Style advice is something to approach with caution.
While here at Cravat Club we don’t agree with being prescriptive about fashion, it can be good to have some guidance at times. An accessory can help to elevate a suit, but the right accessory can take your look into the stratosphere, and squeeze every bit of life out of your treasured garments.
These are general guidelines of how to match your favourite suits with ease and aplomb. Some of this is self-explanatory; some colours just don’t work together. Now we’re all for breaking rules and being bold, but do watch that your accessories complement each other and don’t get in each other’s way. By the same token, a perfect match can make you look like your Dad dressed you. Choose colours that work together, as well as those that work with your outfit.
For the most part, men’s suits tend to be in fairly muted tones. There do exist some men on the planet for whom a bright coloured suit can work, but it’s definitely a bold move, and most of us are best sticking to a calmer and more reserved palette. However, the good news is that accessories are the place to work your colours in; you have plenty of scope to add some fun, wit and style to your outfit.
A Light-Mid Grey Suit
This versatile classic suits most skin tones and can look either very formal or beautifully casual, depending on the style employed. Furthermore, the pastel shade of the suit works very well with a variety of colours, giving something of a neutral backdrop to work with.
The bright reds and blues employed in our Goko cravat are a vibrant match for the more delicate shade, while the playful pastels set against the contrasting black featured in our floral Indivar silk ascot complement the light-mid grey suit shown above. For something daring, our pink and blue paisley Romain cravat would look fabulous with a grey suit, with the contrast working incredibly well.
Generally speaking, a grey suit really works well with pastel shades. For a slightly more delicate effect, our pastel pink Euan pocket square would look fantastic with a light-to-mid-grey backdrop. If, however, pink is not your speed, a blue paisley such as the Haaken would look very chic indeed.
A Dark Grey Suit
This more serious and grown-up shade suggests different hues, with lighter and more natural shades working against the dominant grayscale of the outfit. Try yellows, oranges or purples to brighten up this monolithic colour.
Light cobalt blue and gold provide beautiful contrast to your dark grey suit in our Gilford printed silk cravat, with a beautiful floral pattern. The reds and oranges of our Kenji cravat would also work well here, with the Koi carp motif providing even more intrigue. The yellow and red paisley of our Bastien cravat would do wonders against the dark backdrop, while the delicate navy, yellow and white floral pattern of our Florent cravat shown in the image above also brightens up the outfit, giving it a fresher look.
A Navy Suit
A navy blue suit is a real head-turner; offering a lighter touch than one in black, the deep and rich colour can look extremely dashing, and works either on a sports jacket or a formal suit. From the nautical to the formal, we’re confident that most men can pull off a well fitted jacket in this shade, giving a classy and refined finish.
Orange is the perfect match for navy blue, being at opposite ends of the colour wheel, and our Sabor cravat turns it up a notch with a playful leopard print. Our Koi carp-print Genji takes this palette and employs it in a more muted way. For something a little more muted still, the Yuji cravat takes a cloud grey and melds it with a delicate floral pattern, for a subtle and stylish effect. Reds and yellows are also a match made in heaven for navy blue, and our Kelso silk ascot shown above, with its cardinal red and pale jasmine yellow paisley, really stands out nicely against the darker backdrop.
For your pocket, our mustard-yellow Aniki silk handkerchief provides a perfect contrast, or our Musashi red, blue and yellow Japanese samurai silk pocket square offers an alternative, but equally stylish route.
A Light Blue Suit
A light and summery shade, this suit may not work on everybody, but when it does the look can be truly spectacular. Try this look at a summer wedding or for any event where the sun is shining, and style will ooze from every pore. With a suit so striking, you may think you’d be limited with accessories, but you’d be surprised what this colour can take in its stride.
Our muted grey and orange Sho cravat, with a cranes-in-flight print, would look extremely classy next to your light blue, as would the orange paisley Roscoe. For a look that embodies confidence and swagger, try the pink and orange tones from our Hercules paisley silk cravat - it will work wonders with a light blue suit, and demonstrate impeccable style. Alternatively, the playful coloured wave pattern of the Yamato cravat featured in its deep blue background looks wonderful set against the light blue suit pictured above.
The same principles apply when choosing handkerchiefs too. A bright orange and navy Haidar pocket square is the perfect contrast and gives a powerful effect, whereas a subtle polka-dot Flint pocket square uses pastel pink and grey to give you lightness and delicacy.
A Dark Brown Suit
While at one point a dark brown suit may have been considered old-fashioned, given a few contemporary touches an outfit in this shade can look beautiful. Not only classy but modern as well, a brown suit shows daring, and is morse code to others in the room that you know what you’re doing. It does, however, need a careful hand when choosing your silks, as any colour will stand out a mile against this muted backdrop.
If you really do need colour in your life, we recommend the Seiryu cravat, with its bright greens and hot pinks framing Japanese dragons, this piece really makes a statement. Otherwise, you can stick to gentler, pastel-like pigments with our Watatsumi Japanese dragons, or our pink and blue lattice pattern Cole cravat (shown above), which will really bring out the different aspects of your suit.
A classic burgundy and gold polka-dot Dustin would set off your jacket pocket with subtle style, or if you need something that announces itself with more volume, the colours in our Aranami multiway pocket square lend themselves to being worn a number of ways with this base shade.
A Light Brown Suit
Again, a slightly difficult colour to pull off, but one that looks amazing on the right person. If you have darker skin or warmer skin tones, then try a light brown or terracotta colour to really wow a room. If you’re on the lighter side, moving away from redder tones into more sandy colours can also look extremely fetching.
This colour can also take a huge variety of complementary shades. A stronger green or blue would be the perfect addition, such as in our Kouki or our Zhixin cravat. Orange also works wonderfully with light brown, as shown with our Earl blue and orange geometric pattern silk ascot above. Pastels are also useful when pairing with light brown - try our light and airy Touma ascot tie to offset the strength of your suit.
The blue Bohai pocket square would work extremely well with a light brown suit (the cravat version of this was favoured by the late Professor Stephen Hawking), with its oceanic shades making the perfect match. For a shade that is a bit closer to home, the tan colours in the Imari square would look both subtle and coherent together.
A Tan/Stone/Ecru Suit
More a series of shades than a single colour, a light suit can be used in all kinds of contexts, and can run the gamut from light and casual, all the way to formal and stylish. A suit in these colours also gives you plenty of licence to experiment with colour choices when it comes to picking accessories. A word of advice though - going too bright will overwhelm your suit. We recommend steering towards pastel colours or darker shades to bring out the best in your chosen outfit.
A pastel green Bora cravat is a daring addition, whereas our Rimba offers a deep forest green that works very well in this landscape. The brown tones and geometric patterns of our Daniel cravat offer you another route here too, being a gentler accompaniment.
An Indiana orange pocket square is an inventive way to finish off a light-coloured suit, or if you prefer, a distinguished Rocco pocket square, with its deep blue and orange accents, works magnificently.
It goes without saying that should you disagree with our selections, or find the rules too rigid, there are others that could the job very well. It’s also true that a lot of our accessories can do double duty with more than one suit. Be creative, use your imagination, and let good taste guide you, and you can perk up any suit with the addition of one of our fine silk accessories, hand made in England.
Should you need any help with colour matching your outfit to the right cravat, tie or pocket square, or perhaps you may like some product recommendations for an upcoming occasion, please don't hesitate to contact us here. We'll do our very best to advise you on which silk accessories we think would complement your attire.