Monday, 13 April 2015
The Dressing Well Blog
Sarah Zengo

5 Fresh Spins on Navy Blue

By Dressing Well Stylist Sarah Zengo

Being married to a State Trooper, I’ve acquired a certain level of respect for all things blue.

This season, navy blue is commanding my attention in many new ways. It is timeless, exudes confidence, and says ‘perfectly polished’ like no other color. It has been a personal thrill to see this sophisticated hue take over the racks of my favorite stores.

Here are 5 fresh spins on navy that I have been using to effectively update the spring (and summer!) wardrobes of my female clients.  I hope a few resonate with you and make it easy to put this perennial spring favorite to work in your wardrobe too.

#1 Pump it up with beige. Beige pumps are often the best solution to give conservative navy business separates a stylish boost.


#2 Use it to ground bold colors. Every color under the sun looks great when paired with navy.  Yellow is a personal favorite.


#3 Color block it. While black is often used to frame key colors on jackets, skirts and dresses, navy can step in and take its place, especially when you want to present a lighter look.  Navy color blocked bags and pumps can easily update your spring/summer style.


#4 Patterns and prints please! Use navy as the hue that unites two strong prints into one great outfit.


#5 Mix it with black. Timeless and classy, black dresses-up navy while navy makes black more demure.  Consider it the power couple of the moment.


Last Word:
Navy goes with almost any color. Swap out some of your black basics for navy staples in the warmer weather and step out in polished perfection!

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Sarah Zengo

Sarah Zengo joined the Dressing Well team as a stylist in 2011.  Her diverse clientele includes a mix of professionals, stay-at-home parents, retirees and young people just starting their careers. An excellent sense of fashion combined with a strong work ethic and genuine interest in the people she serves, allows Sarah to transform the style of our clients rapidly and with excellent results.  Clients love Sarah and consistently book appointments with her each season, a true indicator that her advice is highly valued and very much appreciated.

Learn more about Sarah » 

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Laurie Schloff 2015-04-14 10:01

Thanks Sarah.
As presentation coaches, my team always recommends navy blue as the go to color for first meetings and friendly yet professional appeal.

I just forwarded your blog to my blue navy blue colleagues at the speech improvement company.
I look forward to connecting with you soon

Sarah Z 2015-04-14 10:39

Hi Laurie!
Thanks for your comment -- navy blue is truly a powerful color and does not come across as harshly as black sometimes can. It is incredibly versatile for business and a great addition to any wardrobe.

Please feel free to reach out to us directly! We also offer professional seminars and would love to connect with you.

Donna Peek 2015-04-14 10:58

Thanks, Sarah. Great post. I love navy. And it does look great with a pop of color (orange, pink, red, powder blue, lavender).. and I always love navy and grey together. I have been looking for a navy pants suit for several years now. They are hard to find!

Sarah Z 2015-04-14 11:04

Hi Donna--

There are some suiting brands that I find reliable for neutral colors year after year -- depends on what fit is best for you of course! I find my go-to brands when shopping in department stores are Anne Klein and Tahari for simple (no hardware) business separates. Good luck shopping! Feel free to connect with me direclty if you'd like to learn more about our services.

Melinda Brunell 2015-04-14 11:00

I've loved navy blue since I was a girl and my mom put me in sailor dresses! One challenge I face in adding it to my wardrobe is the many shades of navy. If I'm out shopping and see a new piece, I can't be sure it will go with what I already have. Any advice?

Sarah Z 2015-04-14 11:09

Hi Melinda-- good call! This can be tough. I find there are two tones that I'm generally working with--Navy and then dark navy which has more black in it than your standard navy.

There is a lot you can get away with in this color family, but if you are trying to match more specifically, bring the piece or shoes you have in your wardrobe with you when you are shopping.

If you are looking for shells to pair with suiting, we have a fantastic affiliate partner and they have beautiful shells in both navy and dark navy.

You can also go darker on the bottom (a dark navy shoe can ground a regular navy pant or skirt). Having some distance between two pieces can work too by adding a neutral skirt or pant in between two different tones.

I would stay away from pairing a jacket and pants/skirt that are not part of the same dye-lot (i.e. same brand and color) as it will look like you got dressed in the dark! Hope this helps!!

Elizabeth 2015-04-14 15:51

I enjoyed your ideas for taking navy away from its associations of authority and education. It was a long time before I could stop connecting navy with school uniform plaid, but now I love navy blue as a basic, especially in the spring and summer months.

Sarah Z 2015-04-14 15:58

Hi Elizabeth! Yes, navy no longer has the stiff reputation of yester-year! It truly softens outfits in a way that still adds polish, but just takes the edge off a bit (as opposed to all-black-all-the-time). Perfect as we are enjoying the warmer months. Thanks for your comment! :)

Debbie M 2015-04-14 20:02

Hi Sarah, Your article was timely. I have added so many navy elements to my wardrobe in the last year. I am trying to make black more of an accent rather than a neutral, and navy has fit the bill for me; however, it can be a little matronly at times. I love your suggestions, and will wear my slim navy slacks and navy moto sweater with a yellow tank and my beige flats tomorrow. It will take the frump right out of the whole ensemble. The navy flats were just 'too much' when I tried it last week. Thank you!

Sarah Z 2015-04-15 08:35

Hi Debbie-- You are spot on! Beige flats really do lighten your look and are a great alternative summer shoe choice. I like to stock up on various finishes and heel heights in the beginning of the season so I'm ready for any hemline, long day of work, or last minute invitation! Cole Haan has a nice patten leather wedge pump (closed toe) right now and their standard summer open toe low wedges are back too. They are worth it! You will look fab in your navy, yellow ensemble! Thanks for your comment! Sarah


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