Navy is a little like chocolate: it goes with nearly anything, which makes a great pair of navy pants a timeless wardrobe staple. Everything from a girly pink cardigan to a punk-rock black pullover with studded shoulders works well with navy bottoms. Even a navy sweater might work – although not all shades of blue pair perfectly with your favorite navy trousers.
Classic and Elegant: Neutrals
Create an upscale ensemble by sticking to all neutrals. Top navy pants with a chocolate brown sweater to emulate a rich, cozy autumnal vibe. Love the nautical look? Pair navy pants with a cream or white sweater, blue-and-white striped boat shoes and red accessories. Any shade of gray works with navy, from a light dove gray to a deep, bluish gunmetal. Even olive green, considered by some to be a neutral, contrasts nicely with navy. And while pairing black with navy used to be taboo, this color combo is chic and timeless – provided the navy is just bright enough to clearly read as blue.
Monotone Chic: Shades of Blue
Think of head-to-toe blue as a neutral backdrop for some truly bold accessories. Pick a sweater in the same navy shade as the pants and add a cherry-red belt and statement necklace, or drape a boldly-patterned scarf around your neck.
All lighter shades of blue work beautifully with navy, too. Sweet sky blue, saturated turquoise or steely bluish gray tones are all lovely choices. One word of caution: be wary of combining two colors that are only slightly different shades of blue. Wearing a sweater in a deep royal blue shade with navy pants might look like a matching miscalculation. The combination looks more intentional if the two pieces are either nearly identical shades or are clearly different shades.
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Sweetly Chic: Pastels
A lightweight pastel sweater is the perfect way to transition navy pants from winter into spring and, weather depending, all the way into summer. Dusty pink, lilac, baby-chick yellow, a soft moss green – even a pale orange sweater would look lovely paired with navy.
Bold and Bright: Neons and Prints
Maybe it's the neon yellow sweater you scored for pennies before an '80s-themed party but secretly want to wear again, or maybe you own a zebra-print sweater that you've never figured out how to dress up enough to wear to the office. Whatever bold or even slightly wacky sweater is gathering dust in the back of the closet, it will probably look right with navy pants. Navy pants have a tendency to dress up any look, so a sweater that you would otherwise choose to wear only as a jeans companions may be elevated into dressiness worn over navy. And bright shades of red and pink you couldn't bring yourself to place next to stark black can blend well when they find a home next to dark blue.
Kathryn Walsh has been writing about health, wellness and beauty for nearly 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including USAToday.com, Mamapedia and Livestrong.com.