Navy Skirts… and Tights?

tights to wear with navy skirts2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion of the best color tights to wear with navy skirts — and if you like this you may want to check out our Four Week Work Outfit Challenge!

What color tights do you wear with a navy suit? Reader B wonders…

I’m a skirt suit kinda girl, in part because I prefer to commute in flats and then switch to heels at the office. (Since I’m short, most of my suit pants are hemmed for heels.) Winter isn’t a problem for my black and grey suits; I just trade the hose for black tights. (Side note: the Commando tights you recommended are now my absolute favorites.)

Here’s the issue: two of my favorite skirt suits are navy or navy pinstripe. Pairing navy tights with a navy suit seems crazy monochromatic, and most of the heather or grey tights I’ve seen feel a bit casual for the office. So I end up wearing plain old hose, and my legs freeze on the way to work.

Hmmn.  Great question — this is actually the combo that led me, many moons ago, to wear purple fishnets to work (pictured, in a random picture I happened to take that day – navy sweater, navy wool skirt, purple fishnets, purple shoes), although the last time we took a poll on fishnets at the office readers were really against ’em.  (Although, if you want, you can get a pair of purple fishnets here, or a crochet set here.) Poking around a bit online, here are a few more ideas:

– Black tights (worn with black shoes or boots).  I think you should always match your tights to your shoes, and I do advise people to wear black shoes with navy.  The only caveat: make it clear that you know you’re wearing black and navy (and that you didn’t get dressed in the dark).  (I can’t quite find the image credit, but this chat page has an image of a woman wearing a navy skirt and black tights.)  Particularly with the Banana Republic suit you linked to — which is more of a slate, grayish blue — I think black tights would work wonderfully.

– Navy tights — possibly with a fun shoe, such as a pair of purple pumps.

– Colored tights.  This can be pretty daring, depending on the office, so proceed with caution — but I think purple (solid or textured), solid red (perhaps to wear with cordovan shoes) or even solid emerald tights would work.

– I almost hate to suggest this, because I generally think of white tights as being little-girl-ish, but:  I could see a navy skirt, a thick, knit pair of white tights, and a pair of tall, flat brown boots being a really nice look for the office.

Readers, what color tights do you wear with navy skirts?  If you wear navy tights, what color shoes do you wear?

Social media image credit: Deposit Photos / dashek

what tights to wear with navy skirts and dresses - image of a businesswoman with crossed arms in a navy skirt

What are the best tights to wear with navy skirts? If you wear navy tights, do you need navy shoes? Are burgundy tights with a navy skirt too juvenile for, say, a skirt suit? We explored some options...


  1. I definitely do navy suit and navy tights…

  2. Amelia Bedelia :

    Black tights and black shoes with navy tights. It looks really polished and professional.

    Oh, and I am all about rocking the nude fishnets at work – but that won’t solve the warmth issue.

    Just say no to white tights unless you want to be mistaken for the 27 year old paralegal. Trust me on this. unless you are the 27 year old paralegal — in that case, rock ’em!

    • I love nude fishnets! They can be very appropriate.

      • Another vote for nude fishnets. They add just enough texture to be interesting but also blend well with your skin from a distance. I love the Oroblu brand. Won’t keep you warm, though.

  3. I like the cold, my legs don’t get cold, and I don’t like tights with suits (for me, personally. You do you).

    That said, I think you can wear just about any color tights with navy.

  4. Agree with the black tights and black shoes with navy.

    As for the photo credit–the photo is from the late blog(*tear) academichic

  5. SF Bay Associate :

    I wear gray or navy patterened tights with a navy skirt. My navy herringbone ones are especially fabulous.

    • big dipper :

      This! I think wearing patterned navy tights adds some interest so it’s not so overwhelmingly monochromatic.

      Also, slate gray (as opposed to the more casual looking heather), brown or dark red.

      • Do you wear navy shoes with the patterned navy tights? Gray shoes with the slate gray tights?

        • I would probably match the tights, but you could probably go with black shoes for either.

    • Navy herringbone tights sound especially fabulous!

    • WorkingMom :

      Speaking of those Commando tights – they say they have the invisible waistband… how is that in real life? Whenever I wear nylons or tights I do always end up with a little “chub” (for lack of a better word) that sticks out over the top of the tights, unless I hike them up to my ribs, which sometimes I do.

      Just curious how the Commando tights handle that, as I’m sure I’m not the only one! :)

      • I so always get that… can’t comment on the Commando tights, but I tend to buy the high-waisted tights/hike up to the ribs, because otherwise the digging in/rolling down drives me crazy!

        • Anonymous :

          Commando tights have a different waistband that eliminates the “muffin top”. They are my 2nd favorite to falke, which is even better, feels more comfortable and even noticeably looks more luxurious.

  6. With my navy skirts I most frequently just do nude hose and suck it up. If I wear actual tights, I have this cute pair of pewter tights that work well.

  7. Ugh, I’m sorry, but I think Kat really missed the mark on this one. White tights are just not OK for professional adult women. And at least in my head (because I really have never seen anyone in real life try it), purple and navy would seem to clash terribly. Many other colors mentioned would probably work, but not everyone can do colored tights at their workplace.

    That said, has no one ever heard of gray??? Patterned gray tights of almost any shade + colorful accessories or shirt/shell to not make it seem so uniform-like. Done.

  8. Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

    Kat, you look great! I love that combo on you!

    I can’t really wear navy near my face, but I love it for pants and skirts. *taking lots of notes on this thread*

  9. I’m 27 and there is no way in cold hell that I would wear white tights. Either black or brown with matching shoes, or one of the color combinations the others mentioned. Just please, not white tights.

    • Agree… every time I see white tights, it reminds me of the long underwear I used to wear as a kid!

      • Not to mention that I have rarely seen white tights be flattering on an adult.
        I do black, gray and brown. I am actually surprised brown didn’t get a mention.

        • financialfashionista :

          I am also surprised brown didn’t get mentioned…

          I usually wear brown tights and either brown ankle boots or tall boots with my navy skirt. I think it looks fine. I’ve also done black tights/shoes with a brighter blue skirt.

        • Also surprised.

          I wear black shoes + tights only with black and whites/ lights, and brown shoes + tights with everything else, which includes a lot of navy/ midnight blue for me. Brown shoes and navy suits were worn only by ‘those flashy Europeans’ when I was starting out in London in the 90s and it still seems a great combo to me.

  10. TJ – would you all consider a holiday-esque PJ box set (red thermal tee, red/blue/green flannel pants) to be an inappropriately familiar Christmas gift for a lady garden party attendee you’d been seeing for 3 months?

    • Interested in the answers to this one. Same situation, but I went for something cutesy that related to our first date. And yet I’m still kind of uncertain … sigh.

    • See, I get my sister PJs a lot, so I guess on the one hand it’s kind of familiar (i.e. we’re family), but it’s certainly not INTIMATE. I think PJs are a nice gift. But I’m not a lady garden party attendee, if that makes any difference…

    • This totally depends on the guy, but my husband hates getting anything like pj’s from me because that’s the kind of thing a mom buys.

    • I don’t think it’s inappropriately familiar. If said attendee would like holiday PJs (and wears PJs in general), go for it.

    • He attends your lady garden parties and you’re worried about being inappropriately familiar with him? I think partying together is about as familiar as you can get. I think pj’s sound fine.

      • Saacnmama :

        Oh dear! Now I’m blushing over the time–years ago–when I found a great price on something silk for my BiL. All reports (ie from him & my sister) were that he loved them, but …. I hope they knew already that he’s not my type!

    • TO Lawyer :

      I think it’s appropriate if you think your partner would like it. Perhaps on the more scandalous side, what about some s3xy nightwear for you as a gift for your partner? (If you don’t already do that on a regular basis). I have never met a guy who didn’t appreciate that as a gift (Trying to be gender-neutral but my experience is limited in this context)

    • If he wears PJ’s already, then you’re good. If he’s not a PJ wearer, I wouldn’t.

    • Anon Today :

      What does lady garden party mean? I’ve seen it on this site a few times but I’ve never wanted to ask since I seem to be the only one out of the loop!

  11. I’m with gray tights – not heathered (unless it’s a more casual look – not usually with suits), but pewter or slate. I have a great pair from Target of all places. Or navy patterned. I still can’t really handle black tights/hose with navy – I know everyone here says it’s okay, I can handle black shoes with navy (esp. patent), but I still don’t like black hose with navy. I also like burgundy or purple, if appropriately office-muted. (I think navy and purple are great together.)

    White tights – I get the cream sweater-y look Kat’s describing, but I don’t really see it as a very office-y look. It would have to be cream/ivory, not white, and really, I think with navy it’s too little-girl-y. I could see pulling it off with a winter white or camel skirt and tan/cognac boots, maybe, especially with a big wintery sweater. But that’s not really a good suit substitute.

  12. Migraine Sufferer :

    What about with brown suits? My best suit is brown with maroon pinstripes.

  13. I’d do grey tights, perhaps with a pattern on them. And yes, patterns are a know-your-office kind of thing as well.

    I was rocking purple tights yesterday and loved them.

  14. Navy opaque tights that aren’t too thick work well as do ones with pattern like these:
    Forever 21 has some great patterns for under $10.

  15. Anonymous :

    Trying on c’cktail dresses this week, I’ve found a maker I’d never heard of before–Adriana Papell. The dresses are gorgeous and even make me look good. Unfortunately, they cost about 2x my budget. 6 pm doesn’t even list them, not under “A” or “P”. Where else should I look?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Nordstrom sells them and they can go deeply discounted. They are always on ebay too.

    • I’ve seen this brand at both TJ Maxx/Marshalls and Off Saks.

    • It looks like there are 70 of them on sale at 50% off or more at Nordies:

    • Anonymous :

      They are frequently sold through TJ Maxx and Marshalls at a discount.

    • Anonymous NYer :

      Marshall’s always has a ton. check out ebay too.

  16. Mink (a kind of grey brown color) looks really polished with navy.

  17. Dark burgundy/cranberry tights look great with my navy skirt suit.

  18. I do black tights and black suede shoes with my navy suit.

    I usually do: navy pinstripe suit dress, grey silk blouse underneath (I know this look has been debated on this site, but I love the look) and jacket.

    The suit is the J. Crew super 120’s pinstripe with the Emmaleigh dress. For some reason, I prefer the black tights/black shoes when I’m wearing the dress. It seems more purposeful than when I’m wearing the skirt + jacket.

    I have not tried this look with other blue suits. I am not against grey tights, but then I’d want grey shoes that match the tights. I also would not be opposed to maroon/burgundy, but again, I think I’d want maroon/burgundy shoes.

    • People say black tights and black shoes with navy is a faux pas, but I do it too, MB. No worries. My navy isn’t close enough to be almost-black.

  19. Whoops – looks like I’ve been committing a fashion faux pas without even knowing it. I don’t always match my tights to my shoes, especially when it’s just business casual (of course I would if I was suited up or otherwise dressed formally). I’ve worn black patterned tights with grey suede heels, “stone” patent heels, cognac boots, etc. Is this reasonably normal, or is everybody assuming I got dressed in the dark?

    • I don’t think tights have to match shoes. Personally, I like to do it because of the ostensible lengthening effect of having stuff match, but that’s just me and my hangups. I always wear black shoes with black hose/tights because don’t like wearing shoes that are lighter in color than my legs, but again, this is totally a personal quirk – I know lots of people wear colored shoes with black tights, it just looks weird on me. I have no problem with tights + boots of different colors (totally different effect on proportions).

  20. Any recommendations for good quality, but not too expensive tights? I really like J. Crew’s level of quality and price, but their colors are so limited this season!

    • Hue. I love their super opaque tights. Hit up Macy’s during a sale to get a good deal.

    • Late to this but dkny. I have been wearing a pair weekly for at least a year.

  21. saacnmama :

    I’m slowly making the change from schlumpy professor to having enough fashion sense to work in an office. For the first time in my 40+ years, I have been looking for a dress for a specific occasion this week. I’ve probably tried on about 60 dresses, and have narrowed myself down to 6. I’ll choose when I can see what my sisters are wearing. The best part is that, even though I’m not happy with my body right now, I really do like the way these look on me! Top 2 contenders are
    and a dress that has a black taffeta skirt and a black lace over nude bodice.
    For either one, I would need a wrap of some sort (to cover the flabby triceps)

    Because I’ve seen so many positive comments here on Nordstrom’s personal shoppers, that they can save money and help pull together looks you wouldn’t think of on your own, I made an appointment. It was a disaster. Most of the dresses were far above my knees, even though I said that might be OK but I was more likely to want tea length or at the knee. She totally ignored my preference for natural fibers, and everything she pulled out was around twice the price I specified.

    Stops 2 & 3 were Black Market, White House and Dillard’s. Salesclerk at Dillard’s was wonderful, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay the full retail prices.

    Also because of comments on here, I checked out Nordstrom’s rack. It was *amazing*. That’s where most of these dresses came from. I couldn’t believe that in a discount place like that, they were so willing to help out with getting another size or whatever. I also saw that when I am ready to get an office wardrobe, there will be lots to choose from there.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you all thanks for doing your thing, letting me eavesdrop, and responding to my questions!

  22. Gwenn Ellen :

    I have been working 25 years and this is the first time I have heard/seen this topic discussed. Bravo! One is never too old to learn.

  23. SnarkyAtLaw :

    I regularly wear black shoes and navy tights with my navy dresses and skirts. OOPS. Consider it a hangup from working in men’s fashion, where contrast is preferred but if you must match your socks to something, match to trousers, not shoes.

    Probably in the same vein, I prefer contrasting tights with a navy dress/skirt if I can get away with a little more of a fun look. I’m LOVING this season’s emerald, and dark purple has been a great option for me. I haven’t found the right pair of gray tights yet; they seem to either look unintentional, like it’s just faded black, or they make my legs look thick. Which is all fairness, they kind of are.

    I also have a pair of navy and black plaid tights that are fun to wear with a navy sheath and black boots if I’m toeing the line between fun and conservative. I might have to look into a pair of plum sweater tights too.

  24. I just wore a J. Crew navy pinstripe skirt suit + navy solid tights + black patent or cordovan heels in Federal Court several times in the last month w/o any odd looks or comments. For court, I don’t think colors, patterns or fishnets woudl have worked. For the office, I think that any color that would be considered as a neutral would be fine. I also like the idea of layering a nude patterned or fishnet over an opaque tight for the office (not court).

  25. Gemma Wyse :

    Navy skirt goes perfect with barley black tights alternative Navy skirt with 60 denier opaque black tights, sexy or what.
    Bearing in mind women with skinny shapeless legs should only wear trousers, while on the other hand women with great legs IE big calf’s & a nice shape in general should only wear skirts to knee length
    Example if your skirt size is 8_12 you should only wear trousers , skirt size 12 _16 you should always wear knee length skirts, if your skirt size is 18 or above you should revert back to trousers.