Ask Allie: Styling Navy for Fall and Winter

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I purchased a buttload of navy items over the summer that I would love to transition into fall/winter. During the summer, I wore the skirts and blouses with a pair of navy high heeled Mary Janes and bare legs. For the fall/winter, I don't know what to wear on the bottom. What color tights and shoes/boots should I wear?

I steered clear of navy for so many years because of this very reason. I didn’t want to buy navy shoes, my brown shoes looked too casual, black was deemed inappropriate and cognac was nearly impossible to find in stores. Well it’s 2014, navy is a hot color and there’s so many options to now wear with it!
navy with black


The old rule no longer applies, you CAN wear navy with black! Pair a navy dress or skirt with black tights and shoes and the look is quite fresh and modern. With this look, I treated the navy skirt as if it were any other color, and had black tights and booties anchor it. This is a good example of transitioning summer and early fall pieces into the cooler months.

navy with black shoes


For this second look, I show that black shoes with navy is no longer passé. Again, treating navy as a color instead of a neutral, the shoes become the neutral with navy trousers and a colorful blouse.

navy with brown


Navy and brown have always been a popular pairing, but it doesn’t have to look old fashioned or conservative. In this look, I took a navy dress that would be worn in summer with sandals or a pair of canvas TOMS and made it more appropriate to this time of year. Choosing camel or cognac provides a bit more contrast and feels youthful; a change of belt and Western-inspired accessories gives a completely different feel to the shirt dress.

navy with brown shoes


Brown and navy can look quite professional. To add some warmth on cool autumn days, consider a pair of sleek brown leather boots with your navy skirts and dresses. A bit of a heel and a slim profile best flatters a trim skirt and looks more professional than flat riding boots. No need to have your bag match your shoes, you can match the navy if you wish or incorporate a statement color like mustard, green, or red.

navy with gray


But black and brown are not your only options. Gray is a hot hue this fall and a wonderful pairing with navy. To give a clean modern look, I paired a simple navy sheath with gray tights and booties; a gray scarf pulls the look together and makes a sleeveless dress seasonally appropriate.

navy with burgundy merlot wine red color


Neutrals don’t have to be the only pairing for navy. I love wearing navy with a burgundy or dark red color, the combination is classic and perfect for fall. This is a way to wear the navy Mary Janes you stated you already own; consider adding another small bit of burgundy to your look to make it cohesive; a skinny belt added to the dress pulls the look together without being too matchy-matchy.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I have a red & navy knee length dress 3/4 length sleeves. Is it ok to wear navy tights with tan ankle boots? The occasion is a barn wedding Dec. 1st

    1. Since the dress has navy I think it could work. It’s hard to say without seeing, but you may want to do a darker shoe so your feet don’t take the spotlight, but it may also look nice.

  2. I have a white and navy dress, houndstooth, short sleeves, and am wondering what shoes to wear to a bridal brunch. It’s too warm for boots. Recommendations for shoes?

    1. How about a leather pump? You could do a neutral like nude or camel or even a statement color – red, green, pumpkin, plum, or whatever color you like best! A snakeskin or croco would also look great with houndstooth, maybe in brown or cognac.

  3. Ah, this was perfect for me right now! I can’t seem to incorporate the black/navy thing, although I know it’s totally apropos now. The way you’ve styled it here, though, it’s clearly a Style and not a Mismatch. Like it! I’m crazy about navy/brown and just wore that combo to a wedding on Saturday: navy with mint/white chain print cap-sleeved just-past-the-knee summer dress from Lands’ End, made to stretch into fall with chocolate short-sleeved Western/riding jacket from Coldwater Creek (RIP), chocolate tights and chocolate knee-length suede heeled boots. Worn with real pearl necklace and earrings. My new favorite “dressy” outfit for fall! I’ve always been a huge fan of black — it can be dressy, it can be rocker, it can be casual — but I think navy/brown is going to be seen on me a LOT this fall.

  4. I’m a newbie to your blog (which I love!) so excuse me if this information is already somewhere, but I love the maryjanes in the last outfit you put together, but don’t see a link to them. Where are they from? Thanks!

    1. Welcome Bea! The collage is made in Polyvore, and I try to show similar pieces in the links below the graphic, but I can’t always find them (or they’re crazy pricey and I’d feel like a jerk linking to $990 shoes which these are from Thom Browne). The Polyvore set: The closest I could find online is the SJP ‘Blythe’ which is at Nordstrom. Hope that helps and don’t be a stranger! 🙂

  5. Navy can vary quite a bit. There is one navy so dark that unless you look at it in sunlight, it’s hard to distinguish from black. Combining this very dark navy with black looks to me like the person was trying to match and just missed. In this particular case, wouldn’t another color be better than black? What do you think?


  6. Yes, navy and grey, now you’re talking my language! I don’t have any navy as such in my wardrobe, but lots of various dark blues which I quite happily wear with black, grey, black and white patterns (which give the effect of being grey from a distance) and greens from forest green to jade green.

    In previous years I’ve done a bit of crisp ‘red white and blue’ but I’m just not feeling the red this year. Still, red shoes and a red belt can really make an outfit pop.

    1. I’m trying out RewardStyle for affiliate links and they have super cool tools like that widget. I like it to, it’s so easy to use and see what I’m referencing. Thanks for the feedback, I try things and often don’t know if they make the blog better or worse. Don’t want to add anything that makes it harder or less enjoyable! 🙂

  7. This was such a well-timed post! I am in the process of transitioning my closet and trying to determine what few things I need to make some of my navy summer faves become navy fall faves.

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