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

February 17, 2019

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. (As a child, MM stylist Annabel was vehemently instructed never to combine the two.) 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 businesspeople to French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt was 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?’ Fair question. There’s a ton of inspiration out there for how to wear black and navy when you’re off-duty, but there’s no roadmap for how to combine these dark hues for the corporate world—until now! Below, we present five ways to wear navy and black for work.

1. Wear a long black layer over a navy column.

The Graham kimono in black over the Annie dress in galaxy blue.

Ready to look long and lean? Create a “column effect” by pairing a long navy dress with an easy kimono-style layer that will stand out in a sea of “office cardigans.”

2. Pair a crisp navy dress with black heels.

The Emma dress in galaxy blue and the Vanessa pump in black.

Black may be your go-to “power color,” but navy carries its own distinct form of strength. For a look that oozes confidence, we love the combination of a strong silhouette in galaxy blue and a delicate black heel.

3. Wear a boxy navy top over a slim black pant.

The Didion top in deep indigo and Foster pant in black with the Elara earrings and Vanessa pump.

For more casual days, pair an easy office top with form-fitting (machine-washable) pants. This pair has a clever adjustable hem, so in the event that you really are zipping around Paris on a scooter, you can crop them accordingly. Top it off with the Elara earrings.

4. Top a pair of black trousers with a sharp navy jacket.

An easy pair of work pants is elevated by adding a tailored navy jacket on top. Notice how a jacket balances the tailored fit of the pants, creating a professional yet elegant look—whether you’re at a board meeting or a soirée.

5. Accent a navy work dress with a skinny black belt.

The Etsuko dress in deep indigo.

The black version of this dress is MM.LaFleur’s best-selling style, but the deep indigo version provides a slightly softer alternative. Accent a three-quarter-length-sleeve dress with a waist-flattering black belt, and feel poised and comfortable as you jet between cities.

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Tory Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. 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. She loves doughnuts and inter-species friendships. Read more of Tory's posts.

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