Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Navy Dress in a Capsule Wardrobe: 14 Ways to Wear it With Pastels

This is a great dress - it appears to be fairly trimly cut until it reaches the hips, and then swish!

14 ways to wear a simple navy dress in a capsule wardrobe
Dress – Lands’ End

I took a little bit different approach to this dress - I found simple, classic navy shoes that I've included with all of the pastel colors. And there's a pretty straightforward formula for these - I looked for scarves, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and bags in the accent color, and then chose the pieces that I liked the most! My criteria were pretty much that the accessories should be as close in color to the cardigan as reasonably possible, and that they share a feeling or aesthetic. (that last part is hard to define, but I know what I like when I see it!)

Two ways to wear a navy dress with pale pink
Dress – Lands’ End
earrings – Amour; scarf – Kate Spade
cardigan – Lands’ End; pumps – Sőfft
scarf – Blumarine; earrings – Judith Ripka
cardigan – Lucien Pellat-Finet; flats – Naturalizer

I didn't tell you that Off 5th has a bunch of Bluemarine scarves at about 75% off...

This is an obvious color scheme, if you spend a lot of time studying the color wheel!

Two ways to wear a navy dress with peach
Dress – Lands’ End
necklace – Puck Wanderlust; cardigan – MaxMara Studio
 bracelet – Vera Bradley; pumps – Sőfft
cardigan – L.L.Bean; earrings -  TJMaxx
scarf – Bibi Herron; flats – Naturalizer

If you find a yellow cardigan or jacket that appeals to you, GRAB IT; yellow is terribly difficult to find...

Two ways to wear a navy dress with light yellow
Dress – Lands’ End
earrings – Amour; jacket – Damsel in a Dress
wrap – Ermanno Scervino; pumps – Sőfft
cardigan – Vintage 55; scarf – Helen Ruth
bracelet – Bourbon and Boweties; flats – Naturalizer

While this first green isn't exactly a pastel, I wasn't going to pass up this combination!

Two ways to wear a navy dress with light green
Dress – Lands’ End
earrings – Alexis Bittar; scarf – Hermes Under the Waves
cardigan – Jardin des Orangers; pumps – Sőfft
 necklace – Lionette by Noa Sade; cardigan – Classic
bracelet – Sydney Evans; flats – Naturalizer

I just think this is pretty. Sometimes, pretty is enough.

Two ways to wear a navy dress with light blue
Dress – Lands’ End
necklace – The Limited; bracelet – Komang Wijayana
cardigan – Eileen Fisher; pumps – Sőfft
cardigan – L.L.Bean; earrings – TJMaxx
scarf – J. McLaughlin; flats – Naturalizer

There are beautiful lavender/lilac garments in the world, if you look long enough! The subtle richness of these colors looks beautiful with navy:

Two ways to wear a navy dress with lavender purple
Dress – Lands’ End
cardigan – L.L.Bean; bracelet – Poppy Jewellery
clutch – Menbur; pumps – Sőfft
cardigan – Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti; earrings – Ila
scarf – Chico’s; flats – Naturalizer

Yes, I know that grey isn't technically a pastel color, by some definitions. But it's soft, it looks great with navy, and if I include it here, I get the "14 different ways to wear a dress" that is fast becoming a Vivienne Files tradition!

Two ways to wear a navy dress with grey accessories
Dress – Lands’ End
earrings – Arya and Ardi; cardigan – Lands’ End
bracelet – Kenneth Jay Lane; pumps – Sőfft
cardigan – Phase Eight; earrings – Matsu Jewellery;
 scarf – Vince Camuto; flats – Naturalizer


For more in the One Navy Dress series, check out the following articles:

One Navy Dress  in a Capsule Wardrobe: 14 Ways to Wear it With Pastels
Like this article? Save it to Pinterest!


  1. Thank you! They are all beautiful combinations. I am a sucker for double necklaces since I saw Morgana wearing/rocking them in Merlin (TV series). Carol S

  2. Beautiful dress and some lovely outfits here. I've been thinking that I might like to buy a pair of pants or a skirt that pick up two of the key colours in my wardrobe, but in a subtle way that still allows for patterned tops. Would you be interested in exploring this theme by showcasing how this could be done across a range of colourways?

  3. I love this dress! I am crazy about sheath dresses, but they are not crazy about my hips. A dress like this is much more forgiving/flattering, and more comfortable. I think the cut and shape of the short yellow jacket works best with the fuller skirt of this dress. Those cardigans with the rippling fronts would be pretty as well if they hit at the waist and not below.

    1. Proportion is critical here - the length and heft of the cardigan, exactly where it hits on one's hips, precisely where the pleats release on the dress etc. I think that this dress is going to work better than expected with longer cardigan because the pleats are stitched down so far. What wouldn't work for a woman who is short-waisted might be gorgeous on someone with a longer torso. It's all in the details!

  4. From Margie in Toronto - Love that dress - need to buy it! I have cardigans in almost all these colours so this shows me how to make that one dress (or pants/skirt + top) would work so well with them. I do need to take a look at my accessories for Fall/Winter - but this is wonderful.

  5. Janice,
    I love the silhouette of this dress, slim over the hips, and then the slight flare toward the bottom -- perfect for my bottom heavy figure ! Except, I would need it in brown. It feels Audrey Hepburn-ish to me ! Beige is my warm month go-to neutral, and various browns for cold weather, coupled with both neutral and accent tops and toppers, as shown here, but using pants instead of a dress. A core set of neutral pieces can be used in so many ways with various accent families -- I learned that right here via the wardrobe wisdom of my favorite blogger !

  6. I am a short waisted, no hip person so this dress is not my best silhouette but I have a friend who is quite narrow and small busted with quite large hips. This is her silhouette ad she only wears dresses or skirts like this and always looks very Italian, (curvy in the best possible way) to me.
    Deb from Vancouver

  7. Oh my goodness , I love every outfit here! And almost every accent color would also go with my other neutral. Due to your encouragement, I've purchased two dresses and have had compliments so I'm less self conscious of my tree trunk legs. It's the first time in years I've worn a dress except for special occasions. This dress looks to be a bit below the knee - or would be with my short legs so it would work . I agree with others, the silhouette is great for us pear shaped women. Love every one of the scarves here also, and the lovely open cardis, I agree, this dress with the longer sewn down pleats can accommodate them well . I want everything here! sigh . And that mauve/pink color - in love... Thanks Janice for such a lovely post and inspiration..

  8. Such pretty combinations! This is a lovely dress. Would be very versatile if it was right for your silhouette.

  9. Love this style of dress. And ooh, that teal green cardigan! - nancyo

  10. The navy and gray together feels inspired. Nice work, Janice! Love the core piece!

  11. I want to get dressed in one of these outfits - any one of them - right now, to go out for a cocktail and dancing. Perhaps I should add that it's breakfast time here, but I'm inspired!
    Robyn in Tasmania

  12. I have a dress that looks identical to this style in black from Calvin Klein and I can vouch for it's versatility. It is hands down my favorite piece of clothing. No matter how I wear it, I feel fabulous. I've dressed it up for dinner with sheer hosiery, heels and sparkling jewelry, dressed it down with a moto jacket and Doc Martens, worn a boucle sweater over it with textured tights and knee high boots in the dead of winter, and paired it with white keds and a statement necklace in summer. I can't imagine not having this dress in my closet.

    I'm very tempted to buy this dress in raspberry (especially since it's ponte!), but I know my wardrobe would benefit from having a dress in a different silhouette. So I am sticking with my shopping list and searching for the perfect sleeveless sheath with a high neck line and matching jacket. Sigh.

  13. You've knocked it out of the ballpark with this one! Home run!
    I love that you chose the navy color of the core dress, and the dress itself with its princess seaming is so flattering on everyone.
    Like other responders here have mentioned, very inspiring. I want to copy all these!