Navy has a commanding presence in military wear, elegant attire and business clothes, and it is often accented with silver or gold. If you’re wondering which metal you should wear, consider that navy and silver are both cool tones, and on a color wheel, navy is a complementary color to gold — so either metal works. Follow your personal preference along with a few simple guidelines to choose the best accessory color for your navy outfit.


Casual

A sundress or nautical-inspired striped shirt with navy pants looks flattering with white or silver accessories with flat sandals and a straw bag. A navy sweater with white jeans makes sense with silver shoes, bag and bangles for simplicity, though you could easily wear gold for a formal nautical look with a navy blazer, gold buttons and gold earrings. With a flouncy skirt and a navy tank, wear silver for a light freshness. Wear gold jewelry with a navy cable knit and wool pants, as gold offers a “heaviness” that works well with sweaters.

Traditional

Gold accents flatter navy mixed with cognac or beige. Gold offers a traditional look, as the popular fine jewelry metal since ancient Egypt. A men’s navy suit worn with brown shoes and belt works well with a gold watch. For a modern men’s look, use silver, pewter, platinum or titanium. Traditional color matching also takes skin tone into consideration. If you have a warm skin tone, gold flatters your skin. With a cool skin tone, traditional color matching theory suggests that silver offers the best effect — however, “Self” magazine notes that gold flatters all skin tones. Also take your other outfit colors or makeup into consideration. A pink shirt with a navy suit is a cool tone that is better with silver. A peach lipstick with a navy dress is better with gold accents.

Jeans

When you wear navy jeans and a shirt in warm tones like orange, cream and brown, wear gold accessories. Navy jeans paired with cooler tones such as violet, pink or green are flattered by silver accessories. When you want to dress up navy jeans, use gold accessories.

Formal

Other accessories you are wearing will give you a cue to match either gold or silver with a navy suit, dress or gown. If you are wearing something that has gold buttons or a gold buckle or purse clasp, wear gold. When you wear diamonds, match the diamond backing. Ralph Lauren runway styles show navy gowns with art deco jewelry with a silvery glow, while Oscar de La Renta styles pair baroque romantic styles in gold with navy. Evening jewelry is formal and beautiful in either metal. Both offer a strong contrast; a gold necklace or silver earrings will stand out against navy, and gold or silver heels will doll up a navy cocktail dress.