Men's Gray & Navy Suits - The Ultimate Guide

A classic, well-fitting suit is to women what lingerie is to men. Read that sentence again.

If you’re over the age of 15 years old and don’t already own a two-button gray or navy suit, we have to rectify this.


Every man needs a good suit in his wardrobe. However, you have to to nail all the little details, because when it comes to suits, it's all about the details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I break my suit up into separates?

My suggestion, for now, is to avoid breaking this suit up unless you really understand fabric weights and texture pairings.

I see a lot of sites saying that a gray or navy suit is great because you can break it up – by wearing the pants and jacket separately with other pieces – like jeans.

While this can work sometimes, in my experience, pairing suit items with other non-suit clothing, like jeans, looks great on camera, but really weird in person if the fabric is too lightweight. You should really know what you’re doing to pull this off. If there’s any doubt, go without.

What is the difference between a bespoke, made-to-measure, and ready-to-wear suit?

A bespoke suit is the highest level of custom tailoring and involves creating a suit from scratch based on your measurements and preferences.

A made-to-measure suit, on the other hand, starts with a pre-existing pattern but is adjusted to fit your specific needs.

Ready-to-wear suits are mass-produced (and more affordable) options that are available in standard sizing and designs. They're made in bulk and come in a range of different sizes.

What is a 'notch lapel'?

I've answered this in the 'What is a Notch Lapel?' section below.

How many buttons should my suit jacket have?

Two buttons, nothing more, nothing less.

Sometimes you’ll see 3-button suits and 1-button suits, but trust me, you NEED a 2-button suit because it never goes out of style, every other variety will come and go as fashion dictates.

What type of vent should my suit jacket have?

A double vent is best, but if you have to, go for a single-vent option.

Never go for a suit jacket with no vent.

You can learn more about this in the 'Anatomy of a Suit' section later in the article.

Suit Mistakes Most Men Make

As I said in the intro, nailing the look of a suit is all in the details, so as you can imagine there are a lot of guys out there who get it wrong.

Make sure you avoid these (very common) mistakes:

  • Breaking into separates.
    Unless you really understand fabric weights and texture pairings, then avoid breaking up your suit into separate pieces. The majority of men cannot pull this off.

  • Messing up the fit.
    When it comes to suiting, the biggest issue always is the fit. Most guys are wearing suits that are either too baggy or too tight.

  • Going for the wrong shade of gray or blue. So many men think they can get a suit that is any shade of gray or blue and this will suffice. They are wrong. See the 'Colors' section below for more info.

  • Going for too few or too many buttons.
    Two buttons. No more, no less.

Want to see all the mistakes to avoid specifically for your age, height, body type, and skin tone? Check out our Essential Wardrobe App.

Anatomy of a Suit

Here are some of the key things to look out for when shopping for your next suit:


  • This is the measurement that should dictate the size of the suit jacket you buy.

  • You want the shoulder seam of the jacket to line up exactly with where your shoulder bone starts to curve down towards your arm.

    • There should be no divots or pulling in the fabric.

  • If the shoulders are too big or small, a tailor will have a hard time fixing this, and it will be very expensive (if it's even possible), so ensure they fit properly when buying your suit. 


  • Different suit jackets come with different types of lapels.

  • You always want to go for a 'notch' lapel.

    • It’s the style of lapel that has a little “notch” on each side of the lapel.

    • This is the most timeless and classic version.

  • A peak lapel is very aggressive and doesn’t work on everybody, and a shawl lapel should never be part of a suit.

  • Remember that the width of your lapel should correspond with the width of your tie.

    • Make sure your lapel is neither too wide nor too slim.

Breast Pocket

  • Your suit jacket should only have one breast pocket, located beside the left jacket lapel.


  • The armholes of your suit jacket should be high but not so high that they dig into your armpit.

    • If they are too low, your whole suit will move when you stick your arm out.

  • You shouldn't be able to lift your arms to or past parallel to the ground - if you can, then the cut of the armholes is too loose.

    • A suit is not designed to be worn doing anything strenuous or any activity requiring you to raise your arms higher than this, so don't assume fitted shoulders or arms are bad.


  • The sleeve of your jacket should fit comfortably over your shirt sleeve worn underneath without being overly loose or tight.

Button Stance

  • The button stance measures the placement of the buttons on the front of a jacket.

  • Only ever go for a two-button suit jacket.

  • The jacket’s top button should lie just above your belly button, never below.

  • Never button the bottom button.

    • Also, always unbutton the top button when sitting down.

  • With the top button fastened, the suit jacket should lightly hug your midsection, without feeling too tight or constricting.

    • If, when buttoned, the jacket pulls at the button to create an 'X' shape, the jacket is too small.

Pant Waist

  • The waist of your pants should sit comfortably at your hips, not over them or below them.

  • There should be no need for a belt to keep them up.

    • However, make sure they're not too tight, or this can be both uncomfortable and lead to an unsightly 'muffin-top' look.

Jacket Length

  • The length of your suit jacket will dictate how proportional the upper half of your body is to your lower body.

    • Mess up the length of the jacket and the whole suit will look off.

  • The suit jacket should end around the mid-crotch area if you’re under 5’9” (1.75m) tall or the mid-to-low crotch area if you’re taller than that.

  • A tailor can shorten your jacket up to an inch without messing up its proportions, but they can never lengthen your jacket.

    • Overall, you generally want this part to already be perfect when you’re buying a suit, even off the rack.

Sleeve Length

  • Many people recommend that the cuff of your jacket sleeve should hit the top of your hand, but that is incorrect.

  • When you bend your wrist (so your palms are facing the ground), the jacket sleeves should end about 0.5-0.75 inches (1.25-2cm) above the top of your hand (around the bump on the pinky side of your hand).

    • This length allows for a little bit of your shirt sleeve to peek through.

  • If your jacket sleeves are longer, a tailor can easily fix them. If they’re shorter by more than 1.5 inches (4cm), then ditch the jacket.

    • There’s probably not enough fabric in the sleeves for your tailor to lengthen them.

Pant Rise

Thanks to the guys at Primer Magazine for this handy infographic.
  • The ‘rise’ of your pants is the total length of fabric traveling from the front hem to the back hem.

    • This determines how they will sit on your body.

  • For your suit pants, a classic mid-rise will leave the waistband sitting at the mid-to-high hip level (just below your belly button).

    • Your waistband should be snug enough that your pants stay up without the need for a belt.

  • If your rise is too short, then you may notice a tugging ("wedgie”) effect.

    • This pulling is coming from the back because the waist of the pants is sitting too low.

  • If your rise is too long, then the opposite of this would happen, and the crotch of your pants is hanging too low.


  • You want to be able to pinch around 1 inch (2.5cm) of fabric on either side of your thigh.

    • This way, the fabric will fall close to your silhouette and drape naturally without clinging to it.

  • If it’s less than that, or the pants feel like they'll split around the butt area, they're too tight.

  • If it’s more, ask your tailor if they can fix the seat and slim the legs so you can pinch the right amount around your thighs. The seat and thighs of the pants are tied together in this way.

Pant Hem

  • Suit pants are intentionally cut long so that they can be altered by a tailor.

    • They will rarely fit well off the rack.

  • Always default to having your suit pants hemmed to leave a slight break.

    • This always looks more polished and sharper than a full break.

  • No break at the hem doesn't always look great and is not generally recommended for everyday wear.


  • The collar should rest against your shirt collar, which in turn should rest against the back of your neck.

  • All of these should touch lightly, without significant gaps in between. If there’s a gap, it’s too loose.

  • If there’s bunching just under the back of the jacket collar, it’s too tight or the stance of the jacket is off.


  • The chest area of your jacket should fit close to your torso and not have an overly boxy shape.

  • There should be no folding or rippling in the fabric.


  • A vent is a vertical slit rising from the bottom hem of a jacket, that allows for easier movement.

  • Ideally, you’ll want to go with a double vent.

    • This style of vent has been around for quite a while and is flattering on every body type.

  • With that being said, a single vent is not a terrible option, but it’s definitely second in my book.

  • Just make sure that, no matter what, you never go with a suit jacket with no vent.

Sleeve Buttons

  • Most suit jackets feature decorative (non-functional) sleeve buttons.

  • These allow the sleeves of the jacket to fit as many arm sizes as possible.

    • If the buttons were functional, it would be exceedingly difficult to adjust the length of the sleeve for different arms.

  • When choosing the number, I'd recommend going for a four-button sleeve, as this is the classic option.

    • Three-button sleeves have a more casual look, which is not what we want for our suits.

Pant Seat

  • The seat of your pants is essentially the area your butt sits on.

  • The fabric should lie naturally against your butt, and become narrower towards the top (near your waist) and at the bottom (close to your thighs).

    • Make sure that the seat of your pants isn't too saggy or overly tight.

  • To make sure your seat is the right size, you can try putting your hands in the front pockets and pulling the fabric away from your body.

    • Your hands should fit comfortably, but if you’re able to extend the space any more than one inch (2.5cm), the seat is too loose.

    • If you can't easily zip up the fly or feel pulling around your butt/crotch when walking the seat is too tight.



  • When choosing a gray suit, go for a neutral and medium or dark charcoal shade.

  • This is the most neutral and versatile color, works for every occasion, and is the perfect blank canvas for assembling the rest of your outfit

    • Avoid going for lighter grays, as these never look as good.

  • If you want a blue suit, a nice dark navy is the perfect color.

    • Stay away from other shades like royal blue or baby blue as these never look as good.


Wool or Wool-Blended Fabrics

  • It is advisable that your suit is crafted from one of these materials.

    • These will last much longer than non-wool or polyester blends.

    • Also, they just look better and will be more comfortable.

  • It is super important that your suit fabric doesn't have too much of a sheen or shine to it.

    • You can always tell a cheap (or tacky) suit by how shiny it is.

    • While suit shopping, don't be afraid to compare materials to see which ones are more matte (less shiny) than others.

    • If someone is helping you to pick out a suit, tell them you don't want any sheen to the fabric.

Suit Sizing Guide

Suit Jacket Sizing

You've probably noticed that when it comes to your suit jackets (and blazers and sports coats), the sizing differs from the other items in your wardrobe.

Rather than displaying a measurement based on the size of your general frame (S, M, L), the label of your suit jacket will display a double-digit number followed by a letter (for example, 38R).

This measurement contains two different pieces of information:

  • Number = the chest size of the jacket (in inches)

    • This will usually be an even number between 34 and 52.

  • Letter = the length of the jacket

    • These typically come in short (S), regular (R), and long (L).

      • Usually, these lengths correspond with your overall height, and you can almost always figure out which size you are depending on how tall you are.

        • Men who are 5’7” (1.7m) or shorter with a chest measurement between 36-46 will need a short (S).

        • Men who are 5'7”-6’1” (1.7-1.85m) with chest measurements between 36-54 will need a regular (R).

        • Men 6'2" (1.88m) and taller will almost always need a long (L).

That said, each brand will size its suit jackets differently, so it's important to try on your jacket in the store whenever possible.

Suit Pants Sizing

  • Unlike jeans or chinos, which typically display the waist size and the length of the inseam (leg), suit pants usually only provide the waist size.

    • This is because the legs are traditionally not supposed to fit 'off the rack', but rather are designed to be hemmed by a tailor to the correct length.

    • This also means that it's much more important to get the waist size right than the inseam.

  • More often than not, suit pant waist sizes tend to come in even sizing (32, 34, 36, etc.). If an inseam is offered, it will typically be an even size as well.

How a Suit Should Fit

  1. The collar should rest against your shirt collar, which in turn should rest against the back of your neck.

  2. You want the shoulder seams of the jacket to end at the end of your shoulders.
    They should lay perfectly flat, with no divots, wrinkling, or pulling.

  3. With the top button fastened (never the bottom button), the jacket should lightly hug your midsection, without feeling too tight or constricting.

  4. When you bend your wrist (so that your palms are facing the ground), the jacket sleeves (not shirt sleeves) should end about 0.75 inches (2cm) above the top of your hand.

  5. The jacket should end around the mid-crotch area if you’re under 5’9” (1.75m) or if taller than that, it should end mid-to-lower crotch, all the way to just about where the ^ of your pants start.
    Longer is more traditional, shorter more modern, but both are acceptable if you're on the taller side.

  6. You want to be able to pinch around 1 inch (2.5cm) of fabric on either side of your thigh.

  7. Always default to having your suit pants hemmed to leave a slight break.

Want to see how your suit should fit specifically for your age, height, body type, and skin tone?

Suit Accessories

  • When it comes to adding accessories to your suit, you always want to adopt a 'less is more' approach.

    • Going for too many pieces or opting for brighter colors or overelaborate patterns will only steal focus from the rest of your outfit.

  • However, there are certain accessories that always look great when worn with a suit. Some of my personal favorites include:

    • A tie

    • A tie clip

    • A pocket square

    • Sunglasses

    • A watch

How To Match Your Accessories To Your Suit

Matching your accessories to your suit is something of an art form, and there are a few key things you need to consider, depending on the type of accessory:


  • Have a similar color in your tie (not exact, just a similar shade) to any other color you’re wearing in your outfit (outside of your dress shirt).

    • Navy suit = blue tie

    • Gray suit = blue or black tie, depending on the shoes you're wearing.

      • Brown shoes = blue or brown tie

      • Black shoes = black tie (always)

Tie Clip

  • There are two methods for adding a tie clip to your suit-and-tie outfit.

    • 1. The 'OG' approach.

      • This is the tried and true classic way to wear a tie clip.

      • Your tie clip will be placed lower down on your tie (which will prevent your tie from moving as much).

      • With your blazer on, attach your tie clip about two to three shirt buttons lower than the breast pocket of your jacket.

      • It should just barely be visible when buttoning the top button of your jacket. If you need to, move it up so you see a hint of it.

      • This is a more utilitarian use of your tie clip without it showing too much.

    • 2. The 'Modern' approach.

      • The modern approach is definitely one to try if you want to show off the accessory a bit more.

      • Attach your tie clip slightly below your breast pocket; about 0.5 inches (1.25 cm).

        • Be careful; any higher and it’ll look off.

Pocket Square

  • The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to match your pocket square to the color of your shirt.

  • 'Matching' doesn't mean perfectly matching. It means choosing a shade from the same color family.

    • Have a white or blue shirt? Wear a plain white pocket square or one with gray or navy tipping.

    • Light blue shirt with a gray suit? Wear a navy-tipped pocket square.

  • You will never go wrong with this formula (as long as you’re not wearing a dress shirt with stripes, contrasting collars, or bold-colored shirts like red or orange).

    Solid-Colored Tie (But Not Black)

    • Here you can choose a pocket square that has a similar (but not exact) color in the tipping or pattern to the color of your tie.

    • Alternatively, you can match your pocket square to the color of your dress shirt.

      • It doesn’t need to be perfectly matching, just a similar shade of the same color.

      • That will keep a nice contrast between the items you’re wearing.

    Patterned Tie

    • Find a color in the tie and choose a pocket square (either the tipping, the pattern, or the solid color) featuring a similar shade.

    • It doesn’t need to match perfectly, but it should have a similar shade to your tie.

      • If you’re wearing a blue tie, have a blue shade in your pocket square.

    Going Tie-Less

    • Always match your pocket square to your shirt color.

      • If wearing a blue suit and white dress shirt, then wear a white pocket square.

      • If wearing a gray suit and blue shirt, then go with a pocket square with some navy in it (patterned or tipped).


  • You should only ever be wearing black or brown (preferably Oxford) dress shoes with your suit.

  • Whichever pair you go for, make sure that you keep your accessories the same color and fabric.


  • Let your shoes dictate the color of your sunglasses.

  • Black:

    • Black sunglasses always work best with black shoes or with other black/gray items in your outfit.

    • They also work particularly well during the cold-weather months.

  • Brown:

    • Brown sunglasses always go with brown shoes or white sneakers.

    • They also work any time you’re wearing blue pants or shirts.

Belt and Watch

  • Like your sunglasses, the simple rule for pairing with outfits is to let your shoes dictate the color of your belt or your watch strap:

  • Remember that cufflinks are not designed for your suit jacket, they are designed for your dress shirt worn underneath.

  • I would always recommend choosing gold or silver cufflinks and matching them with the other metals in your outfit, like in your belt or watch strap.

Outfit Ideas

Gray Suit
Red Patterned Tie
White Dress Shirt
Dark Brown Dress Shoes

You can easily wear a black, gray, or navy tie with this outfit, so don't race out and get a red tie. The shoes can also be brown or black, but make sure you match your watch strap and belt color to that of your footwear.

Want to see more ways you can wear a suit for different occasions?

Navy Suit
Navy Tie
White Dress Shirt
Brown Oxford Shoes

Matching a navy tie with a navy suit is absolutely allowed if you're wearing brown shoes. Maybe ditch the pocket square and always make sure that you're matching your belt and watch strap to the fabric of your shoes.

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