gets you through every door. That’s why men often choose it for their first suit.
Just don’t make the mistake of thinking navy is boring. It’s anything but: that blank-canvas quality makes it pairable with almost every style of tie and shade of shirt. But if you’re looking for a little extra visual interest, navy lends itself well to classic suit patterns like herringbone, pinstripe and nailhead.