Long black cardigan with jeans

Is It a Faux Pas? How to Easily Style Navy and Black Together

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If you grew up with the style rules of the past, then you know it was a no-no to wear both navy and black together. Yet just like with all of the other fashion rules we’ve heard, have you ever analyzed the “why” behind them? I think that’s the first step to overcoming those practices that we’ve heard over and over.

Quote of the day: “Enrich your palette. Expand the canvas. There’s always so much more to learn.” Martin Scorsese

In fact, I knew that the idea of navy and black in the same outfit would be a challenge for Lesley. She once shared this story from her past: “I had on a black dress & pumps, but put on navy tights in the morning because it was dark in the room.  As I was getting out of the car at work, I noticed the faux pas. Luckily I was only about 5 blocks from Walmart, so I went over and bought a pair of black tights to remedy the situation.”

You may think it wasn’t nice of me to ask Lesley to put together an outfit with navy and black knowing her history. Yet how do we grow and learn if we don’t challenge ourselves? And Lesley succeeded by finding the perfect and easiest way ever to combine the two neutral colors.
Then she even challenged herself to style the two colors again here.

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Styling navy and black

Jeans: Style & Co (boyfriend cut)~~ Cardigan: Zenana Premium ~~ Top: Chicos ~~ Boots: Franco Sarto~~ Necklace: Chicos ~~ Purse: Maruca

Lesley’s Challenge with Navy and Black

Once Lesley came up with the realization that dark denim is navy, then the idea of navy and black seemed so much more palatable.
Let’s talk about why that is. Denim is one of those materials that is seen in absolutely every age group. From kids to senior citizens alike, it’s now considered a classic.

One of the reasons why we consider that denim goes with everything is because we have seen it over and over. It’s called the mere exposure effect, that by seeing something on repeat, you become accustomed to it.

Therefore, if you have any struggles with pairing a color or how to style something, one way to make it easier is to wear it with denim.

Insider tip: That is exactly one of the reasons I love my chambray denim shirts so much. In fact, I’ve showcased 5 different ways to wear it.

BTW, this pair of dark wash denim is a boyfriend cut just as I showcased earlier this year. The style is more relaxed with a straight leg. In my example, I cuffed the jeans to show off the booties whereas Lesley let the jeans hang over the boots.
You can wear your boyfriend’s jeans and booties either of these ways and still be modern and stylish.

Woman over 70 with navy and black

Another Classic: The White T-Shirt

Another classic is the white shirt. Whether it’s a t-shirt or a button-up blouse, it’s one of those items that can be paired with everything in your closet.

Many of my friends will obsess over the details with their white t-shirts. Is the neckline perfect, how thick is it, and especially the fit of it. It’s good to try to find white shirts that you like, but I always say don’t expect everything to be perfect.

Why? For one reason, most times you are wearing the shirt as a base or secondary item, meaning the focus isn’t on the white shirt at all. And secondly, I don’t imagine it will be one of those clothing items that you will keep for years and years. It gets dirty and worn out and will need to be replaced.
Therefore, why stress yourself out over something so trivial?

Insider tip: Don’t love crew neck tees much? Then change the focus with a necklace or scarf.

The Accessories for Lesley’s Navy and Black Outfit

One of the best kinds of necklaces against a solid-colored top is a statement necklace. Lesley chose a dark blue long necklace which creates a vertical line down the front of the white tee.

Insider tip: When you chose your necklace for the outfit, don’t always think about matching it to the top. If it hangs on top of the top and is the same color, you won’t notice it at all. Instead, think about a contrasting color necklace. For example, we tried this experiment with the same necklace against all kinds of different tops.

The other jewelry items are silver in this outfit. Silver is always a nice contrast against a dark background. For example, the earrings stand out wonderfully against Lesley’s brunette hair. And the bracelet shows up against the black cardigan.

Then her purse for the day is one of her favorite shops from back in Denver. They are called Maruca and you can find them online. I like how the print bag adds more interest to this look than if Lesley had chosen a black purse.

How to pair navy and black

Long Black Cardigan

The three of us showcased examples of how to wear the long cardigans for our Ageless style group. If you aren’t comfortable wearing the longer cardigans, then wearing them with jeans is the easiest way to start styling them.

In fact, I always feel so glamourous in my long cardigans because of how they move and flow when I walk.

The best part about these long cardigans is how you can dress them up or have them be part of a casual look. Anything goes. In fact, I once styled my long teal cardigan 5 ways here with a crazy option too.

Black Booties with Fun Socks

The last part of the navy and black outfit is the black boots that Lesley wore. Just so you know, Lesley doesn’t wear high heels, yet this height of booties works for those of you who prefer flats.

What I love is how Lesley added a bit of whimsey with her socks. It’s not something you notice when she’s standing, yet when she sits down, you get a glimpse of print socks.

There are many ways to think about your socks and how to wear them with boots in the winter. In fact, I’ve blogged about it before here. Adding in a fun pair of socks can give the entire look more personality so don’t be afraid to include them as part of your outfit.

Navy and black for older women

Navy and Black

So back to the question of why we had been taught not to pair navy and black together in the past?? Since they are both considered neutrals, it only makes sense that they CAN be styled together.

The fact of the matter is many times they look alike. And because they look alike, it can create a very dark look. Possibly it was thought that you made a mistake by pairing them together (like in Lesley’s story) and who wants a fashion mistake?

Yet even if they do look alike, we have to remember that we love a monochromatic outfit, so it shouldn’t be bad to wear the two similar colors together.

The moral of the story that Lesley has shown, is that it’s easy to use your dark denim as the navy and add in black with another item. Feel free to lighten it up with a lighter neutral or color, and then you’ll be ready to face the world.

Other options with navy can be found with Charlotte here and Jodie here.

Navy and black

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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