I have never understood why chocolate is not worn more often and embraced as the third classic colour for tailored garments, alongside the long-established staples of navy and grey. Allow me to present a brief case of why you may wish to consider adding some handsome chocolate brown tailoring to your wardrobe.
Firstly, chocolate is an extremely versatile colour, like grey and navy, and experimenting with its many different variant hues can allow for chocolate tailoring to be dressed up or down accordingly. Chocolate brown presents rich, warm colours and brown dye takes beautifully to wool cloths, which makes up garments with real depth of colour.
Often, different shades of chocolate can allow for tailored garments to be mixed and matched, or put to different purposes. Deep chocolate birdseye cloths, twills and plainweaves make for excellent cloths for business suiting which remains suitably understated, whilst adding interest to your working wardrobe. Alternatively, more dressy chocolate cloths can make for excellent options for more flamboyant cocktail dress and occasionwear. Two-tone chocolate cloths, bolder checks, stripes or more elaborate patterns revolving around different shades of brown, can mark suits out as very stylish, sophisticated options for formal wear.
Consider the two outfits below. The first is my bespoke chocolate brown 1930s inspired cocktail suit, cut by The Cad & the Dandy – you can read more about it on my blog. The suit is cut in an extremely fine, glossy two-tone super 160s wool, with a smooth finish. The cloth is woven in a fine two-tone chocolate herringbone, with a subtle turquoise pinstripe running through it. The elaborate pattern, fineness of the wool and the strong shine present in the cloth all mark it out as a distinctly flamboyant choice.
I hope you’ll agree however (whether you’re a fan of my penchant for 30s style or not) that the suit benefits from being cut in a dark brown cloth. It ticks all the boxes; it’s dressy and makes a real sartorial statement, without being vulgar or too brash. The chocolate colour helps the suit to retain a sophisticated quality, perfect for elegant yet striking formal attire.
The second outfit is more appropriate for business dress and for smart-casual wear, revolving as it does around the use of tailored separates. Here, some plain chocolate wool trousers from Moss Bespoke are complimented by a soft grey checked jacket by Ted Baker. These trousers are cut in a mid-weight brown sharkskin, with a firm finish and a mix of brown and grey yarns that soften the richness of the chocolate tones in the fabric, making it slightly more subtle. This also has the effect of giving the trousers a cooler colour tone, which allows them to be worn with a grey jacket. The muted chocolate tones in the trousers give the outfit an understated, unfussy quality, adding interest to a contemporary smart-casual ensemble.
I hope that these two contrasting outfits not only display the diversity of chocolate colour tones that can be enjoyed in different tailored pieces, but also how easily chocolate can be matched to other colours in your tailored wardrobe. The first outfit is complimented with bright, yet cool blue and green patterns, bound together by the blue and chocolate paisley notes in the tie, whereas the second outfit demonstrates how a grey jacket can easily be paired with brown trousers, when the chocolate notes in the ensemble take on a cooler hue. This is matched to hot orange and reds here, both in the tie and the checks of the blazer – a direct contrast to the blues and greens of the first ensemble.
Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll agree that these two outfits both work beautifully, and attest to the elegance and panache that chocolate colours can bring to fine tailoring. Chocolate then, is a sophisticated colour choice, easy-to-wear and sits well alongside the classic navy and greys often heralded as the staple colours of classic tailoring. There really is no reason not to embrace the use of chocolate tailoring over the coming season, and I hope that piece this will have encouraged you to sport some more chocolate tailoring in your own winter wardrobe.