The Appropriate Colors of Business Wear

A professional businessman in today’s world has quite a bit more flexibility when it comes to fashion options than in days past. However, quality professionalism comes with an inherent responsibility to represent one’s business well and confidently. Certain styles and colors convey this better than others. When building a business savvy power wardrobe, it is important that each article of clothing serves a purpose and sends an appropriate message.

The traditional wardrobe of any business professional must begin with a gray, charcoal or navy blue suit.

• The sleek, black suit is for the hired-powered executive or lawyer and a quality power suit will cost more than an entry-level position pays. It is important to dress according to one’s position and not above it so as to avoid offending one’s superiors.

• A charcoal suit inspires a feeling of trustworthiness in one’s bosses, colleague and customer. Dress up a charcoal suit with a French blue shirt and classic-style tie.

• A navy blue suit can be an asset in a boardroom or when attending meetings with superiors. Navy or dark blue suits convey a take charge attitude and illicit a sense of stability in the work place.

• Employers typically get a sense of loyalty and steadfastness from the businessman in a comfortable gray suit. However, gray needs to be well paired in order to avoid giving a passive impression. Gray suits go best with light blue or lavender dress shirts.

Once the foundation of a good wardrobe has been set, the next step is to increase that wardrobe without depleting one’s budget. Doing so requires a bit of finesse and a whole lot of ties. Ties are a less expensive way of creating versatility in a man’s wardrobe rather than purchasing an entire garrison of suits. However, not just any tie will do.

• Begin with a few silk ties in traditional colors such as black, gray and blue as well as a nice array of patterns.

• Don’t go too bold or too aggressive. Stay away from solid red or anything too bright.

• Ties in neon colors are not appropriate in the professional workplace.

• Traditional patterns include paisley, stripe and check, not to be confused with checkerboard.

• Cartoon patterns are also not appropriate on a tie. (Save those for the socks.)

• Ties are meant to stand out and, therefore, need to be darker than the man’s shirt.

• Red is a passionate, but also very aggressive color. IT must be worn in moderation and the best way to incorporate it into the wardrobe is with a tie. A deep red tie can add a dramatic flair without taking away from the polish of a well-tailored power suit.


Gentlemen who have wish to make a masterful impression on colleagues and clients alike must know how to speak the language of color well. Knowing which message each color sends best, is advantageous when brokering deals or attempting to convey enthusiasm or confidence. Some colors, like orange and yellow, can be energizing and encourage enthusiasm but must be worn as accents and in moderation to avoid overwhelming people. Deep colors, such as purple and dark shades of green, have magical and luxurious qualities to them. However, these are best as accent colors as well.


Professional business wear must never be flashy or overdone. It is the classic, top-notch dresser who will earn the respect of clientele and coworkers alike, not the pseudo-hippie in flip-flips and a Baja or the super-hipster wearing khakis and chukkas. Putting one’s best foot forward requires dressing that foot well too. Investing in great shoes will be the icing of the proverbial cake.


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