As a client consultant for Anderson & Sheppard, I’m frequently asked by customers for advice on cloth and colour. Judging how adventurous someone wants to be is key to the job, but you do find men that come for a classic navy suit and end up buying something a little more unusual as well, on impulse.
When they want something a little different, I often recommend experimenting with colour rather than pattern. It’s more subtle. Most bunches will have three or four plain blues. The darkest will be navy – very dark, very classic. The next will still be a dark blue – with a little more colour, but still serious and business-like. Take a look at the next blue. It’s not a royal blue, you could barely even call it a mid-blue, but it has definite strength in colour. Wear it and you’ll be a touch more colourful than all your contemporaries.
I particularly like stronger colours like that in flannel. Too smooth and it could look plasticky. The nap of flannel gives the colour depth.
The same applies with grey, to an extent. Paler greys are still very classic while being that little bit unusual. But obviously there’s no colour to add with grey. Instead, I prefer playing with the texture of greys. Start with a plain weave and then compare it to a pick-and-pick (where you can see the interweaving black and white threads). That adds a little surface texture while still being, really, a plain grey.
Then you’ve got nailhead (small, regular lines of dots, like the heads of nails) and, one step up, bird’s eye (larger, interlocking circles). This is before we consider any checks or herringbones. With grey, consider texture.