Once confined to the realm of old ladies, navy is making a modern comeback. Navy dresses, blazers, trousers and even tops have appeared in the shops and on fashion blogs, and how they’re styled is surprising.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with navy and think of it as dark and dreary, and, well, a bit drab. I mean, what do you pair it with? More navy? Black – but isn’t there a rule about that?
The truth is, it’s far more versatile than you ever could have imagined.
The secret is to look at navy as a base colour, like black, or grey. Use it as the basis for your outfit, and build on it with the colours that suit your mood. It sounds a bit tricky, but I’ve put together lots of lovely inspiration below, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve chosen some colour palettes, outfit combinations, and styling ideas below, and hopefully they should inspire you to be confident in your outfits, and hopefully get excited! A navy dress really is a new work wardrobe essential.
Here’s how to wear one:
With Bright Colours
You might not expect it, but bright yellow is a great colour to wear with navy. It’s cheery, but it’s not too whimsical. Stick to only a couple of yellow accessories, and keep any other colours minimal. Balance the outfit with nude shoes to keep it down-to-earth.
Bright colours are surprisingly easy to pair with navy, and you’ll find that most colours do actually go. The key is to stick to only a couple of shades, to avoid it being too shouty. Navy provides a dark base, so bright colours really pop against it. Temper the outfit with neutrals such as cream or nude if you want to tone it down.
Red, white and blue is a classic combination, and can be nautical, patriotic, or even French chic depending on how you wear it. For a chic look, keep it classy with darker shades of navy and berry red – or for a more cheerful and fun look throw in patterns such as polka dots.
With workplaces moving into the 21st century and becoming less formal, more women are moving towards wearing grown-up fashion in the office instead of more traditional workwear. Bright pink is a popular way to bring some feminine personality into your workwear wardrobe, and with good reason. It works especially well with navy, a more traditional colour, which keeps it professional. It also works particularly well with navy and white stripes.
Pastels are always a Spring favourite, but did you know they go with navy? Yep, pastels too. Navy can be quite dark, depending on the shade, and pastels are a really good way to lighten up an outfit and stop it from being heavy and dull.
Pale pink and navy go together especially well, and it’s a great combination for showing your feminine side, whilst remaining professional. Choose gold metal accents for an extra touch of class.
Mint green is having a bit of a lovely moment right now, and navy works as a great base colour. Play off the freshness with clean lines and bright accessories to keep it smart. I went for a zing of colour with bright pink shoes for a bit of “you go girl”, but you could stick with tonal mint shades for a more subtle look.
Everyone seems to be crushing on coral, and is it any wonder? This summery shade of gorgeous is both seaside and chic. Pairing it with gold, stone and navy is a great way to bring grown-up fashion into the office. Plus this belt from Ted Baker is super cute.
Navy and cream is a classic combination that can be somehow both formal and relaxed. It’s great for when you’re not sure how dressy you need to go – maybe you have an event at work that you’re unsure about, or a business meeting that could go either way. Or maybe you want to head to the park after work to enjoy the sun, and you don’t want to feel stuffy and overdressed. Either way, the contrast of the light cream against the dark navy is a foolproof way to look polished every time.
For a chic look that’s perfect for work, you can’t go wrong with neutrals. Great for showing off a pop of nail varnish, keep the pieces simple and polished and add accents in the shade of your choice. Coral is always a winner!
If you’re struggling to make grey exciting in a corporate office, navy is the perfect counterbalance. Pair with navy and gold accessories, and you’ve got an easy recipe for refined elegance that shows you’re in control.
I hope this post has given you some inspiration on how to wear a navy dress, obviously there’s far more scope for experimentation than this article can go into, but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas. Navy’s actually quite a fun colour to play with, despite appearances, as it does actually go with most things. For more ideas and inspiration on wearing navy, amongst other things, visit my Pinterest boards, as I post a lot of outfit ideas there.
What are your top tips for wearing navy dresses? Which outfit combination is your favourite? Let me know below.