Walking into any decent menswear shop these days can be an overwhelming experience with the seemingly endless rows of suit racks. You’ve got your blues, browns, grays, blacks and everything in between in solids, pin stripes, checks, houndstooth and countless others. Where do you start? There is one suit colour, often overlooked, that has the right character to impart a debonair edge both day and night: charcoal.
It is easily considered one of the most versatile suiting options and it’s often touted as the prime choice for the first suit a man should invest in. Though when young and inexperienced, the common mistake is to invest in a black suit because it has a "formal" nuance attached to it, and one can wear it for "any occasion" whether it be for work, in the evening or for a special occasion. But in reality, it poses a big risk of looking like a funeral home director in the day light.
When you think about the neck tie, it's a rather peculiar item of clothing. Apart from adorning a shirt and tie, it doesn't really have any practical purpose. The origin of the neck tie apparently dates way back to the French who caught on to the small-knotted neckerchiefs that were worn by soldiers of the Croatian military during the Thirty Years War of the 1600s. This was the birth of the Cravat, as it was known, which was later made fashionable amongst French nobility by King Louis XIV. The industrial revolution eventually ignited the desire for a less complicated, low maintenance cravat to specify one’s status in society; right from the very beginning, the tie possessed an inherent association with position and formality.