phyrpowr

Honors Member
To be the bodyguard you have to not only wear a black suit but sunglasses and carry a suspiciously heavy violin case. And wear a white tie!
Nah, that's the gunsel; and the suit needs chalk stripes and a '32 Packard. I was thinking more skinny black tie, SUV, and the doohickey that coils out of the ear.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Solid black suit at left. Left undescribed for good reason; it's dull.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/undescribed


And to emphasize that point, the guy in the black suit is pushed back and to the side in the frame, looks unsure of himself, doesn't have the typical Superman-sized shoulders of that era's illustrations, has white hair, nerdy glasses, a boring monochromatic tie and looks confused reading the document he's holding.

However, the guy in the foreground is confidently perched on the desk - giving, not taking, orders on the phone - with his strong brown-patterned suit draping nicely from his Superman-sized shoulders which you can just see pinches down to a waist indicating a 14" drop (or some such anatomical anomaly), while his assertive personality is emphasized by bold peaked lapels, a full-on polka dot tie and striking silver hair.

Yup, the unsure-of-himself guy in the black suit never had a chance against always-gets-the-deal-done-and-the-woman Mr. Three-Piece Power Suit.
 

Andy

Site Creator/ Administrator
Staff member
I read somewhere that black was the norm in the City of London during the 19th Century because of the prevalence of coal ash in the atmosphere. Having a smut land on your black suit was less disturbing than if it landed on a brown one, hence 'no brown in town'. Now that heating is more often done with North Sea natural gas, the maxim is obsolete so perhaps the guideline against wearing black in the daytime was a reaction against a century of coal pollution. The rest of the world certainly has no problem with solid black business suits.
Oldsarge:
You know your history! This is from The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, Suit Chapter/History/Suit Colors:

Men’s suits, designed for the dressiest business and social occasions have traditionally been dark in color. The acceptable colors for suits are navy, gray, tan (summer), olive and in some cases brown.

Navy and gray have evolved since they look good with the hair, eye, and skin tones of most men, and dark clothing is slimming.

Black:

For men black is considered too somber for business, and more appropriate for social events, and funerals. Recently there has been a challenge by female executives wearing black since it is such a powerful color.

Looking back in history black or dark colors have been the acceptable in men's clothes, but somber colors were not always common in men’s clothing, they begin their entry into men’s wear after the French Revolution in 1789 as the bright colors of the 18th century Nobility were quickly replaced with the somber colors of the common man!

Beau “Buck” Brummell advocated dark clothes for evening in the 1790’s, and in 1828 Edward Bulwer-Lyton (19th century writer) laid down the challenge “people must be very distinguished to look well in back” and England’s dandies took to black.

There were other factors. Black was the color of choice in England during the end of the reign of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901). Her husband, Prince Albert was born the same year as the queen, but died of typhoid fever on December 14, 1861 at Windsor Castle. After the death of her husband Queen Victoria and most of England wore black clothes for the rest of her life (40 years!).

Also the Protestant movement favored more somber colors. The English dark clothing look was adopted in Europe after the English defeat of Napoleon, June 18, 1815. To the victors went the flattery of imitation.

Black had become practical and in vogue by the height of the Industrial Revolution (during the 1850’s) as the soot, smoke and grime from the new industrial age filled the air. And dry cleaning hadn’t been invented yet!

There may also be a subliminal attraction to black of sexual appeal, power, even mystery and death that kept the male in dark clothes.

During the 1940's and 50's black became acceptable for funerals and social events, especially in the evening, but not for daytime business! This might have been a reaction to all those years wearing black!​
 

JBierly

Elite Member
Oldsarge:
You know your history! This is from The Encyclopedia of Men's Clothes, Suit Chapter/History/Suit Colors:

Men’s suits, designed for the dressiest business and social occasions have traditionally been dark in color. The acceptable colors for suits are navy, gray, tan (summer), olive and in some cases brown.

Navy and gray have evolved since they look good with the hair, eye, and skin tones of most men, and dark clothing is slimming.

Black:

For men black is considered too somber for business, and more appropriate for social events, and funerals. Recently there has been a challenge by female executives wearing black since it is such a powerful color.

Looking back in history black or dark colors have been the acceptable in men's clothes, but somber colors were not always common in men’s clothing, they begin their entry into men’s wear after the French Revolution in 1789 as the bright colors of the 18th century Nobility were quickly replaced with the somber colors of the common man!

Beau “Buck” Brummell advocated dark clothes for evening in the 1790’s, and in 1828 Edward Bulwer-Lyton (19th century writer) laid down the challenge “people must be very distinguished to look well in back” and England’s dandies took to black.

There were other factors. Black was the color of choice in England during the end of the reign of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901). Her husband, Prince Albert was born the same year as the queen, but died of typhoid fever on December 14, 1861 at Windsor Castle. After the death of her husband Queen Victoria and most of England wore black clothes for the rest of her life (40 years!).

Also the Protestant movement favored more somber colors. The English dark clothing look was adopted in Europe after the English defeat of Napoleon, June 18, 1815. To the victors went the flattery of imitation.

Black had become practical and in vogue by the height of the Industrial Revolution (during the 1850’s) as the soot, smoke and grime from the new industrial age filled the air. And dry cleaning hadn’t been invented yet!

There may also be a subliminal attraction to black of sexual appeal, power, even mystery and death that kept the male in dark clothes.

During the 1940's and 50's black became acceptable for funerals and social events, especially in the evening, but not for daytime business! This might have been a reaction to all those years wearing black!​
Thanks Andy for this input. I would add that black probably will always have some utility in one's wardrobe whether male or female. For women, they often talk about "the little black dress" and of course for men their's is black tie. I never realized how contentious a black lounge suit was until I joined this forum. I suspect in large part that was from spending a fair amount of time living in Manhattan where black clothing is more ubiquitous than in the rest of the country. And indeed, when I have asked my tailor about black (he has been in the retail clothing business for 50 years) he has told me that the popularity of the black lounge suit kind of comes and goes. There have been times when it was the most popular suit he sold (not just to service industry employees) and then other times when it is less popular. Recently he told me he is selling virtually no black suits. For me personally, I actually think a black suit is fine for social events but I agree it would not be my first choice for a board meeting.
 
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Charles Dana

Honors Member
But Charles, you're just laying there why does it matter what kind of suit you wear?
Because a true gentleman always strives to dress appropriately; merely being dead is no excuse—it’s not as if your valet came down with the flu or your tailor got arrested for transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes. You’re dead you say? You’ll have to do better than that.
 
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Matt S

Connoisseur
Thanks Andy for this input. I would add that black probably will always have some utility in one's wardrobe whether male or female. For women, they often talk about "the little black dress" and of course for men their's is black tie. I never realized how contentious a black lounge suit was until I joined this forum. I suspect in large part that was from spending a fair amount of time living in Manhattan where black clothing is more ubiquitous than in the rest of the country. And indeed, when I have asked my tailor about black (he has been in the retail clothing business for 50 years) he has told me that the popularity of the black lounge suit kind of comes and goes. There have been times when it was the most popular suit he sold (not just to service industry employees) and then other times when it is less popular. Recently he told me he is selling virtually no black suits. For me personally, I actually think a black suit is fine for social events but I agree it would not be my first choice for a board meeting.
I'm from New York, raised by New Yorkers, and I was taught that black suits were only for funerals/undertakers by both my parents. The black suit was never something I saw much except on young people who came from somewhere else. Black suits were really only something that people in low-paying jobs wore, and because they had to. Or young people who thought that they looked cool in a black suit.
 

Howard

Connoisseur
Because a true gentleman always strives to dress appropriately; merely being dead is no excuse—it’s not as if your valet came down with the flu or your tailor got arrested for transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes. You’re dead you say? You’ll have to do better than that.

It's always good to wear appropriate dressing in the afterlife, that way people will remember your style of clothing.
 

JBierly

Elite Member
I'm from New York, raised by New Yorkers, and I was taught that black suits were only for funerals/undertakers by both my parents. The black suit was never something I saw much except on young people who came from somewhere else. Black suits were really only something that people in low-paying jobs wore, and because they had to. Or young people who thought that they looked cool in a black suit.
Maybe it is just me living in the East Village in the 80s - but black was a ubiquitous color in that neighborhood in that time frame (not black suits per se). I suppose I am erroneously grouping all black clothing as the same.
 
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