Men's Clothing Forums banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry to bring this topic up again. I promise that this post has a slightly different spin than most.

My father is rather well dressed; no forum type, but 10X better than your average schmuck circa 2009. When I graduated from college he advised that my first real clothing purchase should be a blazer and some charcoal gabs. We all understand the utilitarian premise he was driving at so there's no sense in discussing that. My question has to do with the choice of charcoal, rather than medium gray gabs.

Do you guys think charcoal lacks appropriate contrast to navy? Do you wear charcoal gabs with your blazers? Or do you insist upon a medium gray trouser for such a combo?

I have been wearing both charcoal and medium gray bags with my blazer for years now. For some reason, I seem to like that charcoal better than the medium gray - the medium gray looks too "security guard" for me sometimes. But I'm starting to think that many people might think that charcoal is too "matchy" with a navy jacket and might look like a bad attempt at a suit to some...

One of the reasons I am even bringing such a tired topic up is b/c I can't seem to find what I would consider the ideal answer: light charcoal gabs. It seems that most retailers and tailors (including my own current MTM tailor) don't stock a lot of gray gabardine that it in-between charcoal and medium gray.

Please weigh-in.

-Louche
 

·
Connoisseur
Joined
·
5,988 Posts
I'm of the opinion that not all "charcoal" is created equal. I have one pair of pants that were labeled as charcoal that, while dark, still contrast nicely with a navy blazer. They are closer in shade to what some call Oxford gray. I think that is what some mean when they say charcoal.

I wear light and medium gray pants with a navy blazer in addition to the above mentioned charcoal, or Oxford, gray pants. I think the whole security guard thing is something that doesn't get much play outside of a forum such as this. I think that if you look like a security guard it's not because you have on medium gray pants and a navy blazer.

Cruiser
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
I don't see anything wrong with wearing charcoal gabs (or flannerls or worsteds) with a navy blazer. I do it a lot myself.

You're correct in that there's not a lot of contrast, but going too light with gray will make all but certain that someone will start asking you check out the suspicious shopper in aisle #8! I was lucky enough a couple weeks ago to pick up some very fine dark-to-medium gray Super 120s trousers that look fantastic with a navy blazer. Not too dark. Not too light.

Others may disagree, but I say keep with the charcoal gabs!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
647 Posts
I'd have to back up Cruiser here. As long as the fit and material are of good-to-excellent quality, I don't think the Security Guard comparison will get much play.

Consider:


vice:

I myself would probably prefer trousers a little darker, but that is just me. As long as you don't have any patches, badges, radios, or pepper sprays attached oddly to your person, I think you are good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
I've experimented with different types of gray slacks - everything from very light gray tropical wool to dark charcoal flannel. I finally concluded the look just doesn't work very well for me. I most often wear my blazer with shades of brown and olive. If I had to choose a type of gray I would go with something lighter for the contrast.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't see anything wrong with wearing charcoal gabs (or flannerls or worsteds) with a navy blazer. I do it a lot myself.

You're correct in that there's not a lot of contrast, but going too light with gray will make all but certain that someone will start asking you check out the suspicious shopper in aisle #8! I was lucky enough a couple weeks ago to pick up some very fine dark-to-medium gray Super 120s trousers that look fantastic with a navy blazer. Not too dark. Not too light.

Others may disagree, but I say keep with the charcoal gabs!
Who made these 120s you speak of TMMKC?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,066 Posts
In short: I agree with the OP and I find far more variation in gray flannels than gray gabs. Strangely, I have many pairs of tan gabs, and even re-orders from the same company (say Brooks) all appear slightly different.

The long version: Everyone doesn't look good in everything. This issue starts with what style, shade, and weight of blazer looks good on you. Such as some people look good in University, American, English, or DB blazers. Some people look better in warmer shades and with other details (gold vs. silver; or horn blazer buttons.) All of the things we discuss with other clothes: cut, drape, shade, weight, and the sheen of the fabric matter.

Too often a navy blazer is just not well thought out. They are not all the same.

Once the blazer is selected to match the man, then matching gabs or flannels, even cotton twills is then more logical.

Of my own blazers I have one that is a little more "blue" and looks fine with charcoal, and one that looks more "navy" which I do prefer more mid-grays. Neither of mine really looks good with khakis. I haven't decided if this is a short-coming or not.

I think another important consideration is the shirt. Along the same lines matching the weight and weave. Some of the less refined blazers look odd with pinpoints or broadcloths IMHO.

I usually like to wear a striped shirt either a uni-stripe OCBD or more of a blazer shirt (I think also called London style blazer shirt.) Bengal stripe is fantastic for this purpose as well.

Thus, the school boy or security guard image has never been a problem for me. I think this is a lost aspect of what Flusser tries to convey. If you look at his books he does a lot of same guy in navy blue vs. same guy in slightly warmer blue comparisons. We see this in suits and shirts, but I think it's overlooked on the topic of blazers.

I'll pick on myself here. Frequently, I see a guy that looks awesome in a DB blazer. I imagine I do too, but I don't. I buy them and give them away. Over and over. I tell myself someday I'll find that 4-2 or 4-1 blazer that looks perfect on me, but deep down I know it will probably never happen.

On blazers: "A man has to know his own limitations." :icon_smile_wink:
 

·
Connoisseur
Joined
·
5,988 Posts
As long as the fit and material are of good-to-excellent quality, I don't think the Security Guard comparison will get much play.
To follow up on that I worked for 30 years in Federal Buildings and security for the Federal Courtrooms is provided by guys in navy blazers and gray pants. Quite frankly they often looked better than some of the judges and lawyers, and looking like a security guard would have been an improvement. :icon_smile_big:

A Federal Court Officer:

https://img515.imageshack.us/my.php?image=courtoff2.jpg

Cruiser
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,538 Posts
The fact that some professions (realtors, security guards, if you will) wear the navy blazer/medium grey trouser combo is because it is a standard of the well-dressed male. When I was in Copenhagen in the summer, lo, these many years ago, the "uniform of the day" for just about every man I saw on the street was navy blazer/medium grey trousers.

I shall not stop wearing that combination because some think it has become identified with any particular occupation. Those in the occupational field that may have adopted that attire want to look good, and so do I.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
Who made these 120s you speak of TMMKC?
Zante. I bought them on sale from a local clothier, Jack Henry. They would have taken too long to do the alterations, do I took the torusers to my own tailor. He said Zante is probably Jack Henry's "house" brand. I am sure other independent clotheirs have something similar. I'd take a picutre and post it but I don't the the color will come through very well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
I used to shy away from the Navy jacket & grey trousers for that very reason, but as I become..shall we say.."more mature", I realize it's a very classic and classy look when done right.It's all about the shirt, tie, shoes and attitude!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,689 Posts
Combo works really well and an American classic. Blue trousers would look like orphan suit trousers and black trousers do work, but not as well as charcoal or grey trousers. However:

1. It does remind me of security guards, e.g. WonderWorld security guards in Beverly Hills Cops III and in some others programmes/movies that show security guards.

2. Is associated with a certain age. I remember Philip Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wearing the combo, my uncle did at a recent after-wedding party and the London Wasps pensioners wear a navy blazer with grey trousers.


If you go for dark brown shoes instead of black and wear a nice shirt (does look good with just white, but I would go white shirt with stripes or a different colour shirt) , you could look good in the combo and not look like a security guard or dressed as an older-man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,852 Posts
Bernhard Roetzel writes in Gentleman: A Timeless Classic that he prefers the higher contrast of a lighter-gray pair of trousers with the navy blazer, and says that if you're going to wear dark gray trousers, you might as well wear a suit.

Personally, I feel that's an overgeneralization. I own mid-gray trousers which I do occasionally wear with my navy blazers (like today, when I am wearing a pair of old Nautica light-gray flannels--purchased at the Hecht Company before it became part of the Macy's chain--with my BB SB Country Club blazer).

If you're looking for RTW trousers in "light charcoal" or some other in-between shade of gray, the best bets are probably JAB and Lands' End, as they always seem to offer a fairly wide color selection.

But I tend to prefer dark gray trousers more often. This is largely a function of my burly build and my reluctance to "cut myself in half" with a too-great jacket and trouser contrast.

The "security guard" thing is badly overblown. If you're wearing a well cut and properly accessorized blazer with midgray slacks, you're not going to be mistaken for a security guard. You might be mistaken for a menswear-store employee (that happens to me all the time), but not a security guard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
331 Posts
The devil is in the details here, as is typical for most classic combinations. If you're going to pair a navy blazer with lighter grey trousers, try dark brown or merlot or cordovan shoes instead of black. Try a thinly striped or textured shirt instead of a plain white one. Pair the white shirt with something other than a solid red or blue tie.

"Security guard" is connoted by navy blazer as paired with plain white shirt, black shoes and belt, and a boring tie. So long as you mix things up a bit and avoid hitting all of those security guard notes, you'll be fine.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
27,866 Posts
I have been wearing both charcoal and medium gray bags with my blazer for years now.
Congrats Louche! You've finally seen the light - Oxford bags! :icon_smile_big:

(Yes, I know it's a typo, but first I needed to have my bit of silliness.)

The short, I see nothing wrong with it. It's a sober combination, but sometimes that's what is called for. I too would prefer flannels if charcoal. But that's a quible. And as has been written, navy and charcoal can describe a multitude of colors. A bit more contrast rather than less is better I think. Either in tone, or the color saturation of the fabric with blue.

Now black blazer and charcoal starts getting a bit too close to formal day wear in my book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,538 Posts
. . . , you could look good in the combo and not look like a security guard or dressed as an older-man.
Hmmmmmm:(

You mean: "Dressed as someone who has the experience to know what looks classically good and the self-assurance to wear it"?

It seems to me that a young person will not be mistaken for an older person by what he or she wears, and vice versa. Many, if not most of the kinds of suits and other outfits favored in these fora could be called "old men's costumes" as they are produced by methods and follow the timeless fashions of a bygone era. Many who appear to be youngsters often say they long to find this or that classic garment on eBay. Naturally, there are "age appropriate" manners of dressing, especially for women "of a certain age," but the navy blazer and grey trousers are worn by persons of every age from children to seniors. Well-fitting, classic styles are ageless.

What is an "older-man" anyhow? I've never seen that term before.:rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
I have worn navy blazers with every shade of grey, from the lightest to the darkest and I have discovered two things: (1) dark or charcoal-grey, while lacking the contrast of light- or mid-grey, somehow (for some inexplicable reason) invests le tout ensemble with more class; (2) flannel or saxony are the classiest of all (although not in hot weather).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,258 Posts
Although I have read one member on another recent post state that we spend too much time on this board obsessing over details, it is in the details that we fine the distinguishing elements which make a well put together kit stand out from the pack.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top