Does Navy Go With Black?

by Stacey Kole

Some rules need to be thrown into the "outdated" file, and one such is the oft-touted notion that you can never wear navy with black. Truth be told, both are neutral colors and go together as well as any other neutral combo. Take a cue from runways and style divas like Victoria Beckham and Alexa Chung, who illustrate that the combination of navy and black is fast becoming ubiquitous. All it takes is a bit of fashion savvy to pull the look off seamlessly.

A Keen Eye for Color

While it’s easy to pair neutrals like tan, gray and white with basic black because of the stark contrast in hues, working with navy and black is a bit more complicated. The trick lies in choosing the right shade of navy so that the overall appearance looks intentional and not like a style misstep. Making this combination work demands that the shade of navy is truly blue; both colors must stand individually as navy blue and dark black, not midnight navy and off-black. If the contrast is readily visible, navigating the look becomes much easier.

Make It Obvious

Make sure your pairings are both obvious and deliberate by choosing more than just a navy frock with a barely seen, skinny black belt; instead, make the representations of each color substantial. For example, wear a black pencil skirt, sheer navy-blue blouse and black ankle booties or don a navy sheath with a black blazer, black hosiery and matching pumps. Carry a handbag that either combines the colors in a print or blocked style to further tie the look together.

Tantalizing Textures and Playful Prints

One easy way to ensure that the colors don’t blend or run together is by mixing the textures of your black and navy pieces. For instance, choose a pair of navy patent leather pointy-toe pumps, a sleeveless black shift dress and a navy satin jacket. Or opt for a navy sequined tank, black tuxedo pants, oversize black-and-silver statement earrings and black strappy heels. If you’re still feeling wary, look for pieces with prints that do the color mixing for you. A cool pair of tapered pants in a navy-and-black micro-print or a colorblock dress using the two hues helps you rock this chic neutral look with confidence.

Even More Color

Don’t be shy about adding a third color to your striking navy-and-black combination. This makes your styling seem more deliberate and works to offset the otherwise dark and neutral vibe. For example, wear a flowing navy silk dress, cropped black sequined bolero, black heels and a bright clutch in crimson or turquoise. Keep jewelry to a minimum so as not to overwhelm your strong color statement. A more conservative approach involves mixing in a third neutral – think a white tank or shell, black trousers and a navy blazer for a polished office ensemble.

About the Author

Stacey Kole worked for five years as managing editor of the style and pop-culture magazine Savvy, where she traveled coast-to-coast covering all things fashion and beauty. In addition to daily writing and editing duties, she interviewed and penned cover stories on such celebrities as Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough and “Twilight” star Ashley Greene.

Photo Credits

  • Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images