How to Wear Black and Navy Together


2016 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to wear black and navy togetther; links below have also been updated. You may also want to check out our discussion on what tights to wear with navy skirts!

Can you wear black and navy together?  What about a dark blue pinstriped blazer — how can you mix that with black suiting pieces?  Reader D wonders:

I scored a dark blue (navy ish) pinstripe pant suit, but then realised that pant suits don’t really suit me. Which shades of blue go well with a solid black skirt? I’m afraid it might be difficult to mix and match because this is both blue AND pinstriped. Can I also wear it with a solid black dress? I’ve just tried that combo on in the mirror and am afraid that it might look funny. I’m hoping to use it for interviews and eventually work, in the finance industry.

Great question, reader D! We’ve talked about how to wear black and navy together before, but not in a long while. (We’ve also talked about what color tights to wear with a navy skirt, and rounded up some great navy suits for interviewing.)  I’m curious to hear what the readers think, but this has always been my rules of thumb:

All shades of blue go well with black — so long as you don’t look like you got dressed in the dark.  This is really the trick — the closer the blue is to black, the more you have to wear it with intention. So how do you wear a dark blue and black — with intention?

  • Wear black and blue with a third color.  When I wear black I either tend to wear it with all black, or with at least two other colors — so if I were wearing a navy jacket with a black blouse, I might pair it with a charcoal skirt, or perhaps a purple necklace (or, hey, purple pumps).
  • navy-black-scarfAdd another piece that mixes black and blue.  For example, wearing a black sheath dress, a pinstriped blazer, and adding a black and navy floral scarf can be a fun way to pick up the theme — but you want your blues to match pretty closely, so this can be tricky.  If you’re not quite so bold with mixing patterns, there are many shoes or necklaces that mix the two. Pictured: a lovely Burberry scarf (a more affordable option is here).
  • Repeat the blue with accessories.  I would not do navy tights if you’re wearing a black dress — but a watch (here’s a great navy Marc by Marc Jacobs watch, or some other blue watches) or a sapphire necklace (or another blue necklace) can also show you’re intentionally wearing black and navy  (For example — notice that the blue version of the Reiss blazer we pictured yesterday, the model is wearing the black and blue blazer, a navy blouse, and black pants.)

This is a great example where playing Closet will help you figure out what to wear with it — it may take a bit of time and effort, but hopefully it’ll be fun.  If you’re still not feeling confident about wearing the pinstriped blazer with black, you can always try it with a solid sheath dress of another color, such as gray, white, purple, or even a teal or green.

Readers, what are your thoughts on wearing black and navy together? What would you try to pair a navy pinstriped blazer with? 


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How to Wear Black and Navy Together


  1. SuziStockbroker :

    I am afraid I do not get navy and black together. More fashionable people can pull it off, I am sure. But I fear I would indeed look like I got dressed in the dark.

  2. I wonder if texture might be a way to help mix navy and black – today I’m wearing a navy sweater and black pants (and I think it looks good, or at least I hope it does) and I believe that one reason it works is that the sweater is a coarse knit in a fairly dramatic shape but the pants are a nondescript black fabric in a simple cut. The difference in texture and structure give – I think! – that sense of intentionality

    • Also, I think that different navies and different blacks work together better and worse – a bluer navy works better with black than a navy with sort of a grey/beige undertone, and a black with that same blue undertone works better with navy than the kind of black with a brown undertone.

  3. Blue-Black Lover :

    I love wearing navy and black together. I usually wear this color combo with a white shirt because I think it helps draw a clear distinction between the navy and black. Also, bolder accessories sometimes help it from looking like a drab uniform.

    I think you could definitely rock a white button down with a navy pinstripe blazer and a black skirt. I would be careful to make sure the fabrics don’t clash (e.g., I wouldn’t wear a black skirt that was nearly the same type of fabric as the jacket, but I would wear a more wool-looking black skirt with a sleeker fabric-ed jacket). But, I can’t see a navy pinstripe blazer working with a black dress.

    Also, I would make sure it’s OK in your industry to wear mismatched separates to a job interview. (It wouldn’t work in mine, but I’m not in finance.)

    • hoola hoopa :

      “Also, I would make sure it’s OK in your industry to wear mismatched separates to a job interview.”

      Agreed. Having this be for an interview changes my thoughts. A blue pinstripe jacket with a black dress doesn’t seem like your best foot forward with people who don’t know you yet. Plus you want to feel as confident as possible when you interview. If you’re hesitant about your outfit, it can affect your overall confidence.

      Generally though, I agree with Kat’s tips. Another, similar to texture, is to colorblock. For example (weekend look), black leggings, black tank, and navy long cardigan.

      • lawsuited :

        +1 on both counts.

        If you’re interviewing in finance, you really should wear a suit, which means matching (not coordinating) top and bottom.

        In terms mixing black and navy in day to day workwear, one of my favourite go-tos is a colour-blocked outfit of black wide-leg pants, a black silk shell, a navy 3/4 length jacket and a white necklace.

    • Diana Barry :

      +1. More than the navy and black, this concerns me about the OP. Just wear a suit!!! Don’t try to mix non-matching clothes to make a suit.

  4. I think navy and black are great together, what I think is much harder is pinstripes suit separates with non-matching pieces. Even the blazer pictures – which isn’t a true pinstripe, I don’t think – doesn’t look that great. It looks much like other slightly off online shopping pairings of, say, suit and sandals.

    • +1. And wearing black and blue together can work beautifully, but it is way harder than the article makes it out to be.

  5. Coach Laura :

    I am in finance and would not wear part of a pinstripe suit to an interview: It’s too informal for finance. Agree with AIMS that pinstripes don’t do well as separates. Also we’ve talked before about sheath dresses and blazers for interviews – a look that I love – but I wouldn’t wear a pinstriped jacket with a non-matching dress for an interview. For daily wear, that’s more of a style and a know-your-office question and with the right combo as Kat mentions it might be ok. If you have nothing else to wear for the interview, I’d suggest wearing the complete pinstripe suit with pants (even if you don’t like pants) over a combo.

  6. bankermom :

    I love black and navy together. I scored a great pair of Aquatalia booties very inexpensively at the Rack 2 yrs ago that are black and navy suede and I always feel great in them.

    BUT – I do wear a lot of navy on its own, and struggle w how to style for winter – for instance, a navy pencil skirt, or a navy sheath dress. How do you ladies deal with the tights/boots/shoes for those kinds of things?

    • Anonymous :

      I wear navy dresses and skirts with black tights and black shoes.

    • I wear navy dresses and pencil skirts with navy shoes and tights. Sometimes I do grey tights and navy shoes too.

  7. Navy and black might work in some cases, but the outfit described… unless it is a very pale navy, I really would not be using it for work, and especially not for interviews.

    Mostly because navy and black are so similar that it may end up look like you’ve gotten dressed in the dark to less fashion-forward people.

    For example — notice that the blue version of the Reiss blazer we pictured yesterday, the model is wearing the black and blue blazer, a navy blouse, and black pants.
    I would use that as an example of it not working, and the black pants looking like she has picked the wrong item out of her wardrobe.

  8. I think navy and black only go together if the navy is clearly a blue. My rule of thumb is that if you can’t tell in dim light whether it is navy or black, then it won’t work with black.

    • Excellent rule of thumb Bonnie! And as for the OP – for an interview in finance, get a proper suit!

      • Agreed. I can sympathize with starting out in finance not making much money and suddenly needing 4-5 suits, but this is what sales at ann taylor/jcrew and outlet shopping is for.

    • Miss Take :

      I agree. True navy can look very close to black, so I wouldn’t mix them.

    • Yeah, I absolutely agree with this. I think part of the issue is that “navy” means different things to different people. I have no problem with blue/black or cobalt/black or dark blue/black, but to me navy is the dark dark blue that’s very close to black and you have to hold them next to each other to tell it’s not. I don’t like that combo together, but any other blue + black work for me.

      But mostly as long as it looks intentional it works, too. A friend of mine has a colorblocked black/navy dress. While the colors are too close for me to wear if I were picking separates, since they’re both in the dress, it looks intentional. So black/navy colorblocking in one item, or print, looks different (and works better, IMO) than wearing black and navy separates. So I would not paid a navy pinstripe item with a black item.

      But there’s enough black/navy around these days too that I don’t think someone’s lost their fashion sense (or ability to see color) for wearing it.

  9. I love black and navy. Black cigarette pants, navy dolman top, gray booties.

  10. professional :

    Black suit with a navy silk blouse and black pumps is a perfectly professional interview outfit, for example.

    I think what risks making the outfit unprofessional is that pinstripes don’t pair well with other things.

  11. I want to buy the Louis Vuitton neverfull in epi leather in navy (indigo). People say I can wear it with black — do you agree? (I wear a ton of navy – it’s my color…)