A wardrobe staple: The grey suit

The grey suit. Is it the most versatile suit in a gentleman’s wardrobe? My name is Taylor Draper of Inherent Clothier and I’m excited to share some thoughts with you on the grey suit, and its endless possibilities. The grey suit has been sported by Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Fred Astaire, and many other silver screen style icons. It’s always a safe bet, and its versatility proves a worthy purchase again and again.

Cary Grant’s Grey Flannel Suit in North by Northwest

The image above is Cary Grant’s famous grey flannel suit from Kilgour French and Stanbury on Savile Row in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Many (including Esquire) regard this suit as the best suit in cinematography history. This is no small feat, Grant’s grey suit even tops Sean Connery’s incredible grey suit in 007’s Goldfinger.

So what makes a good grey suit? For me, the color and texture of a mid-grey suit can make it or break it. The beauty of the grey suit is the minimalism it attains. However, having a solid grey with an all too subtle texture, will not lend itself well. As with most things in life, look for a great texture right in the middle. Sharkskin is one of my favorite patterns for grey suits. It’s just subtle enough not to draw attention to itself but will give sartorial credence to observers. For Spring and Summer, I really enjoy a light grey hopsack weave suit to allow the texture to speak for itself. 

For an all season grey suit you don’t want it too dark, nor too light. A dark charcoal grey suit, while amazing in its own right, will be less versatile. The amazing thing about a well colored mid-grey suit is its versatility. You can wear the jacket and trousers as separates that will enhance almost any color scheme you go with.

Our Spring/Summer Light Grey Hopsack Suit

Investing in a grey suit

I truly believe if a man can only have two suits in his wardrobe, make it a navy, and a grey suit. After you’ve found the perfect color, and pattern for your grey suit, it’s time to design the suit itself. Without going into too much detail, below is a design breakdown of what I’d suggest you look for in your grey suit:

Jacket

Shoulders – Lightly padded

Lapels – Notched

Front button style – Single breasted two buttons, or a 3 roll 2.

Chest Pocket – Standard welted

Jacket Pockets – Flap or besom

Lining – This is users choice, but I usually go for fully lined or quarter lined

Lining Fabric – Grey twill

Buttons – Grey, or charcoal grey colored buttons

Sleeve button style – 3 or 4 buttons

Trousers

Pant front – Plain front, or single pleats

Front Pockets – If you opted for besom pockets on the jacket stay with that, otherwise on-seam or standard will do

Back Pockets – Standard button up

Pant bottom – User’s choice, but no cuff is my recommendation, otherwise always do a 2″ cuff.

That covers my design suggestions for a versatile grey suit. If you have any questions of comments let’s start a discussion in the comment section of this post. I’ll be sure to do a follow up on ways to wear a grey suit in another post.