How to Wear a Gray Suit

May 17, 2023 5 min read

How to Wear a Gray Suit

Before you invest in a suit, you should know a few things. Gray suits are versatile. You can choose from diverse shades and match them with different shirt colors depending on the occasion. The same rule applies to ties. Additionally, the shoes and accessories you select should go seamlessly with the suit — that's the trick to set yourself apart.

Choosing the Shade of Your Gray Suit

You can choose from many shades of gray when it comes to suits. The best among the lot are light gray, dark gray, charcoal gray, mid-gray, silver and patterned. Each of these shades has an appropriate use and setting, which is excellent because you can find the perfect match for nearly every occasion. Let's consider each in detail:

1. Light Gray

Light gray suits are one of the most flexible you can own. They are perfect for semi-formal and casual occasions — business casual and smart-casual — and are simple to style. All it takes to switch the mood is combining it with the right shirt, shoes and accessories. 

For a festive occasion, you can match your light gray suit with a bright-colored dress shirt, black shoes, a dark tie and a matching bright pocket square. But for formal events, pick a white dress shirt and lose the pocket square — that's it!

2. Dark Gray

You can make a strong statement with dark gray suits — they are simply stunning. Dark gray suits are the perfect alternative for navy blue or black suits because they combine well with multiple colors of dress shirts and ties. They also accommodate different accessories and can be worn for formal events. One of the best combinations is wearing them with powdered blue shirts, dark blue ties and simple white pocket squares. 

3. Charcoal Gray

Charcoal gray suits are a step further into the professional realm. They are more conservative and ideal for formal business meetings, interviews and presentations. Charcoal gray suits are a perfect pairing with white shirts and black shoes, as you would wear a black suit. However, you can match them with bright-colored pink and purple shirts for semi-formal social gatherings, weddings and cocktail parties.

4. Mid-Gray

Mid-gray or plain gray suits sit comfortably between light gray and charcoal. They are versatile, giving you the most usage all year round. They accommodate a slew of color combinations, making them ideal for casual and formal settings alike. 

5. Silver

Silver-gray suits are fancy. They are reserved for big social festivities, especially when you want to get all the attention. Investing in high-quality, well-tailored silver suits brings life to your wardrobe. Because they naturally stand out, you can do away with extra accessories apart from a dark tie on a plain and simple dress shirt. 

6. Patterned

Traditional patterned gray suits are excellent for semi-formal occasions. There are also more casual fits available in wool, velour and suede. They are best paired with colorful dress shirts and brown shoes, depending on the detail in the pattern.

What Color Shirts to Wear With a Gray Suit

Most stylists would agree that gray suits match almost any shirt color. But let's focus on the top five picks: 

  • White: Wear white dress shirts for formal and semi-formal events. The partnership with gray suits is simple yet elegant and allows you to experiment with more accessories. 
  • Pink: These allow you to step outside the box in a subtle manner. While pale pink shirts with dark gray suits are ideal for semi-formal events, bright pink dress shirts with light or mid-gray suits bring life to the party. 
  • Blue: All gray suit shades can match almost any blue shirt. Light blue shirts can do formal and informal occasions, while dark blue shirts are best suited for professional settings.
  • Black: If you want to turn your gray suit into a completely different look, wear it with a black shirt. The combination is truly spectacular but is reserved for informal activities.
  • Red: Red shirts make bold statements. As a rule of thumb, the shades of the shirt and suit should match — a light red shirt with a light gray suit and vice versa. The blend is informal and should go with a pair of black shoes. 

Best Ties for Gray Suits

The best tie picks for gray suits include:

  • Black: Black ties are universal. They fit all shades of gray suits and almost any shirt color. They are ideal for important business meetings and official gatherings. 
  • Blue: Next to black ties, blue ties are the most versatile. The darker the hue, the more flexible they are. They suit formal gatherings and may be worn with light-colored shirts and any gray suit shade. 
  • Pink: Pink ties are livelier and perfect for informal gatherings and social activities. You can wear them with your light and mid-gray suits. Since pink is naturally bold, the ties best combine with white dress shirts. 
  • Red: Red ties are bold and give a strong impression of your personality. They are suitable for formal gatherings, especially with charcoal gray suits.
  • Patterned: Patterned ties are more vibrant than their solid counterparts and must be chosen carefully. You should ensure the patterns in the suit and tie blend flawlessly or that the suit is solid for a patterned tie on a white shirt to stand out.

What Color Shoes to Wear With a Gray Suit

What Color Shoes to Wear With a Gray Suit

Many shoe options exist, but knowing the right pair is an actual skill. For gray suits, the task is relatively simple. This is because of the versatility that the suit shade offers. Depending on the shade of gray, you can match the suit with a pair of black or brown shoes, although other colors may also fit. 

Black Shoes

Black shoes match all gray suit shades. The crucial thing is the type of shoes you wear. For example, while the Oxford series are generally fitted for official and formal activities, derbies, loafers, and Chelsea and chukka boots are appropriate for semi-formal and casual outings. For a proper casual event, you may choose a pair of sneakers. 

Brown Shoes

Brown dress shoes are ideal for light and mid-gray suits, but dark brown shoes may be fitting for dark gray and charcoal suits. Brown semi-brogue and single monk straps are trendy and conducive for semi-formal events.  

Best Accessories to Complement a Gray Suit

A gray suit can be a canvas to show off your style and personality. Complete your outfit with these accessories:

  • Watches: Wearing a watch is a simple way to make your appearance look special. They are stylish accessories and can speak volumes, depending on the quality and brand. 
  • Belts: There are multiple belt options for gray suits. However, it is generally accepted that the belt and shoe color correspond. 
  • Suspenders: Suspenders offer a traditional look to your suits and are available in different colors and materials. They serve a functional and aesthetic purpose.
  • Pocket squares: Introducing pocket squares to your gray suits polishes your overall look. Select one that matches your tie to elevate your look, or mix it up, especially for dark suit shades. 
  • Socks: There are many choices of socks for gray suits. While it's advisable to pick single-colored socks for formal occasions, the options are endless for casual fits. 
  • Cufflinks: Cufflinks are a mark of true class. They convey a sense of sophistication and add quality to your outfit. 

Contact Penner's for Your Custom Suits Today

Contact Penner's for Your Custom Suits Today

Next to black, gray suits are the most adaptable kind you can have in your wardrobe. The most important rule when investing in suits, no matter the color, is to consult the best in the business. This allows you to get quality, custom-made attire and value for your money.

At Penner's, we understand our customers' needs and are ready to help you make the right decision. We offer only the best suits, shirts and accessories and free custom alterations at the time of purchase. Contact us or call 210-226-2487 if you have questions about our products and services!