Every man should own at least one basic suit--preferably blue or gray--for appropriate situations


October 18, 1990|By Lois Fenton

Q:--I am in a service industry (bus driver) and wear uniform-type clothing for my work. For most social occasions, a tweed jacket with trousers is OK, or for slightly dressier occasions, I own a blue blazer and gray slacks. I am 40 years old and have never owned a suit, never really needed one. However, I'd like to own one good suit for that possible really special occasion. I've decided on the traditional single-breasted, non-trendy, business cut, in 100 percent wool.

For the one-suit man, would you recommend plain navy, navy pinstripe, plain gray (dark), plain gray

(light), or pinstripe gray (dark), pinstripe gray (light)? Oh, and is three-button truly more proper (as Southwick implies) or two-button?

A:-- I agree with you: Every man should own one nice suit for those times when even a navy blue blazer just does not cut it. Even men who don't need to wear a suit for work do have important occasions to dress for.

As to which is the best choice: I have two possible alternatives. The most versatile suit is a medium-to-dark or dark, solid gray, light-weight 100 percent wool. "Dark," because light-color suits are not so elegant, thus, defeating exactly what you are trying to achieve. "Light-weight," because it works year-round. "Plain," rather than pinstriped because it is easier to coordinate handsome striped shirts and patterned ties with a solid suit. "Gray," rather than navy because it is a shade less formal. If you are not used to wearing suits, you might feel overdressed in a navy suit. Almost every color shirt and tie works with a gray suit.

If you don't look good in gray my hearty recommendation is a solid navy suit. Everyone looks great -- debonair and slim -- in some shade of dark blue. Wear a blue suit with pale-colored or striped shirts for semi-dressy events. And nothing is more "correct" for very special evenings than a well-cut dark blue suit, white shirt, and --ing tie.

Your choice of traditional, single-breasted styling is perfect. Invest in a two-button model for years of confident wear.

Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.

Ms. Fenton, the author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for Fortune 500 companies around the country.

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