What to wear with navy in casual outfit - une femme d'un certain âge

How to style navy pants in a casual outfit

What to wear with navy pants: Susan adds a striped sweater, brown sweater jacket and boots.

Navy is the one neutral it took me a long time to warm up to. It always felt just a little too corporate, conservative, and well, stodgy. Figuring out what to wear with navy was a big part of my hesitation too. There were so many old “rules” still bouncing around in my head. “Never wear navy with brown or warm colors.” “Never wear navy with black.” (Ha! Tell that to Yves Saint Laurent…)

earrings | sweater blazer (similar) | sweater | necklace | ring | pants (similar) | boots (similar)

Really though, navy can pair with just about any other color, depending on your coloring and preferences. What’s more difficult is pairing navy with navy, so here I’ve opted for a casual navy stripe. The pants and sweater are from my January capsule.

👉 One tip for wearing navy pants in a more casual outfit is to style them as you would a pair of dark wash jeans, which is what I’ve done here.

The relaxed fit and softness of the brown sweater blazer also helps to shift the this look away from “corporate.” This one (J.Crew) is from last fall. This color is no longer available in the same style, though several colors still are. Here’s another similar one (on sale!).

Maybe you still have some navy separates from a prior office wardrobe, and are deciding whether to keep them. Try mixing them with more casual and less structured pieces…you might be surprised! A navy blazer can work brilliantly with jeans and a tee, for example. Add some fun brooches, roll up the sleeves…

Detail: Chinti & Parker striped sweater with heart detail, French Kande necklace, Aurelie Bidermann ring.

Here’s how the sweater looks on its own.

Detail: Susan B wears Paul Green ankle boots with navy slim pants.

The casual ankle boots also work to temper the formality of the navy pants. This is an older pair from Paul Green, no longer available. Here’s a similar Paul Green style, and a less spendy option.

BTW, if you need to replace or update your weatherproof boots, Aquatalia just launched a big sale! Use code WEEKEND for additional savings.

Do you regularly wear navy pieces?

Stay in touch.

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33 Comments

  1. Kelly
    January 14, 2022 / 4:33 am

    I still struggle with navy, even though it’s a good color for me, because I wore it so much in the late 80s for business. Think Dress for Success. It took me a long time to bring blue accents back into my home decor after the blue and mauve era (also 80s) but now I love it. I need to just give a try to a few navy pieces and I’m sure I’ll fall in love again. I mean, who can stay mad at blue?

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:08 pm

      Hi Kelly, yes didn’t we all have a navy pinstripe suit in the 80’s, LOL? It’s taken me a while to shake off that association.

  2. Marcia
    January 14, 2022 / 6:00 am

    Navy is one of my best colours as it flatters my skin tone, as opposed to black, which is rather harsh on me. I particularly like a very dark navy as opposed to a bright one. Your pants today are something I would wear almost daily. The top is adorable with the pants, and I love the camel jacket and boots, they provide a rich contrast. I get your point about navy coming across as corporate, but I am so tired of jeans and the casualness of the look of jeans, not to mention the lack of comfort. I’ll take corporate over cowboy any day.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:07 pm

      Thanks, Marcia! It’s good to mix things up once in a while. 😉

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        January 14, 2022 / 6:20 pm

        Unripped, un-distressed black jeans are not remotely cowboy. I tended to wear skirts on the few “creative” assignments where black jeans were not acceptable.

        I’m not fond of navy, or blue in general.

        b

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        January 14, 2022 / 6:55 pm

        Unripped, un-distressed black jeans are not remotely cowboy. I tended to wear skirts on the few “creative” assignments where black jeans were not acceptable.

        I’m not fond of navy, or blue in general. By the way, one of my favourite tones is a cool grey, wonderful with a rich red, and not as theatrical as red + black.

  3. Karen B
    January 14, 2022 / 6:02 am

    I love the brown with navy. My first travel capsule was navy pants, dark wash navy jeans, a navy shirt with small cream polka dots, a navy striped shirt that had orange accent braid, a solid navy top, a beautiful Italian scarf with navy, gold, shades of orange, and a dress with cream background and navy and orange print, and a navy sweater. That was my wardrobe for a week in Rome and a week in Florence. It worked out great.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:06 pm

      Thanks, Karen. Your travel capsule sounds perfect!

      • Sophia
        January 15, 2022 / 4:07 pm

        Love navy and orange!!

        • Elle
          January 15, 2022 / 6:31 pm

          A timeless combination!

  4. CD
    January 14, 2022 / 6:31 am

    First, love Karen B’s idea for a travel capsule. Also, I just realized that your tip to treat navy pants like dark wash jeans has been exactly my strategy lately and it’s worked really well, especially when jeans feel too heavy, or too constricting, or too bulky to pack. And a slim straight pair of navy pants like yours seems to go with so many styles of shoes — from sneakers to sandals. I still love black, but I’m finding navy to be more versatile and all-seasonal.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks, CD. Yes, navy really can work for any season.

  5. Mary
    January 14, 2022 / 6:32 am

    That beautiful sweater looks better on you than on the J. Crew model! It’s a lovely ensemble – thanks for sharing.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:04 pm

      Thanks very much, Mary!

  6. Pam
    January 14, 2022 / 8:06 am

    Fabulous outfit! Love seeing how you style the pieces from your January capsule!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Pam! It’s been a good exercise for me too.

  7. January 14, 2022 / 8:32 am

    I love a good navy, with brown OR black! You look great.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:04 pm

      Thanks, Lisa! You’ve always had a great sense of how to wear navy, and I’ve been inspired by some of your combos.

  8. cynthia willis
    January 14, 2022 / 8:39 am

    I am really benefitting from the syle capsules you are sharing. For too long, I would buy a pair or pants or perhaps a top but I did not have the intention of assembling an “outfit”. No wonder I would stand in front of my closet wondering – what to wear? I know apporach my shopping similar to dining out, appetizer (accesories), main coarse (skirt, top, jacket) and dessert (shoes). You are a gift!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:03 pm

      Thanks so much, cynthia! I’m glad you find it helpful.

  9. January 14, 2022 / 8:44 am

    I also took a while to warm up to navy pants. I was an EMT for 15 years and navy pants were part of our uniform, so every time I would try to wear them I felt like I was “on call.” I am past that now, and will frequently mix it with burgundy and camel in a travel wardrobe. I absolutely love your outfit today Susan and have worked to mix this cognac color into my wardrobe.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:02 pm

      Thanks, Joann! I’m glad you’ve found a way to utilize navy in your wardrobe.

  10. Julia
    January 14, 2022 / 9:34 am

    Really great look Susan! Would not have thought to pair navy with brown but it’s a big success on you!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks very much, Julia!

  11. Joan
    January 14, 2022 / 11:34 am

    Just ordered the sweater cardigan. Really like the look. I bought the necklace some time ago, I am now looking for something bulkier. Would you be kind enough to suggest another necklace from French Kande. I am 5:10 high and weigh 168 . Thank you for giving me great ideas on fashion.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 14, 2022 / 12:00 pm

      Thanks, Joan! My suggestion when starting or adding to a French Kande collection is to go with one of the mid-length stone necklaces. These can be layered with longer or shorter pieces, and look great worn alone. You didn’t mention whether you’re interested in silver or gold-toned metals. Here’s one in silver that’s nice: Lily-Agate mix with Ange medallion, and one in gold tone: Golden Mix with Cuvee medallion

      Pearls are always a good choice too! Pearl necklaces

  12. Judy B
    January 14, 2022 / 12:18 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Great idea, to think about styling navy pants the way you would a pair of dark wash jeans! Your reference to striking a balance between simplicity and variety in your post about your navy and ivory capsule wardrobe reminds me of the way some composers describe their creative process in composing music—setting limits creates a direction, focuses your mind, and promotes exploring ideas—which your recent posts illustrate. A bit of an analogy—the art of composition and the art of composing a wardrobe.

  13. Kathy
    January 14, 2022 / 1:27 pm

    I love Navy! I think it flatters everyone. Your look is so classic today!

  14. Ainsivalavie
    January 14, 2022 / 2:11 pm

    Love the navy and brown. Such a contemporary mix. I have noticed younger men styling navy suits with dark tan shoes and belts and it always looks sharp. Their fathers more inclined to black with the navy…so not sure who arbitrated the no black no navy rule, men have been mixing them for ages! I think the trick is the right navy with the right ‘brown’. Dark navy/ dark brown, hard no but dark navy with darker tan, great. Your mix is very dashing!

  15. Lagatta de Montréal
    January 15, 2022 / 10:25 am

    By the way, I love that stripey pullover with its heart!

    I hope you don’t think I’m being too negative in my lack of love for navy. It is simply one of those aversions to certain colours many people have. I think navy might remind me too much of uniforms: corporate, military, police or gym team! This is strictly personal – I’d never tell other people what to like or wear!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      January 15, 2022 / 10:53 am

      Hi Lagatta, thanks and no offense taken. I fully expect that not everyone will like everything I share. As long as people are expressing themselves in a constructive and respectful way, I’m OK with dissenting opinions.

  16. Sophia
    January 15, 2022 / 4:09 pm

    Navy and heather gray is a great combo without the corporate stuffiness

  17. Jan Whichard
    January 15, 2022 / 5:07 pm

    I wear darker wash jeans a lot and so navy blue is a great option in my world. I have navy blue golf pants, navy blue gym leggings, navy blue cardigans, navy blue Land’s End packable down 3/4 coat, and navy blue chino type pants BUT I do not wear it near my face. I saved my navy double breasted suit jacket from my lawyer days and wear it with jeans and…well…anything. I think navy is great and a much softer alternative to black. I like it with neon green! I will say, however, that I don’t like 2 different navy colors together.

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