When preparing for a job interview, one of the key decisions is choosing what to wear. For men, this often comes down to selecting the right suit. While professional attire is important for leaving a good impression, the specific color of your suit can also influence how the interviewer perceives you. So which color suit is best for an interview? The most common and safe option is to go with a navy or charcoal suit. However, other colors like gray, black, and even brown can also work well depending on the industry and type of job.
In this article, we’ll break down the benefits and drawbacks of different suit colors so you can make an informed decision for your next interview attire. We’ll also provide tips on how to coordinate the rest of your outfit once you choose a suit color.
The Most Versatile: Navy Blue Suits
A navy blue suit is considered the most traditional and versatile option for an interview. The dark blue color lends a sense of professionalism and trustworthiness. It’s also easy to pair with various shirt and tie combinations. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a navy suit for a job interview:
- Projects competence and reliability. The navy color conveys a responsible and dependable image.
- Works for most industries. Unlike bolder colors like gray or brown, navy suits are fitting for interviews in traditionally conservative fields like law, finance, and corporate business.
- Timeless and stylish. A navy suit will always be in fashion and appropriate. The color also flatters most skin tones.
- Flexible pairing options. A navy jacket and pants can be easily coordinated with shirts in white, light blue, or other pale colors. Ties in red, yellow, blue, or geometric patterns are all suitable options.
When shopping for a navy interview suit, aim for a dark shade like midnight navy over lighter variants like sailing navy. Stay away from enhancing fabrics like sheens or patterns, which can come across overly flashy. Stick with solids or subtle pinstripes or chalk stripes for best results. Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with the versatility and timeless appeal of a navy suit.
The Traditional Choice: Charcoal Gray Suits
Similar to navy, charcoal gray is an excellent choice when selecting an interview suit. It’s right behind navy as the top choice recommended by most career experts. Here’s an overview of charcoal gray suit benefits:
- Understated elegance. Charcoal gray projects sophistication without being overly bold.
- Softens features. The lighter shade can help flatter and subtlety balance out sharper facial features.
- okay for creative fields. While still neutral, charcoal gray suits are acceptable for interviews in creative industries like advertising or media where bolder colors may also work.
- Easy to match. Like navy suits, charcoal pairs well with white, blue, and pink shirts, along with solid or striped ties.
Charcoal suits are best in a medium to lighter shade of gray. Stay away from darker grays that border on black, which can look dull or harsh under some lighting. For texture, subtle pinstripes, nailheads, or herringbone weaves work well. But avoid heavily patterned or reflective fabric. Overall, a charcoal suit is a sound investment for job interviews across many industries.
Making a Statement: Light Gray Suits
While still neutral, a light gray suit is inherently more eye-catching than traditional navy or charcoal. Depending on the specific shade, a light gray suit can convey youthfulness, creativity, and modernity. Some benefits of light gray suits include:
- Stands out. A light gray color will make you immediately noticeable and memorable when most candidates wear dark suits.
- Projects friendliness. Light gray can suggest openness and approachability.
- Appeals to youthfulness. The lighter color has a more modern, youthful vibe compared to darker grays.
- Works in creative fields. Light gray suits are especially fitting for interviews in design, marketing, technology, and media.
Aim for a pale, neutral gray without any yellowish or blueish tints. Pair with similarly light colors like baby blue shirts and simple silver ties without loud patterns. While light gray suits can work across many industries, stay on the conservative side for banking, law, and other formal sectors.
Bold Yet Sophisticated: Black Suits
A black suit projects authority, power, and sophistication. It’s an intentionally bold choice that demands attention and respect when worn properly. Consider these attributes of wearing a black suit to an interview:
- Conveys confidence. The commanding color makes a statement that you are poised and sure of yourself.
- Sophisticated and prestigious. Solid black is linked with luxury, wealth, and exclusivity.
- Eye-catching and memorable. You will stand out immediately in a sea of navy and gray suits.
- Dramatic contrast. The dark color allows white or lightly colored shirts and ties to really pop.
Stick with pitch black suits with a subtle sheen. Avoid flat or washed-out variations that can look cheap. Pair with a crisply pressed white shirt and simple red or silver-colored tie for best effect. Limit black suits to nighttime or evening interviews where the environment is more formal.
The Safe Yet Stylish Pick: Brown Suits
Traditionally, brown suits were considered too casual for formal business situations. But modern brown suits in dark shades like chocolate or cocoa can convey professionalism and style. Consider some upsides to brown suits:
- Refined and authoritative. Dark brown still projects competence and expertise compared to light tans.
- Distinguished and confident. Brown suits can lend an air of experience and wisdom.
- Versatile pairing options. Brown jackets coordinate well with lighter shirts and bold ties for a stylish look.
- Less common than navy or gray. Standing out while still looking sharp and professional.
Aim for a rich medium-to-dark brown shade without red or orange undertones. Stick with solids or subtle pinstripes rather than loud plaids or patterns. Pair brown suits with pastel shirts and ties with blue, purple, or green undertones. While brown suits work year-round, they are especially great for fall and winter seasons.
Key Considerations by Industry
While the context of the specific job and company should always determine appropriate interview attire, some industries tend to be more conservative or formal. When in doubt, traditional navy and charcoal suits are your safest bet. Here are some general guidelines on colors for different industries:
Finance and Banking
Navy and charcoal suits are universally fitting here. Stay away from trendier colors like brown or lighter grays.
Navy, charcoal, and even black suits convey the formality and prestige expected at law firms.
Navy is traditional, while medium grays offer a more modern feel suitable for tech.
Along with navy suits, this field has more flexibility for gray, brown, and even patterns or textures.
Navy and charcoal remain standards for interviews, while black is also viewed as prestigious and respected.
How to Accentuate Your Suit
Once you’ve selected the right suit color, it’s important to coordinate the rest of your outfit accordingly. Here are some tips on shirts, ties, and accessories based on different suit colors:
With a navy suit:
– White or light blue shirt
– Red, navy, or silver tie
– Black or brown leather belt and shoes
With a charcoal suit:
– Light blue or pink shirt
– Red or blue patterned tie
– Black leather belt and shoes
With a light gray suit:
– Light blue or white shirt
– Purple or green tie
– Brown belt and brown or burgundy shoes
With a black suit:
– White shirt
– Silver or red tie
– Black belt and shoes
With a brown suit:
– Light blue or pink shirt
– Tie with green, gold, or blue
– Brown leather belt and shoes
Avoid black shirts, which can look too harsh or heavy with suits. Similarly, stray from loud novelty ties and focus on Traditional stripes, dots, or simple patterns. Well-polished leather dress shoes in black or brown are perfect for all suit colors.
The essentials to remember when selecting an interview suit include:
- Navy and charcoal suits are universally professional choices.
- Consider lighter gray or brown suits for a stylish yet still formal impression.
- Black suits project confidence and authority when appropriately paired.
- Match suit color with complementary shirt and tie hues.
- Focus on traditional patterns and materials like wool suiting.
- The industry and specific job role should inform what colors are most fitting.
With these tips in mind, you can confidently choose an interview suit color that makes the right impression for any professional situation. Focus on projecting confidence and competence, rather than trying overly bold or distracting color statements. Pay attention to the company culture and nature of the role when making your final decision for the optimal interview attire.
Choosing the right suit color for an interview comes down to strategically balancing professionalism, style, and personal preference. While no color is necessarily always “best”, the traditional standards of navy and charcoal gray are universally acceptable. Moving beyond those into lighter grays, brown, or black suits can provide stylish differentiation when appropriate for the situation. Avoid overly trendy colors and loud patterns or textures.
The key is keeping suit colors and pairings versatile and sophisticated. Well-fitting solids or subtle pinstripes project confidence and competence. Concentrate efforts instead on meticulous tailoring and grooming to really make an impression. With some strategic consideration of the industry and role, the right suit color can become an asset in the interview process rather than a distraction. Use color tastefully to round out your professional appearance and make you stand out for the right reasons.
|Navy||Versatile, professional, timeless||Finance, law, corporate|
|Charcoal Gray||Sophisticated, refined, subtle||Law, finance, business|
|Light Gray||Modern, approachable, memorable||Tech, creative, media|
|Black||Bold, authoritative, prestigious||Law, finance, healthcare|
|Brown||Confident, refined, stylish||Business, creative, tech|