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Four ways to wear a navy suit

Four ways to wear a navy suit

If you only have one suit in your wardrobe, your best bet is probably navy. The shade isn’t as stuffy as grey nor as funereal as black, which makes for the kind of tailoring that you can wear for more than just work and weddings. In fact, pick the right style and you can wear the jacket as a blazer and the trousers with anything from a cardigan to a denim jacket. Which is all good news for your cost-per-wear calculations.

Deciding which kind that is, however, is less straightforward. “As there’s so much choice on offer, think simple,” says Thread stylist Millie Rich. “A single-breasted, two-button wool suit will cater to most events, especially in a slim or regular fit. It’s classic enough to stay stylish for years, but flexible enough to give you options.”

For a job interview

Job interview suit

Photographed: Reiss suit (£425); Reiss shirt (£95); T.M Lewin shoes (£149); Hammond & Co. tie (£20); Reiss square (£30)

The outfit: Two-piece navy suit, white shirt, striped tie, pocket square and Oxford shoes.

Why it works: A navy suit is less sober than black or grey, but still sensible enough to impress. It's the shade that shows you've got some character. “Suits needn’t be boring, and the right accessories can liven up the simplest of looks,” says Millie.

“The patterned tie and pocket square complement one another and tie in to the palette of the jacket and trousers, which makes the whole look feel consistent. By anchoring it with something really traditional, like black leather lace-up Oxford shoes, you keep the outfit on the right side of classic.”

For a drinks party

A suit for a drinks party

Photographed: Reiss suit (£425); J by Jasper Conran rollneck (£50); Grenson boots (£435 for similar); Reiss pocket square (£35)

The outfit: Two-piece navy suit, black rollneck, patterned pocket square, lace-up leather boots.

Why it works: Smart-casual is a notoriously tricky dress code, but a navy suit makes getting it right much easier. Simply switch out the classics for more comfortable alternatives.

“The rollneck is is still refined, but less obvious than a shirt and tie,” says Millie. “Cashmere or merino is perfect for smarter events and a chunkier knit works well for more casual looks.” To balance out your top half, take your shoes down a notch as well. “Brogue boots adds a modern kick and will protect you from adverse weather, without the need for bulky layering.”

For a creative office

Suit for a creative office

Photographed: Reiss suit (£425); Reiss polo shirt (£95); Oliver Sweeney brogues (£199)

The outfit Two-piece navy suit, long sleeved knitted polo, brown Derby shoes.

Why it works: When you don’t have to wear a suit to the office, wearing one in a slightly different way can make a big impact. By taking away all the formal accoutrements, you show you’ve got the creativity to experiment with dress codes

“The knitted polo takes the suit down without losing smartness,” says Millie. “A grandad collared shirt would do the same job just as well.” Because you’re already playing with expectations, don’t do the same with your colour palette. “Grey has always been a go-to shade with navy. It adds depth by keeping to a tonal colour scheme throughout the outfit.”

For a date

Suit for a date

Photographed: Reiss suit (£425); MVP sweatshirt (£24); Grenson trainers (£150 for similar)

The outfit Two-piece navy suit, white minimal sneakers, grey jumper.

Why it works: When you want to look like you’ve made an effort – but not too much of an effort – pair staple tailoring with lesser-spotted accessories. “Suits are getting more and more relaxed, so they’re now much easier to wear with laidback pieces,” says Millie.

That doesn’t mean all versions get the green light, though. Something unstructured feels relaxed and sits better over a jumper. “Avoid sharp shoulders or shiny fabrics,” says Millie. “These are at odds with more casual pieces and the clash will distort your look.” Just make sure to keep the look monochrome. Nothing should distract from your conversation.