Is Navy The New Black?

Is Navy The New Black?

I woke up Friday, looked in my closet and decided that I’m sick of wearing black. Shocking I know, and a real shame because I own epic quantities of black clothes and accessories. I’m not planning to rush out and donate my things because I know I’ll go back to loving black because:

  • it’s slimming
  • is sophisticated
  • is timeless and always chic
  • makes packing and traveling easier
  • is easy to coordinate
  • seldom shows dirt
  • dresses up and down with ease
  • can look harsh on many complexions

As I shoved my black things further along the rod I ran across a navy handbag, turtleneck, and blouse that got me wondering if navy could play all the roles that black does in my wardrobe. Navy is not as readily available to buy as black, but can it replace black in your wardrobe?


  • is classic and timeless
  • available in warm and cool tones so universally flattering
  • is sophisticated and elegant
  • seldom shows dirt
  • looks effortless
  • coordinates with every other color in the rainbow
  • looks amazing in hot weather
  • is slimming

Somewhere, at some time, someone said navy and black don’t go together… which is total bunk! It’s a sophisticated color combination that looks fantastic.

Bags look so much richer in navy than they do in black.

Navy looks great with brown, gray, black, green, red, pink, yellow, orange, beige, off white, purple, etc which begs the question, “why is black the most popular color?”.

It turns out that navy is the new black and will be occupying more space in my wardrobe going forward.

Have you embraced navy in your wardrobe?

If you liked this post, I’d love you to pin this image to Pinterest.is navy the new black for your wardrobe

Thanks for reading and be sure to wear what makes you feel confident.


This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Heidi
    July 3, 2020 / 7:51 am

    I have always loved navy, not as harsh as black. I especially love navy loafers. I don’t wear sneakers/trainers. Since I live in jeans and mostly white tees or white button ups they look casual and chic. Anytime I come across a nice pair of navy shoes I will purchase them since they are so hard to find.

  2. Quietgirl
    January 23, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    Navy iIS black in my wardrobe. Black emphasizes the lines in my face and drains color from it as well. Navy brightens and softens my features. Why would I EVER wear black near my face?

  3. Joan
    January 17, 2020 / 1:29 pm

    Like many of the comments here, I agree that it’s been difficult to find navy for the past few years. Also like others have said, there are so many variations in navy shades that it’s difficult to find the perfect match in tops and bottoms unless purchased at the same time. I welcome the opportunity to bring more navy into my wardrobe if that will be the spring color. However, I do not foresee it replacing black for me. It would just be an additional color I’d wear. Also I don’t agree that black and navy should be worn together. It was a “rule” that I learned many years ago (50 years ago – yikes). Same for black and brown as well as brown and navy together. Same class taught that shoes and purse color should match, but at least I have become more comfortable breaking that rule in the past few years. LOL

  4. Pam
    January 16, 2020 / 8:58 am

    After reading Jennifer’s advice that black might not be the most flattering color right next to my pale 66 year-old skin and hair, I decided to try navy. My favorite fall 2019 wardrobe additions were navy: a navy confetti pancho, a long navy/camel vest with a navy long-sleeve tee under it, a navy dress, and two patterned scarves that incorporate navy and can be worn with the vest and dress. I invariably get compliments on all of those pieces, so it looks like Jennifer was right. Thank you, Jennifer, for prompting me to try something new!

    • Jennifer
      January 16, 2020 / 8:14 pm

      Bravo Pam! I will be following you this year;)

  5. Jen
    January 15, 2020 / 1:03 pm

    I’ll always be a fan of black but I think nothing looks sharper than a navy v-neck sweater with a tee and jeans. So classic. You have some great choices listed. Xx

    • Jennifer
      January 15, 2020 / 4:28 pm

      I agree Jen. xx

  6. Elaine @ Following Augustine
    January 15, 2020 / 11:02 am

    Navy should definitely be my new black. It looks much better on me than black does.

  7. Kathryn
    January 15, 2020 / 3:59 am

    A few people have commented they have trouble finding navy items. I’ve built up a navy collection over the last three years since I decided to buy no more black. I found lots of lovely navy things at Boden Clothing, Jigsaw, Pure Collection, LK Bennett, Woolovers. (I’m in Australia and I buy most of my clothes online from the UK).

  8. Nicole
    January 15, 2020 / 12:04 am

    Agreed with many of you. There are so many shades of navy so its hard to match.
    Black and navy should never be seen together IMHO.
    Navy is classy and softer than black as others have mentioned.

    • Jennifer
      January 15, 2020 / 4:27 pm

      I adore navy with black.

  9. Eve
    January 14, 2020 / 5:39 pm

    Great designers do uniforms for the Navy. We wore black shoes, black purse and a black tie with our uniform. It looked great. The white blouse and the white on the hat just lightened everything up. So, black looks great with navy.

  10. Lynn
    January 14, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    I love navy and wear it often. I look forward to seeing what you find. Navy and olive are my favourite basics colours.

  11. Connie
    January 14, 2020 / 2:13 pm

    I adore navy and have worn it all my life, but especially since early 20’s when I was building my career wardrobe. I have blue eyes, fair skin and warm chestnut brown hair . . .and have always received the most compliments wearing navy and other blues and greens. I pair it with pale buttery yellows, peach, and white in blouses, and for night and a little drama I love a long navy skirt with a fluid chiffon blouse in black, paired with black sling backs or kitten heel pumps. I also buy all my swimwear in navy mix-and-match pieces from Lands End collection, and then a white cover-up to make the most of a tan.

  12. Elaine
    January 14, 2020 / 1:37 pm

    Love the black and navy tote….where can I find it????

    • Jennifer
      January 15, 2020 / 4:25 pm

      That bag is on the widget for handbags

  13. Dawn
    January 14, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    I love, love, love navy! It looks much better on me than black and has always been a neutral in my closet. It looks great with denim and especially chic with white. Navy seems to be everywhere for Spring, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find that perfect shade.

    • Jennifer
      January 15, 2020 / 1:18 pm

      I’m finding a lot of it too!

  14. Suzanne Nicolson
    January 14, 2020 / 12:42 pm

    I have been wearing navy for about four years now, especially in summer. It is widely available in Australia. we have a much shorter “winter” here too, so navy is quite trans seasonal. just love navy, and it is much more flattering close to my face than black.

  15. beth byrd
    January 14, 2020 / 11:05 am

    I have been adding navy to my wardrobe for the past year or so. It’s such classic color for every season.

    I love pairing navy and lavender — years ago I had a beautiful navy winter coat and had a lavender hat and scarf to go with it. I used to get so many compliments!

  16. Rhonda
    January 14, 2020 / 11:00 am

    I’m planning a trip and using navy as the base colour for the travel capsule. It is a great, versatile colour and much better for a warm weather trip than black which can look dull in a hot climate. I agree with Penelope that it can be hard to create outfits with the many hues of navy and I like her suggestion for carrying a colour swatch of “your” navy!

  17. Rose
    January 14, 2020 / 9:39 am

    I have always loved navy. It looks great with distressed jeans. In the summer it looks great with red and white. love navy shoes and booties!

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 10:49 am

      It’s so fresh looking

  18. Penelope
    January 14, 2020 / 8:55 am

    Navy is certainly a happier color than black and I just love it’s versatility agelessness. I have always used it in place of black since the latter is too dense and heavy for me. My ongoing issue with navy is the many variations of the hue, making it difficult to create outfits unless coordinates are purchased in the same brand , at the same time. I have several navy pieces that are mismatched and do not create outfits, because, unlike some colors, in my opinion, mismatched navy looks tacky and cheap. Especially when warm and cool tones of navy are mixed.
    I now carry a fabric swatch of “ my” navy color with me when I shop to help avoid mistakes. It saves much frustration. (Paint chips are invaluable for this).

    • kate
      January 14, 2020 / 3:01 pm

      Great idea Penelope!

  19. Cheryl
    January 14, 2020 / 8:48 am

    Love navy but there are so many variations in the shade. Not all navy pieces can work together which is so frustrating when trying to build a wardrobe around it. Mixing prints could solve some of the problems . Yet I prefer solids. Don’t others have this difficulty?

  20. Kathy
    January 14, 2020 / 8:40 am

    I’ve been wearing Navy since age 5 in grade school. Mostly because my mom made me and now 55 years later, I still wear Navy and it’s so easy to throw on. The color is softer too. Thank you for finding some Navy options. The brand “Something Navy” at Nordstroms has some nice Navy basics.

  21. kate
    January 14, 2020 / 8:39 am

    I’ve been wearing navy as my dark neutral ever since having my colors done 10 years ago. It also looks much better against my skin at age 65 than black does, much more flattering. You have tempted me to get some black pants which I do use for traveling and at home with a more flattering color on top. I just wish there were more navy items out there! Dressing in black and looking great is such a slam dunk. Dressing with navy as your dark neutral takes a lot more effort. Not as easy to look pulled together and sophisticated as black is.

  22. Kelly H
    January 14, 2020 / 8:20 am

    Thank you for this post! I couldn’t agree more — I have too much black in my closet and not enough navy, a color that generates compliments when I wear it. I’ve always wondered, though, are navy and indigo the same color? I see Talbots offers a lot of clothes and shoes in “indigo” and am unsure if that’s just another name for “navy.” Thoughts?

  23. Sharon
    January 14, 2020 / 8:19 am

    Great timely article. I absolutely love navy and just received a navy pair of pants from Chicos. When I choose an accessory or top I try to get a pattern that includes a little navy as well as black. It works perfect for traveling.

  24. Marian
    January 14, 2020 / 7:30 am

    You’re so right!!! Navy and all dark blues are as useful and flattering as black. My favorites are indigo and midnight blues which are rare.

    When I finally wear black it feels very dramatic.

    Im waiting patiently for navy to be the color of the season and then pounce and pick up a few good pieces to last for years.

  25. Cyndi
    January 14, 2020 / 7:06 am

    Black and gray make up my entire wardrobe. I’m trying to add a few pops of color, especially since I went to my natural gray hair color. I do have a favorite navy and gray houndstooth sweater, and added a navy and green tartan turtleneck from JCrew. I’m going to check out some navy lines – great idea.

  26. Carol
    January 14, 2020 / 6:58 am

    Navy truly is a wonderful color and as versatile as black, as others have said. However, navy can be hard to match……..dye lots seem to vary so much. So the navy slacks that you thought would look great with that navy/white stripe sweater don’t really…..they look over washed or black-ish, not the look you were going for. Even in the same store it can be hard to find navies that match—if that’s what you’re going for. I, too, am hoping for a renaissance of navy over the next year—that can help justify the spending for new clothes vs buying more black pant/leggings or black tops. And, hopefully they will be of a hue to strike a happy note with black to really extend the closet offerings.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:39 am

      Many brands match their navy’s within a collection. Black does have the same matching challenge but we tend to ignore it. The secret is to find navy’s that have the same I undertone!

  27. Marianne
    January 14, 2020 / 6:56 am

    I think navy has never had the popularity of black because there are too many different colors of it. It’s so frustrating to try to put a navy outfit together when the shoes, the pants and the top are alllll different shades of the color. It ends up not flowing together at all.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:36 am

      I never wear navy shoes with navy pants. Black works best in MHO:)

  28. Mary Wray
    January 14, 2020 / 6:44 am

    Hi Jennifer, Ditto on the navy thinking…can you provide details on the black/navy handbag that you featured? I love it!

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:34 am

      It is in the handbag widget. It’s by Claire V. It’s an investment but a great combo of navy shades.

  29. Eileen
    January 14, 2020 / 6:42 am

    I’ve always liked blue, including navy. As a summer, people don’t say, wow, that black is your color. They do like the black outfit , and often, they are winters, who make the comment. When I sewed, I could make any colored outfit, not just what the stores offered, I didn’t realize how limiting the store palettes are. Shoes have been a problem for years. Hopefully with the panetone blue color of the year, navy shoes will be shown. Some of the most sophisticated looks I’ve admired have been monochromatic, springs in all cream, autumns in all camel, green, or brown, summers in all grey, or blue, these looks are gorgeous, especially in nice fabrics, be still my heart… wow.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:33 am

      It’s very hopeful this spring! When I was a buyer for high end boutiques we bought everything in black and one navy for me. I wish I’d kept all those things.

  30. Memee
    January 14, 2020 / 6:42 am

    About two months ago, I came suddenly to the same conclusion as you about black. I found ‘LL Bean to have some classic pieces in navy, Plus jjill has been adding navy (their scarves are particularly nice to tie the different shades of blue together).

  31. Bea
    January 14, 2020 / 6:23 am

    Jennifer, you are so right! As my hair turned to silver, I discovered that navy looks better on me than black. I enjoy a brighter navy color with all sorts of prints, along with white, green, and red. Last night I bought a Talbots casual jacket and tank top – all in Indigo Blue. Can’t wait to accessorize!

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:28 am

      It’s awesome with silver and gray hair!

  32. MP
    January 14, 2020 / 6:22 am

    Yes, Navy is the new black…so is chocolate brown. I find navy easier to wear than black. Black accessories look great with navy.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:24 am

      You’re so right. I also love a deep, cool toned chocolate but seldom find it. It also looks awesome with navy!

  33. Nancy
    January 14, 2020 / 6:19 am

    Love navy and NEVER wear black next to my face. My colors are the warm spring colors and find navy a very versatile color. I will wear it next to my face and do not use the very dark navy/ black shade next to my face, but as a basic color for pants. Not as easy to find navy for accessories, but doable if you look. Navy paired with camel and beige is very nice for basics.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:23 am

      It’s a stunning classic with camel. I’ve always wished I could wear camel:)

  34. jmp
    January 14, 2020 / 6:11 am

    I like navy a lot! My only issue is that there are some navys that are so dark I can’t tell them from black unless I look under a really bright light. I have definitely made some “coordinating” errors with my clothes. But I agree, navy isn’t as harsh as black. Great suggestion, Jennifer.

  35. Marcia
    January 14, 2020 / 6:06 am

    I too love navy, especially very deep, dark navy. It is so much more flattering to my skin tone. I just cannot wear black near my face anymore without looking pale and tired. Thanks for this post. I’m happy to see many others prefer navy also.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:21 am

      With my newfound appreciation of navy, I’ll be hunting it down and sharing here.

      • Mary
        January 14, 2020 / 5:03 pm

        What type of navy slacks will avoid looking stodgy. Navy denim is great but what else?

        • Jennifer
          January 15, 2020 / 4:26 pm

          It’s all about the fabric and cut. I found some nice ones today that will be up on the blog Friday

  36. MRSBEN2
    January 14, 2020 / 5:36 am

    I too love navy and am looking forward to its revival; however IMHO as it is often associated with ( uniform dress code (Police/Fire/Paramedic/Armed Forces etc. ) I do feel it warrants more caution in the choosing of garment style and how it is worn, not to mention it can have various undertones.

  37. Marina
    January 14, 2020 / 5:16 am

    I discovered navy as my base color some time ago. I love the versatility of black and still wear it, but it’s too severe looking with my coloring. (I’m a Summer.)

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:20 am

      Navy is sort of perfect:)

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:45 am

      It comes in so many shades you might try a muted, paler navy.

  38. Linda Kundmueller
    January 14, 2020 / 5:13 am

    I like navy but I feel that black looks better on me.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:44 am

      Then you’re very lucky!:)

  39. Teresa Landers
    January 14, 2020 / 5:09 am

    Yes, Black is tired and makes me look tired. Not getting rid of mine either, but not buying any more. The more navy I acquire and wear, the more elegant and versatile I find it to be. A challenge has been navy belts. Shoes and bags are not so tough, but navy belts are truly rare. Navy blends well with all shades of brown which is my second neutral (a tough color in everything but leather goods!)

    • MRSBEN2
      January 14, 2020 / 6:13 am

      @Teresa: Re a belt; you might wish to consider dying one yourself which is an extremely easy process and an ideal solution to even rebirth a worn one that you may have in a different color. The product I use is called: Tarrago Self Shine Color Dye (for leather) / comes in a kit / and is available vie Amazon.com. Have used the color #17 Navy on two projects and was very pleased with the result. Also note though the bottles are small a little goes a long way, colors can be mixed so you may wish to also order black if wishing a dark navy and be sure to read the reviews by customers as they often contain helpful hints. -Brenda-

      • Jennifer
        January 14, 2020 / 8:22 am

        Great tip thank you Brenda. I’ve had my cobbler dye shoes too!

    • Clarissa Cejka
      January 14, 2020 / 7:49 am

      Navy belts are hard to find indeed. Halsbrook has a couple that are very expensive, but they do have friends and family sales.

      • Kathryn
        January 15, 2020 / 3:46 am

        Try Boden Clothing, they nearly always have navy belts and shoes.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:43 am

      Leopard belts look great with navy too.

  40. Sandy
    January 14, 2020 / 5:01 am

    I love Navy and most blues. I have several go to navy/blue pieces. I hope it becomes more available in the future. Would like to see it in shoes, boots.

  41. Sharon
    January 14, 2020 / 4:46 am

    I think you are on to something!

  42. Linda
    January 14, 2020 / 4:28 am

    I love Navy! Clothing, accessories and you name it! Blue is my color!

  43. Cindy D.
    January 14, 2020 / 4:27 am

    I agree. Navy is the new black. Maybe it began with embracing denim in every facet of our wordrobe. I like it and wear Navy all the time. Black is so harsh against a mature woman’s coloring.

  44. Christine
    January 14, 2020 / 4:25 am

    I love navy and as mentioned it has been hard to find….have been collecting pieces over the past year. I wear gray a lot and of course navy and gray are fabulous together!

  45. Yvonne
    January 14, 2020 / 4:17 am

    My closet is the same – a sea of black and any prints I have are in black & white! I have managed to add some grey sweaters to my winter wardrobe, and am enjoying the lighter look.
    As for navy, which I really like, it’s been difficult to find the last few years and the only 2 tops I have in navy are for summer which I wear with white capris. And in the past finding navy shoes was next to impossible! Thank you for showing the options above.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:18 am

      I just ordered some navy shoes I’m anxious to wear this spring! They are hard to find.

  46. Paulette Levy
    January 14, 2020 / 4:16 am

    Navy and black are my two go-to colors. With black I try to add a colorful scarf even vibrant near my face, or a pale beige near my face.
    Navy needs nothing! Yes, I have lots of navy! Happy……

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:17 am

      I’m excited to bring navy back into my wardrobe

  47. Gail Schwartz
    January 14, 2020 / 4:14 am

    Chico’s has a beautiful navy collection for spring. I just bought a few pieces.

    • Linda
      January 14, 2020 / 4:30 am

      Oh thank you for telling us! I will have to take a look!

  48. Donna Zoltanski
    January 14, 2020 / 4:13 am

    Love navy too.

  49. Ev
    January 14, 2020 / 4:07 am

    I have been using navy along with olive green, with accents of pink and white as a travel capsule. Works great in all climates.

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:16 am

      Gorgeous with olive!!

  50. Janet
    January 14, 2020 / 3:53 am

    I fall in and out of love with black. To relieve the boredom, I seldom wear black the summer and revert to it in the long, bleak winter weather (as do most Canadians I know). When I wear black it is always with a pop of colour to avoid depression. I really like navy. It is a very sophisticated colour but I don’t see it as much anymore. I vote to bring it back!

    • Jennifer
      January 14, 2020 / 8:15 am

      I vote to bring it back too!!

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