Maybe we’re crazy, but we think the best black suits for men deserve the essential title just as much as a 6-pack of white tees. If you haven’t furiously exited the tab by now, thank you for your open-mindedness. We’re fully aware that a lineup of essential clothes includes everyday basics like jeans and socks. So why in sartorial sacredness does a black suit, the polar opposite of a white tee, have any business as an essential? For better or worse, a formal occasion will come up. Whether that’s a wedding or a funeral, there’s nothing more serious and appropriate for such occasions as a black suit. (We highly doubt you’re wearing a swanky two-piece suit as your lazy morning coffee fit.) And while you can get away with some schmutz on your bed-time tee, it’s hard to get by without a black suit in your closet.
Now that your worldview has expanded, let’s keep going: black suits aren’t just for weddings and funerals. Black suits can exist—thrive, even!—between the two extremes without a formal reason to justify it. What’s the occasion? Tuesday, bro! With some well-heeled shoes and some reframing, a black suit can be the right move on a casual day, no formal event in sight. Take inspo from indie bands and chopper in a beat-to-hell graphic tee and some thrashed canvas sneakers. Or make like Elvis reincarnation Austin Butler and ditch the black tie for a daring low-cut shirt. Or buck the black suit conventions altogether and go for a high-fashion, Sandler-adjacent look and pair it with some swishy track pants and a hoodie.
The Best Black Suits Shopping Guide
How to Tell if a Suit Fits
The process of suit buying is complex and we won’t get into the nitty gritty (you can get deep into all that over here), but there are some key things to know. When you’re shopping for a suit, regardless of fabric or color, there are two major points you really want to get right: the shoulders and the chest. It’s highly unlikely that a suit will fit you perfectly off the rack, so you should set aside a portion of your budget for tailoring. The most common suit alterations are shortening the sleeves and taking in the waist. So, just because a suit looks a bit roomy in the waist or too long in the sleeves shouldn’t automatically dissuade you. The best tailors can perform minor miracles, but the shoulders and the chest are much more difficult (and costly!) to alter, so if you can nail down those areas at the store, you’ll be saving yourself and your tailor some serious headaches.
How to Shop for a Suit
Shopping for suits is complicated stuff, so it’s better to go to the store in person if you’re able. While you’re there, you want to make sure to try on suits with clothes you’ll be wearing with the suit. So, if you’re shopping for a black suit for a wedding, be sure to bring your dress shirt and dress shoes to get a clear picture of how the suit will look.
Oftentimes, stores will offer complimentary tailoring when you purchase a suit. Each store should be able to take in the waist and shorten the sleeves, but may be able to perform more complicated alterations.
Let’s recap: black suits are an essential; you don’t need a formal occasion to wear black suit; and make sure your suit fits in the chest and shoulders. Now that you’re fully equipped, it’s time to get to shopping. There’s a sea of black suits to swim (or sink) through and we waded through it all to bring you the best on the market. Here are the 18 best black suits for men right now.
The Best Value Black Suit
You may have heard the rumors: Banana Republic is good again. It’s true. The mall staple recently went through a heavy rebrand and if you haven’t been to the store or the site for a while, you’re in for a treat. BR’s done what other brands have done and simply went back into their archives to refresh the pieces that made them successful in the first place. For Banana, that means safari-inspired trousers and burly suede jackets. But among the most impressive corners of the zhuzhed-up brand is its suiting. The brand has taken great notes from the prevailing suiting brands to produce a line of suits worthy of even the most staunch suiting nerd. This one features an Italian hopsack fabric from the famed Reda mill, pickstitching at the lapel, a single notch, and a soft shoulder.
The Best Long-Term Black Suit
This is the suit you get when you figure it’s time for a quality black suit—the one you’re gonna wear for every major life event for decades. At $2,000, it’s certainly an investment, but considering you’ll have it for almost the rest of your life, it’s more like treating yourself to a Rolex. It features a classic fit with a lovely Italian structured shoulder and flattering dual vents at the rear. The challenge for many suits is finding one that has a timeless silhouette and details without coming off as stodgy—the kind of suits you’d find trotting around a business park. Canali’s is simultaneously classic and contemporary so you can bet you’ll look great when you pull it out of the closet for a 20-year reunion.
The Best Black Suit for Summer
The most disgusting part of summer weddings (other than the cheesy vows) is the buckets of sweat. Who does a destination summer wedding to Death Valley??? In a sweltering ceremony where the starring couple demand formal attire over comfy guests, the best thing you can do to survive is wear a breezy linen suit. Todd Snyder’s Madison suit features a lightweight Italian linen in a relaxed fit with soft shoulders and a half-lined interior. Should you be so fortunate not to have to attend a formal summer engagement, the heathered texture and easy-going vibe is perfect for busting out with a casual outfit.
The Best Budget Black Suit
“Sure, GQ, a black suit is ‘essential’. But there’s no way in hell I’m spending a ton of money on an outfit I’ll wear maybe twice in a year.” Fair! Get yourself this Arket suit, then. It’s just a shade over $500 and it’s made from responsibly sourced wool. The silhouette is slightly slim, but still classic enough that you won’t be embarrassed to trot out at a wedding five years from now.
The Best Off-Beat Black Suit
Fear of God’s recent Eternals collection doubles down on the ‘80s suiting silhouette with Byrnesian scale and proportions. With a drooping lapel and a 2×1 double-breasted closure, it’s got enough swagger to say that you closed a billion-dollar deal with a ‘B’, that, or you took care of some schmuck that was giving your very organized crime organization a problem. The on-seam hand pockets give it a more casual feel while maintaining its minimalist throughline. It rides the line between caricature and cool and if you dare to rock it, the key is to be confident. Though, when you’re ponying up the cash for this baller suit, you’re probably pretty confident to start.
The Best Red Carpet-Ready Black Suit
It doesn’t get more red carpet than Tom Ford. The man is a master of tailoring and to own one of his suits means 1) you’re filthy rich, and 2) you’ve got one of the finest suits anyone can buy. So it makes sense that award shows and movie premiers are crawling with Ford suiting.
Plus 12 More Killer Black Suits We Love
Zegna’s Trofeo line features extra long staple Australian merino wool which is not only some of the most luxurious on the planet, but also features a natural elasticity that gives the suit an amazing drape and comfort. In this version, the Trofeo is blended with cotton to give it an airy feel that’s complemented by the unlined construction.
For Hedi Slimane, the super slim look never really went out of style (it’s in the guy’s name, after all). The indie-sleaze-friendly silhouette hits all the right notes: high shoulders, cropped leg, and a cigarette-like tailoring that’d make Pete Dougherty blush.
Whether it’s a brand new suit or a secondhand grail, you should expect to have to take your suit to the tailor. But every now and then, there’s a suit that fits like butter straight off the rack. This very well may be that suit.
The inimitable Thom Browne and his telltale tailoring was a watershed moment for the cropped look in menswear. Though the zeitgeist has largely moved past the ankle-baring trousers and hip-gracing jackets of Mr. Browne’s favor, his signature silhouette is still as subversive and head-turning today.
If you can get past the super stylized marketing, you’ll find that Suitsupply’s range of suits and separates is actually well-tailored and some of the best value anywhere. This Havana suit features a double-breasted front with soft shoulders and a an unlined body that makes it feel less stuffy than the average black suit.
As the oldest ready-to-wear clothing brand in America, Brooks Brothers knows a thing or two about off-the-rack suits. Though the US label’s outfitted basically every president, the popular Regent suit is made in Italy using a silky smooth stretch wool and features the classic shoulder we’re accustomed to seeing. It’s not exactly a forward-thinking suit, but you can bet that you’ll look classic—stately, even.
It’s already annoying enough to have to dress up for a black tie affair, so why not make it as comfy as you can with some luscious corduroy? That’s the genius of this Drake’s x Aimé Leon Dore collab—the most serious garment made of a decadent, yet rugged and casual fabric.
Parisian brand Husbands has been crafting some of the coolest, slickest suits in recent years, each with a tangible ’70s bent including extra-wide lapels and a structured shoulder that would make anyone look like they go crazy on the shoulder press.
Ralph Lauren offers some of the best tailoring on the market, yet it still goes under-appreciated. This soft wool Oxford suit features a soft, unlined construction that feels more like an old shirt than a stuffy suit.
In a pinch, you could do far, far worse than head to your local J.Crew for a tux. The American staple has made a name for itself as the go-to spot for stylish, high-quality garments and changed the tailoring game in 2008 when it introduced the mega popular Ludlow suit and its classic-fit counterpart, the Crosby. This black-tie-ready tux features fine wool fabric made in Italy by the famed Tolegno mill and features double vents, fully lined interior, peak satin lapels, and a modest price tag of $815.
While most suits will fit a bit roomy off-the-rack with the intention that you’ll get them altered, Auralee’s suit is purposefully relaxed. The jacket is reminiscent of the classic sack jacket, with its dart-less front, oversized patch pockets, and straight cut, while the pants are billowy and voluminous. It’s the kind of off-kilter, suit a cool guy would wear to the red carpet with just a black tee underneath. And if that doesn’t make you feel cool as hell, we don’t know what will.
A suit’s a suit, right? Issey Miyake’s game-shifting pleats feel as cozy as your most well-worn sweats. So you may feel like you’re chillin’ on your couch watching The Great British Baking Show, you’ll look like you actually put a lot of thought into your fit.
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