Mastering The Navy Suit
When reflecting on style staples of the 21st century, it would be remiss to leave out the humble navy suit.Understated, adaptable and elegant as any, this men’s suiting must-have is obligatory for any gent worth his salt.
Worn by style icons as diverse as David Beckham, Justin Trudeau and Harvey Specter, the navy suit is marked by its versatility. Easy to dress up in a corporate setting or made casual as a sports jacket, it’s a chameleon piece that will hold you in good stead, regardless of the occasion.
However, as with many staples, the devil is in the details and it’s the little things that can help your take on a navy suit pull away from the pack. Concentrating on fabric, fit and styling, Oscar Hunt can show you how to put your best foot forward.
Choosing The Perfect Navy Suit
For the everyday shopper, you’d be forgiven for becoming quickly overwhelmed by the sheer range of navy suiting on offer. Easily the most popular colour for men’s suiting in Australia, it’s a ubiquitous item and every men’s clothier will have at least one version.
But where to start?
The benefit of made-to-measure versus off the rack is that you’ll have a co-captain steering you through the process, assisting in the selection of fabric and fit so you can achieve the perfect garment for you and your needs.
At Oscar Hunt, we’ll help you understand the difference between sharkskin and pin-dot, French navy and midnight blue – in short, we’ll help navigate the sometimes impermeable jargon and mystique that surrounds men’s suiting.
Occasion and frequency of wear are good places to start when it comes to selecting fabric and fit. If this is going to be a hard-wearing work suit, it’s better to choose slightly more coarse fabrics that are more durable. In a similar vein, you may wish to adopt a more subtle style if the suit needs to be more corporate and less cocktail soirée.
From here, think about patterns and style details. These are the little things that will make the suit distinctly you. When selecting patterns, consider how versatile you need the suit to be. Even if you’re going for a timeless look, subtle checks or window-panes can really break up the standard suit and add an interesting point of difference.
Dressing Up A Navy Suit
At Oscar Hunt, we live by the rule of keeping things simple – even if you’re dressing up. Pairing a classic navy mohair suit with a crisp white shirt and tie is a good jumping off point. Look at quality shirting, focusing on details like a French cuff and semi or full cut away collars. Experimenting with thicker shirt fabrics – think cotton with a sateen finish – will help further elevate your ensemble.
Finishing touches are equally important when taking out your navy suit for a more formal turn. Look for classic silk ties from the likes of Biagio Santo that add a luxurious element to this otherwise corporate outfit and consider adding a complementary (but never matching) pocket square to top it all off. Brown, burgundy and blue all look terrific against a navy base but don’t be afraid to break them up with patterns like dots or floral motifs for a more distinguished end result.
When it comes to footwear, you can’t go past a smart black or dark brown Oxford or a penny loafer. Look at classic options from the likes of Cordwainer. These are well worth the initial investment and will last for years to come.
The beauty of wearing a navy suit formally is that it is a catch-all for most dress codes (black-tie excepted). Suitable for weddings, formal dinners and any other major event, it’s an excellent foundational piece for any wardrobe.
Dressing Down A Navy Suit
Just as a navy suit can be easily elevated for more formal occasions, so too can it be dressed down for more casual affairs. Whether you’re heading to after work drinks or you’re off to a laid-back cocktail party, a navy suit will be equally at home at either.
A crisp open necked shirt with a starchy collar and a navy suit reeks of laid-back elegance. Pair this with a pocket square for a pop of colour and you’re set for wherever an evening may take you. Accessories like lapel pins can further freshen up your suit and help distinguish it from the humdrum of the work day.
If, on the other hand, the formality of a 2 piece ensemble is not required, look at splitting your suit, using a navy silk jacket as a sports blazer and pairing it with pale coloured chinos. A go-to option at Oscar Hunt is cotton trousers in beige topped off with a pale-blue poplin shirt.
Wearing this mix and match ensemble lends itself to a more casual style of footwear too. Don’t be afraid to go sockless with a pair of brown penny loafers or even a crisp pair of white sneakers. This adds a youthful element to your outfit and stops it from becoming too preppy.
If you’re anything like most gents, a navy suit is going to be on high rotation in your wardrobe. This being the case, care and maintenance is of utmost important.
The most common mistake we see is people dry-cleaning too regularly. While it depends on your chosen cleaner, many use heat and chemicals that weaken the fabric fibres and therefore lead to faster wear out.
The Oscar Hunt recommendation is to reduce regular dry cleaning by instead hanging your suit while you shower. Steam will help creases drop out naturally and spot cleaning should cover anything except the most disastrous red-wine stains. Investing in a horse-hair fabric brush is also a great way to freshen up your suit without compromising its life span.
Finally, if this is going to be a wardrobe workhorse that gets wheeled out a few times per week, seriously consider investing in a second pair of trousers. Suit pants wear out much faster than their jacket counterparts so purchasing a second pair upfront evens out the overall durability of the suit.