Like a blue blazer, the conservative navy blue suit serves as part of the backbone of a gentleman's wardrobe. With a white shirt and a conservative necktie, a plain navy suit can take you anywhere. You will be accepted at the best restaurants and clubs without even a twitch of an eyebrow. With a small wardrobe of ties, no one will even notice that you only own one suit at your first real job.
Stripes or no stripes?
Eventually, as your wardrobe grows, I highly encourage the inclusion of striped suits. Especially if you can get to England and get yourself a well tailored suit with a genuine braided pinstripe – there is truly nothing quite so aristocratic. If, however, you are starting your wardrobe, I highly recommend that you begin with a conservative, plain navy blue suit. It is a tiny bit more conservative than a striped suit, and, as a result, will be that much more versatile.
In the 21st century, a blue suit will take you to any event that is labeled "Black Tie". You are not pretending to have a tuxedo, you are simply opting to wear a blue suit – do so with aplomb and do not discuss the restrictions placed on the invitation. In the same vein, if you are heading to Stinson Beach for the weekend, your blue suit will take you to the best restaurant in town elegantly. And, yet, at the same time you will be ready for San Francisco the next day. Your blue suit will take you to the opera and the Carnelian Room or to City Lights and Pomodoro Pizza with equal ease and comfort. As a young gentleman especially, you will find that wearing a suit will get you a few more "yes, sirs" and "right this way, sirs", and a few fewer, "do you have an ID?"
Components of a suit.
Like your blue blazer, the best blue suit will have a fairly straight cut three button jacket. The notable difference between the suit jacket and the blazer is the presence of metal buttons on the blazer. The suit will, at the most basic level, have plastic buttons of the same color as the fabric of the suit. Higher class suits, like your Bond Street tailored model, may employ more expensive materials for the buttons, but they will always blend in with the color of the suit. The trousers should be plain front, cut much like your khakis, though they may be a bit more tailored. Your girlfriend may like pleats, but they are wrong on anything but your kilt. Trousers may be finished with or without cuffs, but a cuffed look seems to be a bit more opulently traditional.
If your budget requires that you choose between a blue blazer and a blue suit, I would go with a good, conservative blue suit. You can use the jacket like a blazer, and it has an austere look that pairs well with khakis.
Up next: Your Shirt Wardrobe!!