The better part of most men’s clothing stores’ suit inventory comes in one color: charcoal gray. The dark matte gray has become the standard of business dress, and by far the most ubiquitous option. It is always appropriate, easy to match, and flattering to nearly all complexions; all of which account for its overwhelming popularity. It also makes charcoal gray almost certain to dominate the male side of any well-dressed social occasion, and therefore one of the hardest colors to stand out uniquely in.
The near-black charcoal is considered the ideal in business formality. Its only competitor is navy blue, another deep hue that offers the same advantages: closeness to the formal black without its tuxedo associations and matching challenges. The universal acceptance of charcoal gray suits makes them a popular first suit for young men, or for anyone who wears suits rarely and needs a single, multipurpose garment to meet all their dress clothing needs.
Any shade of gray is theoretically a neutral color — it has no opposite on the color wheel. There are no automatic “clashes” with gray, which accounts for a large part of its popularity. The neutral base removes the suit from the equation of matching or contrasting colors.
In conclusion, if a man needs to own a suit, one in charcoal gray is likely to be the best choice. The only real equivalent is a navy blue suit, which fills the same basic function. Men who wear suits regularly can even find utility in multiple charcoal suits of differing cuts. A high-formality suit with a double-breasted jacket or a vest can be worn to stand out, and a simple two-button jacket can serve when a more conservative appearance is called for. With the flexibility it affords, a charcoal suit, or several, is a piece of menswear that everyone can find a use for.