Light Colored Suits in Tan, Khaki & Taupe

Getting to Know the Tan Suit

Fashion designers usually refer different terms for just one color or vice versa. This section defines light colors for men’s suits.

Tan color is taken from light and mostly brown hues.

A dark brownish grey, with a bit of green hue, is referred to as dun color.

Meanwhile, khaki is mostly yellowish in color rather than brown and taupe is mostly grey-brown in color.

The descriptions of these colors vary from one fashion brand to another. For some designers, they coin a different term as well so it’s not surprising to read or hear about a different term referring to the same color yet all are guided by the same rules. Choosing any one of these colors is simply a matter of preference in style, skin color, and of course overall cost.

A Formal Tan Suit

Light colored suits are not known for their formality unlike the darker suits. In retrospect, the brown suit was not recognized as business-worthy for a long time and has only been regarded recently as formal wear.

But for sartorialists, lighter colored suits are worn mostly for seasonal fashion such as spring to summer wear which are appropriate for the weather. It would be odd to wear a light colored suit during the fall in the East Coast where the chances of it getting muddied are extremely high. Because of this, tan suits are categorized as business casual wear.

Tan suits are more wearable in the office yet it will not work during formal events and meetings. These light colored suits are more associated for relaxed events. Adding patterns like stripes or checks may make the suit appear more casual as well as plaid prints in various earth tone colors.

Making the Tan Suit

Tan suits are more appropriate for summer made in lighter fabrics made and lighter material in the unlined shoulder area. The most common fabrics are cotton and linen constructed using thin cloths. These suits can also be made without using any dyes to let out the thread’s natural color thus making it appear in lighter tan. For a deeper color, it will again be dyed to create a pattern from many colors of threads woven together. Heavier and textured fabrics such as tweed and corduroy are renowned for a more relaxed look.

Suits made in wool, unlike cotton and linen, are thicker which drapes quite heavily and can add weight to the wearer if not fitted well. A tan suit is made from camelhair which tends to have a yellow-brown color which has a casual appearance. The camelhair jacket is not usually made from the actual animal hair but it is more often made with blended wools that are softer and dyed to mimic camel hair. Natural wools are used without dye in making the suit and have a light brown hue.

Well-Fitted Tan Suit

Suits in tan or khaki colors can be custom made to fit the wearer however he chooses it. It may be straight, loose or slim fit. Linen fabrics which are lightweight are more open to creasing if not fitted to the wearer properly. An ill-fitting suit may hang loosely while a tight fitting one might make the fabric to pinch or bunch in some areas. The mark of a well-fitted suit makes the wearer feel comfortable at all key point such as the shoulder and neck areas, as well as along the arms, and waist area.

It should be noted that of all colors for men’s suits, the lighter hues such as tan, khaki, and light brown are the most unflattering if not fitted well. These colors can highlight shadows and wrinkling with poor draping. If you bought the suit off the rack, you can take it to your local tailor for have it fitted according to your measurements.

The light brown suit as casual clothing can easily be modified according to style. Suit styles that may seem inappropriate for the office may be worn on casual days. A ticket pocket discreetly placed above the standard front pockets give the suit a busier look. Light colors, in any color, can be used as pocket square and folded in any manner by the wearer. Leather patches on the elbows are often visible for tan suit jackets to complete its casual appeal.

Color Matching the Tan Suit

Neutral colors, including those mentioned above, have no comparable and opposing colors in the standard color wheel. You can never go entirely wrong with light colors such as khaki and tan, however wearing dark or bold hues with it may overwhelm the suit in the same way that choosing similar hues yet not exactly its best match. Colors that may not be compatible and should not be paired with light browns are bright and black colors. Do wear complementing colors based on the color wheel that go with tan or brown instead of deviating from it.

Another way to match a tan suit is by pairing its underlying hue which may come as yellow or deep brown undertones. You may not always notice some of the colors but wearing a good color that matches the suit can enhance its underlying color. Matching a khaki suit with a light blue shirt can make your ensemble look carefully put together without the colors clashing. Keeping in mind the underlying tones of your shirt and tie can make all the difference in making your tan suit enhance your best features.

Which Suit? Tan vs. Khaki

Compared with darker suits, light colored suits mentioned in this section are categorized as informal wear.  Although businesses have become more flexible when it comes to office wear and have embraced “business casual” wear in the mix, light colored suits are more acceptable in social gatherings or daytime parties. A gentleman who appreciates a suit and tie would benefit from getting something in a lighter color as well for special occasions that call it, especially around spring or summer where lighter colors and lightweight fabrics are always welcome. The teaching profession and some teachers have adopted light colored suits and a more business casual feel to seem more welcoming and approachable to students.

Although if you work in a conservative business profession, it’s best to wear or stick to your dark suits for formality and keep a few lighter suits for special casual events at the office during the day or weekends.

The tan suit can easily be incorporated in your wardrobe and lends a lighter feel to your business ensemble.