My father claimed “There are very few men who look good in a brown suit”. If they get the wrong shade, agreed. But here are some important men who look rather wonderful in a brown suit.
- Ronald Reagan became President of the USA, and showed how it was done. Reagan had cool-deep colouring, with blue eyes, deep steel-brown hair (before it was tinted) and a cool/pinkish complexion. He suited the deepest browns (almost a bluish, blackish brown) and by combining with a decent white shirt and superb tailoring he managed to look the part – leader of the free world. If the president can do it, I don’t see why anyone else would think twice.
- James Bond took to wearing brown. Utterly smart, again with the high authority white shirt, and a strong, plain tie. All these men are on the cool spectrum – although Daniel Craig is pretty light as well. Sean Connery has deep brown eyes which are complemented by the deep brown of his suit. Piers Brosnan has blue eyes but dark brown hair, which again works well with the deep brown of his suit. Daniel Craig is much lighter with his fairish hair and bright blue eyes. I think he could wear a much lighter brown, as long it was a cool version.
- The TV series introduce brown as a signifier for the seventies
- And now all the cool young men are doing it too
I am hugely in favour of brown business wear as it provides a bit of break from navy and grey. And there are some colour directions that really look great in browns – especially people with warm colouring. But apart from Robert Pattinson (4c) all the men here have deep or cool colouring. Here is Peter O’Toole who had warm, light colouring, in the architypal brown tweed academic suit. This sort of shade of brown – yellowish/reddish warm brown – suit people with reddish hair, hazel eyes, freckles and golden skin tones.
This colour looks terrific on warmer complexions and it is a shame that Damien Lewis and other trendy young red heads like Prince Harry and the bloke from Harry Potter don’t give it a go. Ryan Gosling, hats off to him, for trying, but its not styled so well. His brown is too bright and too light – but the yellow undertones are working well. I dislike the black and white tie and shirt with it. I would have l left off the waist coat, tried a deeper version the same colour for the shirt, or used a creamy shade of white, and if a tie was necessary chosen a deeper warm brown or deep mustard. And the shoes are just really nasty. The silver blobs look like cake decorations and fight with the outfit. Good brown brogues would have been so much better.
Thank you for your very interesting posts. I’d love to know your thoughts about the suit Obama wore today at the press conference. Is it a muted brown ?
Thank you for an interesting question Karine. I am trying to get a link to a picture, but can’t do it. I will do a blog post of this issue as it raises an interesting question. My short answer is it is a neutral beige.
I like brown and even have a brown suit myself, although I have to admit that when I see men in brown suits I am reminded of bus drivers. I think it might be that the Toronto Transit Commission uniforms were brown at one point, or something like that… You’re right though that an appropriate shade of brown on a man can be very nice, if styled well. I like the photos you have selected. And yes, the shoes on Ryan Gosling are hideous!