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How to Pull Off a Black Suit

This note arrived in the Kempt inbox this morning, concerning the state of the black suit:

I was after some advice with a black suit. I want to wear it for numerous parties over Christmas period but I want it to be versatile to wear out and about. To be honest I can’t tell what makes a great black suit from a bad one.

This is a tricky one, as the black suit is the subject of much debate. Here’s our advice.

Our wisdom on pulling off a black suit...»

Kempt Man of the Hour: Joe Zee

As style bloggers never fail to point out, black is a remarkably hard color for guys to pull off—so it’s worth calling attention to what it looks like when it’s done right. Naturally, the gentleman in question is a pro…

More specifically, the gentleman in question is Joe Zee, creative director of Elle—found here at WWD's 100th Anniversary bash—and he manages the difficult trick through some high-level color mixing. Between his pants, shirt and jacket, we count four impeccably balanced colors. With this much going on, nobody’s going to mistake him for a butler or a funeral goer, and the black jacket becomes just another piece of the puzzle.

Make no mistake: It’s high-wire act. A slightly darker shade of gray, a slightly creamier collar or even a slightly paler skin tone and the whole thing tumbles down into mismatched disarray. But pull it off, and you will have slayed the giant dragon of menswear.