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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a low contrast complexion and hair guy with dibbs on a three piece, pinstripe, black suit. Has anyone seen a low contrast guy look good in a black suit? If so, what did they do to deal with the contrast issue?
 

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My understanding of the contrast issue, limited as it may be, is that hair color and skin colour blend together in low-contrast people (very blond hair and a pale complexion), while there is a clear contrast between the two in high contrast folks (black hair and light skin tone). The usual advice is that the contrast in clothing should match the level of contrast between hair and skin, at least in people of Nordic ethnicities. So high contrast pinstripes (light grey/white pinstripes on charcoal) for instance, would suit a high contrast person with black hair and light skin. A dove grey suit and pastel necktie might suit a low contrast person with blond hair and pale skin. I can also see how some splashes of bright colour (tie or pocket square against a lighter background in shirt or jacket) can be effective in low contrast people.

These things may change, sometimes dramatically, when one goes from Nordic complexions and hair colours to other ethnicities, with brown or black skin colour and dark hair. The best way to find out is to experiment, and trust one's own eye as to what looks crisp and what looks washed-out on you.
 

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OK. Thank you.
You're very welcome. I hope my suggestions make sense. Others may have better ideas about this problem.

Somehow, I never pondered this issue with regard to my personal selections, and it was good of you to raise the question. I usually select garments I like, and I don't worry about whether it will look good on me. Maybe that is because I have rarely purchased anything that looks awful on me. Maybe over the years, I have internalized the things that work for me so that I automatically gravitate toward those things, LOL.
 

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Black suits are bad. Add pinstripes and you’ve taken it to the next level…and not in a good way.
Probably correct.

I wouldn’t sweat the “contrast” matter. Dark suits are generally a safe choice for any man. You should, however, re-assess your inclination to buy a black suit (albeit one with pinstripes). Black suits are sub-optimal in the universe of dark suits.

If you are interested in a very dark suit, keep looking until you can find a good deal on one that is dark grey. Or navy blue. Can’t go wrong with navy blue.

Unless YOU are navy blue.

Then you’d have a contrast problem.

So my advice: Keep breathing. And keep looking.
 

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Probably correct.

I wouldn’t sweat the “contrast” matter. Dark suits are generally a safe choice for any man. You should, however, re-assess your inclination to buy a black suit (albeit one with pinstripes). Black suits are sub-optimal in the universe of dark suits.

If you are interested in a very dark suit, keep looking until you can find a good deal on one that is dark grey. Or navy blue. Can’t go wrong with navy blue.

Unless YOU are navy blue.

Then you’d have a contrast problem.

So my advice: Keep breathing. And keep looking.
"Unless YOU are navy blue." LOL, I do know of one "person" who was blue, if not quite navy blue: That is Lord Krishna, who is worshipped by Hindus as one of the human incarnations of the god Vishnu. The word Krishna also means dark-coloured in Sanskrit.

But more to the point, Charles, if your logic is to be applied consistently, then a black man should not wear a black suit (or even a dark suit), right? Likewise for brown suits on brown men. Nevertheless, they do look good on men with black or brown skin tone, I think. Perhaps what matters is the exact shade of skin colour and suit colour.
 

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But more to the point, Charles, if your logic is to be applied consistently, then a black man should not wear a black suit (or even a dark suit), right? Likewise for brown suits on brown men. Nevertheless, they do look good on men with black or brown skin tone, I think. Perhaps what matters is the exact shade of skin colour and suit colour.
I never overthink whether someone is a “high-contrast” or “low-contrast” person. I also don’t think in terms of rules; I’m more interested in the optimal versus the less-than-optimal. And the slightly less-than-optimal is OK unless you’re the groom or at a white-tie affair. (And if you’re the groom, you’d better not be having an affair.)

I think that contrast within an outfit is more important than contrast between an outfit and someone’s skin tone. For example, an ecru shirt worn with very light tan trousers is going to be sub-optimal regardless of the skin and hair color of the man wearing those items. Switch out either the shirt or the trousers in order to achieve contrast, and the outfit will be fine regardless of who is wearing it. (The exceptions would occur with CASUAL clothing in extreme weather. A white or pale pastel shirt with very light-colored trousers would look good in scorching heat despite the lack of contrast.* And dark trousers, a dark shirt, and a dark coat or sweater would be fine in the winter.)

A charcoal-grey suit on a dark-skinned man will look good as long as the suit fits properly, his shirt is white or a very pale color, and his tie is dark. The stark contrast between the shirt and the suit and the shirt and the tie will provide all the contrast the man needs.

What about a dark-brown suit on a dark-brown man? I think that might not be ideal, but a white shirt would rescue the outfit because it would add the aesthetically pleasing contrast between his suit and his face. Thus, the dark-brown suit would be plenty good enough.

So if a man gets contrast within his outfit, then in the real world I’d advise him not to worry about whether he’s a high- or low-contrast guy. It’s not that big a deal.

Oh, you brought up the matter of applying my “logic…consistently.” First, thank you for implying that I’m capable of logical thinking. However, you might be overestimating my cognitive capabilities. But assuming there’s ever any logic to my arguments, I hasten to point out that I never intend that my presumed “logic” be applied “consistently.” I’m a pragmatist; I believe in bending rules—even breaking them—when real life demands that we do so. Consistency is overrated. And consistently-applied logic is best left to the confines of the ivory tower.

___
* If the guy is really, really pale, then a white shirt and light trousers might not be the best choice. But if the temperature is up there, who cares if there’s not enough contrast? Be practical. The last thing you should be doing when you’re sweating is sweating the sartorial details.
 

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I'm a low contrast complexion and hair guy with dibbs on a three piece, pinstripe, black suit. Has anyone seen a low contrast guy look good in a black suit? If so, what did they do to deal with the contrast issue?
If you're concerned about contrast, consider wearing a light gray shirt and a charcoal coloured tie.
 

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I never overthink whether someone is a “high-contrast” or “low-contrast” person. I also don’t think in terms of rules; I’m more interested in the optimal versus the less-than-optimal. And the slightly less-than-optimal is OK unless you’re the groom or at a white-tie affair. (And if you’re the groom, you’d better not be having an affair.)

I think that contrast within an outfit is more important than contrast between an outfit and someone’s skin tone. For example, an ecru shirt worn with very light tan trousers is going to be sub-optimal regardless of the skin and hair color of the man wearing those items. Switch out either the shirt or the trousers in order to achieve contrast, and the outfit will be fine regardless of who is wearing it. (The exceptions would occur with CASUAL clothing in extreme weather. A white or pale pastel shirt with very light-colored trousers would look good in scorching heat despite the lack of contrast.* And dark trousers, a dark shirt, and a dark coat or sweater would be fine in the winter.)

A charcoal-grey suit on a dark-skinned man will look good as long as the suit fits properly, his shirt is white or a very pale color, and his tie is dark. The stark contrast between the shirt and the suit and the shirt and the tie will provide all the contrast the man needs.

What about a dark-brown suit on a dark-brown man? I think that might not be ideal, but a white shirt would rescue the outfit because it would add the aesthetically pleasing contrast between his suit and his face. Thus, the dark-brown suit would be plenty good enough.

So if a man gets contrast within his outfit, then in the real world I’d advise him not to worry about whether he’s a high- or low-contrast guy. It’s not that big a deal.

___
* If the guy is really, really pale, then a white shirt and light trousers might not be the best choice. But if the temperature is up there, who cares if there’s not enough contrast? Be practical. The last thing you should be doing when you’re sweating is sweating the sartorial details.
Excellent points, Charles. Thank you. I agree with all of your observations. It is indeed the balance and contrast within outfits that is important. And your points about extreme weather are well taken
 

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I like the Hollies reference (to one of my favorite tunes). I also like...I'm ducking real quick here...black suits, and will defend my three, PRL, BB and Oxxford, another time another another place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
...
If you are interested in a very dark suit, keep looking until you can find a good deal on one that is dark grey. Or navy blue. Can’t go wrong with navy blue.

...

So my advice: Keep breathing. And keep looking.
[/QUOTE]

Thanks to all.

Passed on the black pinstripe.

Later found this navy pinstripe 3 piece, a 6 button, double vent, navy blazer that fits better than my current non-vented one, and some oddities I'll raise as I give them more consideration.
Suit trousers Clothing Dress shirt Coat Sleeve

Dress shirt Sleeve Textile Collar Grey

Suit trousers Dress shirt Coat Sleeve Collar

Dress shirt Human Neck Sleeve Standing

Brown Textile Sleeve Grey Wood
 

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Later found this navy pinstripe 3 piece, a 6 button, double vent, navy blazer that fits better than my current non-vented one, and some oddities I'll raise as I give them more consideration. View attachment 87598
View attachment 87597
View attachment 87596
View attachment 87599
View attachment 87595
Confused.
Your text doesn't seem to match the pics. I see nothing with six buttons, or a blazer. Is the three piece navy? Looks black on my Cheez-it size monitor.

Your close-ups remind me of my eyesight after nine Molsens. Although I've never actually had nine Molsens, I have a state of the art beer imagination. If you are using a cell phone to take pics, rather than just touching the button, place your finger on it and hold it there and watch as the lens focuses (maybe 2 secs), then release.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Confused.
Your text doesn't seem to match the pics. I see nothing with six buttons, or a blazer. Is the three piece navy? Looks black on my Cheez-it size monitor.

Your close-ups remind me of my eyesight after nine Molsens. Although I've never actually had nine Molsens, I have a state of the art beer imagination. If you are using a cell phone to take pics, rather than just touching the button, place your finger on it and hold it there and watch as the lens focuses (maybe 2 secs), then release.
Yes, the three piece suit shown is navy, a bluer navy than my other navy suits.

The transaction for it included several items not shown: A nice wool, navy, 6 button, double vent, blazer. A brown blazer of wool and polyester. Tan wool and polyester pants to go with the brown blazer. A cream wool tweed double breasted jacket. A tany taupey all polyester pair of pants to go with the cream tweed. A light grey pinstripe suit of wool and, I suspect, polyester. Some of the cuffs are currently 10" wide. If I keep the pants, i may change that.

I'll try that with my camera.

Molson Canadian,

lager beer,

eh.
 

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Some of the cuffs are currently 10" wide. If I keep the pants, i may change that.
Cuffs that are 10 inches wide? I don’t blame you for wanting to alter them.

I’m just needling you (no pun intended). Concerning your sentence about the cuffs, I had to read it twice before realizing you were referring to the width of the trouser leg at the cuff rather than the width of the cuff itself.

(That is what you meant, right? If the cuffs really are 10 inches wide, you don’t need to alter them, provided you’re 40 feet tall.)
 

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Here's what I know about terminology: The general word I have heard used for the lower-most part of the trouser leg is trouser bottom, or sometimes trouser hem. The trouser bottom can then be called a trouser cuff or a plain bottom, depending on whether you have the ends of the trouser turned up or not. Trouser cuff is common in American English. But there's another word for the cuff, used in Commonwealth English: The turn-up, which sounds awfully like that vegetable one sometimes finds in stews, LOL. And of course, we mustn't confuse the trouser bottom with the trouser seat (the "seat of your pants") which is another matter altogether!
 
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