I realised recently that the major part of my wardrobe is navy blue. For a man, younger or older, navy blue is the new black. It goes with any colour, from your crisp white shirt to the favourite acid-green trainers. My favourite pairings are to put navy blue with grey (see the image below from Crew Clothing) and with orange (here's a link to a previous post on this topic).
|Overcombe jacket, grey Oxford jumper Crewe Clothing Co. - blue and grey together|
Navy blue suits a wide spectrum of formality, from dinner jackets to jeans. The last few years have seen the rise in the deep blue evening suit (or tuxedo), popular because it shows up as a luxurious midnight blue under artificial light. For work, a navy blue suit is ideal. A classic of simple elegance, it looks superb with a striped shirt and silk Paisley tie. For casual wear, dark navy is the colour of raw denim jeans or of a wool or waxed-cotton pea coat.
|A navy flannel made to measure suit from Susannah Hall Tailors|
The CEO of Whistles, Jane Shepherdson, has said: "When I see someone in navy, I think they are sophisticated, effortless, not trying too hard but with an innate sense of style," and she continues, "It is more forgiving than black, less harsh and carries with it a subtle whiff of sophistication. It stripes better than any other colour, and looks both classic and sharp at the same time."
|Smart: blue business coat. Hackett AW14|
|Casual: Navy and tan from Crew Clothing Co. Abingdon navy gingham shirt|
The colour flatters a man so well that it was selected by the Royal Navy as the main colour for its uniforms many years ago. The Navy, keen to keep everything shipshape, recognised that Jack would look good in blue; and certainly women seemed to agree. The nautical look is now popular with both high street brands like Whistles (below) as well as retailers with one foot genuinely in the sea, like Crew Clothing Co, which started in water sports.
|Whistles textured pea coat - the nautical look|
So, navy blue is a useful colour for a man, whatever his skin tone or hair colour. It covers a range of hues from midnight blue to a cobalt or dark royal blue, so adding to its flexibility. The only problem is that, as in my case, it can become the easy option and you find your wardrobe has become too blue. In that case relieve the effect with contrasting textures (as below) or with colourful accessories; bright socks, ties, pocket squares and sweaters. Alternatively, play with different shades and tones of blue, the overall effect can be striking.
However you do it, use the versatility of navy blue as a base for more daring sartorial adventures.
|Oliver Spencer SS15 - shades and textures of blue|
Links to suppliers -
Crew Clothing Co. (to whom I'm grateful for their sponsorship of this post.)