Is blue the new black in men’s formalwear?

If you only own a single suit, the chances are it’s probably black in colour. You’ve chosen sensibly. Black is sober, stylish, timeless and completely appropriate for all manner of occasions.

However, the status of black as the ‘go-to’ colour of choice for the male suit is being challenged. Blue is mounting a strong charge as colour makes a revival. Last year, the Independent reported a surge in sales of blue men’s suits among high-street retailers. Two of the UK’s big department store chains revealed a consumer preference for blue: at John Lewis, blue shirts outsold black ones by nearly four to one, and a blue suit was sold every four minutes. At Marks & Spencer, two blue suits were sold for every one in black.

There’s nothing new about blue suits – though the trend of wearing a blue tuxedo, or dinner suit, is relatively recent and is growing in popularity. This article by the Daily Mail reviewed the many celebrities photographed on the red carpet wearing navy blue – from Kevin Spacey to Chris Hemsworth and Ryan Reynolds.

Unsurprisingly, there might be a particularly well-known style icon behind the recent influence. Daniel Craig wore a midnight-blue tuxedo in the Bond movie Skyfall – it was the image on the film’s promotional poster and, as such, it swiftly gained huge recognition and visibility. However, the website The Suits of James Bond explained that the midnight blue dinner suit is far from fashion of the day for 007. Indeed, it states that Bond has a ‘long history of wearing midnight blue dinner suits’, – starting with the very first film, Dr. No.


If a blue dinner suit is worthy of belonging to Bond, it’s good enough for anyone. The Dobell formalwear range includes a ‘selection of timeless Bond tuxedos’ and true enough, there it is – the midnight blue textured tuxedo.

Blue has the edge over black in the fashion stakes and it’s easy to understand why. While a classic black suit will never lose appeal, a blue suit is brighter, versatile and more fun. There are shades of blue – from navy, which is perfect for a formal occasion, to petrol blue, indigo blue, cool blue, electric blue, and many variations in between. Because of this, there’s a new wave of grooms wearing blue to weddings, as men step away from black, which can be a little sombre on the happiest day of their life.

The ‘rules’ – for what they’re worth – are more relaxed with a blue suit. A white shirt obviously works very well but a contrasting blue, a lighter shade for example, or a pink shirt really brings the suit to life. For shoes, there’s more flexibility. Wearing anything but black shoes with a black suit still divides opinion but a blue shirt embraces both black and brown – as well as tan.

So, if you’re yet to buy your first suit, why not go for blue over black? And if the solitary suit in your wardrobe is good old reliable black, add a blue one as soon as possible!