Saturday, September 26, 2015

NAVY: with Eight Color Accent ideas

Last week, I did a post (see it here) in which I took eight very brightly colored garments and incorporated them into outfits, using black as the neutral to offset the color.

So I was thinking (I'm ALWAYS thinking) that the range of garments was a pretty interesting list - it included pretty much all of the major garment "categories", with one exception. So I took the original list of items (taken from my favorite French fashion book: Ma To-Do List: Dressing, by Laure Gontier and Jeanne-Aurore Colleuille) and made one change:

I stuck pretty faithfully to their colors, except for the pine green, which is more neutral to me. I substituted purple, because.... well.... PURPLE!

I then alphabetized the two lists, and matched them up. I was going to go straight across left to right, but the first THREE items were identical to ones that I played with last week. So I make up a fake random-ish matching system... 

Since I exhausted black last week, I'm going to dance with just THREE simple navy garments this time:
Cardigan – Uniqlo; trousers – IDLF for Uniqlo; tee - Uniqlo

Oy, this color is a real struggle for me, but I'm delighted to hear that some of you wear it well, and frequently. I knew you had to be out there somewhere!
Tweed-ish – Pianurastudio; cape-style– Christian Wijnants
deep v-neck – Uniqlo

I figure, if you're going to wear this color, go all-out! Athletic shoes, a PVC handbag? You will NOT fade into anybody's background like this:
sneakers – Diadora; PVC handbag – Marni

I think many of us could get on board with this color - these seem like they would be pretty universally flattering:
Printed silk – Rag and Bone; bow-tied – Morgan; tee – Rag and Bone

This seems like the easiest possible "nice, but not fussy" dinner outfit possible. An untucked shirt can hide a multitude of overeating sins...
garnet earrings – Alok Jain; garnet ring – Mahavir;  
ballet flats – Summit

Yes, I'm reusing some of the accessories from last week's post; I don't do this from laziness, but rather to show how versatile a handful of well-chosen jewelry and scarves can be.

I loved my cobalt coat from back in the 80's; I could easily be tempted again!
Satin lapels – Diane von Furstenberg; down – Moncler
nylon – Lands’ End

Sometimes it can seem tough to mix shades of blue, but the scarf here makes all things possible!
Suede boots – Paul Green; scarf – Echo
cashmere gloves – Johnstons of Elgin

This is another case of a color that might be flattering to a lot of us. While it might take a bit of confidence to wear something this bright, there's no question that each of these dresses is constructed to be very flattering. Maybe instead of another black (or dark neutral) dress, this is something to consider?
Wrap – Diane von Furstenberg; sleeveless – Badgley Mischka
cap-sleeve – Whistle & Wolf

Exactly the same necklace and clutch as last week's hot pink, with a pair of simple low-heel sandals. This would be appropriate for SO MANY different events...
necklace – Amanda Marcucci; clutch – Jaunt
sandals – Pelle Moda

Orange can be  tricky, but this Boden cardigan is pretty tempting!

Cardigan – Boden; v-neck – Uniqlo; back-button - Marni

When I was searching for orange sweaters (and searching, and searching... you can't imagine how many garments I look at every day!), I ran across this v-neck... What a great color...
Flower earrings – Marc by Marc Jacobs; loafers – Robert Zur
scarf – Hermes Tyger Tyger

This is another instance of a color that could brilliantly take the place of black for dressy occasions. Imagine the long pleated skirt with a soft white silk top and silver sandals, or that AMAZING ruffled skirt with a simple black sleeveless top... 

Yes, the ruffled skirt costs a fortune. Sometimes, I just have to show you some of the things that I find, even though I don't for a heartbeat imagine that any of us are going to buy and wear them. It's good to admire beautiful things, even if we never own them; it's not always about ownership...
Cotton pencil – J. Crew Factory; pleated silk – Forte Forte
velvet - Balmain

Note that this skirt is cotton (aka all year) and has pockets!
Amethyst earrings – Ritu; infinity scarf – Lua
pumps – Calvin Klein

Red trousers or jeans! Red's practically a neutral, insofar as you can wear it with EVERY other neutral I know (navy, black, grey, taupe, brown, beige...). 

Silk full leg – Lost and Found; jeans – Boden
wool – J. Crew Factory

So often, accent colors are worn near the face; I think this is a nice change of pace.
Wrap – Lily and Lionel; bracelet – Monica Vinader
sandals – Adrianna Papell

Yes, gold doesn't always mean bright yellow! J. Crew often carries metallic tee shirts, and I can vouch for their versatility.
Metallic ¾ sleeve – J. Crew; long sleeve crew – J. Crew
sleeveless ribbed – French Connection

If yellow is hard to wear close to your face, the cardigan, and the scarf, help dilute the more "jaundice-inducing" effects.
socks – Ralph Lauren; scarf – Hermes Siesta au Paradis; 
loafers – Via Spiga

Frankly, I'm loving this project, and I really want to pursue it with gray, beige, brown...

I hope you don't mind!


Beara Beara


  1. Thank you once again for the inspiration, Janice. You've helped me be brave with my wardrobe combinations this year because you've shown me how to make colour combinations work. Before this year I would never have tried pink and navy and today, this lovely yellow shell top with the navy trousers is divine!

    Navy is one of my core neutrals and I have a yellow linen shell (although not quite as bright) that I'm now looking forward to trying with with navy trousers.

  2. Thank you Janice. Brilliant post yet again. Through your blog I have learnt the power of neutrals and accessories. Today I went browsing in my local shopping plaza looking for my neutrals (yellow or orange based camels, tans and beiges) and I really couldn't find anything. Big grumpy sigh,,, Carol S

  3. When I was younger I thought navy was the kiss of death, but as I've aged and my hair has gone gray I just look fab in it (what can I say?) Navy and gray have taken over my wardrobe. I really love some of the combos above--I love the acid green which worked very well for my old hair color, but I've dropped it -- maybe I'll give it a whirl.

    I do think every color goes with navy in a way that they don't all go with black. I've always loved a nice burnt orange, and wearing it with black just always felt too Halloween for me. But it looks great with navy!

  4. Always revelations in your posts, Janice. I love the way the bright yellow socks pull that whole yellow and navy outfit together!

  5. Funny, I never picture a bright yellow as "gold". For me, "gold" means something more along the mustard lines.

    I love the navy sets.

  6. This is a great tutorial for incorporating one's college-aged children's school colors into an outfit to wear to a game or to a Parents' Weekend. Thanks!

  7. Speaking of colors, I went ahead and did a high-color wardrobe based on that beautiful floral scarf of Janice's. It doesn't follow a lot of the rules, but I think it's still very versatile. If you want to check it out, it's at

    - Kaci

    1. Kaci,
      That's super pretty! You should join Polyvore (its free).
      We have a great group of ladies there and we post all kinds of fun sets inspired by the great work Janice does here!

  8. I love this! It shows how you can have a lot of color in your wardrobe, as long as you anchor it with a flattering neutral. I've recently rediscovered navy, so this is wonderful!

  9. Thank you again for your active mind and offering its products to us. This is a great series and reminds me that a good core of neutrals is the best way to keep a wardrobe manageable financially and responsibly but still allows for FUN and experimentation. Warm Brown please
    Deb from Vancouver
    Deb from Vancouver

  10. This is a great idea! Will you be designing planning sheets? I saw you mentioned grey. I'd like to do this using grey and olive as core neutrals for fall and winter mixing the accent colors and using silver and taupe for spring and summer. This is a nice way to lay out capsules and the accent colors are not so limited.
    Thank you,

  11. Hi Janice,

    I have picked my colour 'story' for this fall/winter and maybe forever! I would like to make a colour wheel just like yours but can't figure out how. Would you consider giving us a tutorial on doing this?

    thank you

    Deb Ryan

  12. I wanted to say thank you. Reading your blog (and some others) measurably improved my life.

    In January 2014, I started back to work on a new schedule, which involved leaving the house at 6am. I had gained a little weight over Christmas and more than half of my clothes didn't fit. In desperation, I tried everything on and removed everything that didn't fit, but that left me very few things. It was a capsule wardrobe of necessity. Reading your blog helped me figure out how to mix and match the things I had, and figure out what pieces I could add that would give me the most usable outfits.

    I have expanded on my capsule (navy and camel, with green, cobalt, and burgundy accent colors), but I think very carefully about everything I add. I get complements all the time. And most importantly I get dressed and out of the house in record time.

    So, thank you for having all these resources available when I really needed them. I very much enjoy reading your posts.

  13. Another great post Janice!! Can't wait to see what's next!

  14. Yes to gray, camel, and brown (preferably a very dark brown--not chocolate)...and an olive, too.