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How to Wear Navy and Black Together: 5 Chic Looks for Work

A controversial color combo gets a 2020 makeover.

By Tory Hoen

Brace yourself. Today we tackle a divisive topic: how to wear navy and black together. For some, this combination has long been considered a sartorial faux pas. I grew up under a less rigorous set of rules, but still, I avoided the different ways to wear navy and black for the majority of my young life. That all changed when I moved to Paris and realized that this controversial color combo was not only acceptable, but actually de rigueur for Parisians.

Upon arriving in the French capital, the first thing I noticed was what appeared to be a city-wide ban on color. It seemed like nine out of ten Parisians were clad in head-to-toe black. But upon closer inspection, I realized there was color in the mix—navy!—and it was everywhere. Black sweaters were accented with navy scarves; navy dresses were topped with black leather jackets; dark denim was complemented by oversized black sweaters. Everyone from business people to high-fashion trendsetters were rocking the look. In an effort to assimilate, I adopted navy and black as my go-to colors and never looked back.

You might be thinking, “That’s all well and good if you’re zipping around Paris on a scooter, but what if you’re a professional woman who needs to dress for the office or a particularly important Zoom call?” Fair question. Below, we present five ways to wear navy and black for all your work-life scenarios. 

Keep it Subtle

Not ready to dive deep into the black and blue waters? That’s fine! Dip your toe in with a classic, elegant pair of black heels. They’ll elevate (literally and figuratively!) any blue dress, adding a bit more power to your look without making too big of a statement (save that for the earrings!)
Not so into dresses or heels these days? We hear you. Our new mold-to-your-feet Rowan flats are a special and practical alternative on days when you’re hitting the pavement or strolling in the park.

Throw in a Completely Contrasting Color

Black and navy aren’t exactly opposites on the color wheel. I mean, how many times have you held up a shirt or a dress and wondered, “is this black or dark blue?” Throwing in a totally different shade—like a crisp white underpinning with a blue jardigan and black pants—guarantees the black and navy shades stand out, while making the whole outfit look sharp and purposeful.

Go for a Pop

Here at M.M., we’re firm believers that every color goes with black, and a bright pop can make any look go from subtle to superwoman. So why not swap out a soft neutral with a bold blue? An unexpected pairing will make you stand out in a crowd of creams and grays.

Put Blue on a Pedestal

The most classically chic way to pair navy and black is to use black as a base, and let the blue stand out up top. What’s great about this look is that not only do black pants elongate your legs, but a blue top frames the face and draws the eyes up. It’s a win-win all over.

Just Go For It

One way to play with shapes and proportions is to use the differences between black and blue to break up an outfit. Try pairing a solid, slightly oversized top—like the Para—with a curve-hugging baltic blue Harlem skirt for a head-to-knee knit look that’s both cozy and multi-dimensional. White sneakers on the bottom keep the look fresh and not too matchy-matchy.

Tory Hoen

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer whose debut novel will arrive in February 2022. She spent five years as the Creative Director of Brand at MM.LaFleur (where she founded The M Dash!) and has written for New York Magazine, Fortune, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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