The Ultimate Fall 2016 Navy Dress Guide, powered by Nordstrom

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Get the details on these dresses at the bottom of the post.

Isn't navy grand? Such a classic color, and yet it's often a challenging one to style. It's very easy to veer into flight attendant territory without meaning to! So I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share my 26 favorite navy dresses for work right now, the colors to wear them with, and how to avoid ending up with people asking you what time the flight takes off (or worse)...

The photo map at the top of this post is divided into a few categories -- Classics, Prints, Modern, Casual and Trendy. You know your office past -- can you get away with wearing a dress sans sleeves or above the knee? Will a print be well-received or considered distracting in your work setting? Some creative fields value more casual or offbeat looks while edgier companies like marketing or technology firms may focus on an updated look that doesn't push the boundaries too, too far. And some settings like a fashion house or studio may want the trendiest look possible.

Step 1 then is to look at the categories above and figure out which one best visually describes your work environment. For example, at my last client (a very large, well-known but conservative fashion house) would have been fine with any of the dresses in the Classic or Modern sections, but would have frowned upon most of the dresses from the other sections. The technology company I worked at previous to that would have loved most of the Prints and all of the Casual dresses, yet had I worn a dress from the Classic section my coworkers would have asked me if I was headed to a job interview. Most pleasingly, at my current job (which just so happens to combine fashion and technology) any of these dresses would do!

You may find that more than one category works for you and that is excellent! I will be referring back to these categories further down in the post for reference.

With your category selected, Step 2 is figuring out which colors will work with navy in your office for accessories and shoes. First, let's talk about colors to avoid wearing with navy. Basically, you want to avoid any primary colors with the exception of cobalt blue or a jewel-toned shade of blue one shade lighter than your navy dress color. You also want to avoid ivory and most white tones. Why? Well, ivory and red immediately put you dangerously near flight attendant territory in most cases, and navy and green is too strong a color combination for most offices.

Now you may be thinking, but roxy, I have a pair of green earrings that look simply divine with my dark navy dress! And to that I say yes I'm sure you're right. There are of course exceptions to every guideline here. I'm aiming for an easy-to-follow guide though so I'm going to make some generalized recommendations.

That said, what colors do work with navy? Right now in late summer to early fall muted pinks and bright yellows are your best friends. A happy pink necklace can set off your face beautifully, a yellow shoe can be the unexpected color pop of an outfit. Black always works with navy for an updated motif, especially in urban settings. Cobalt is a delightful treat that allows you to work monochrome at a whole new level, and come colder weather especially garnet (or wine, or whatever you like to call it) feels luxurious and warm with navy. Of course, you could always stick to one shade and wear all navy! This works best with medium to lighter hair or darker skin -- I find that when my hair is dark brown, it's not enough contrast.

With the printed dresses above you can pick out one color from the print and use that color to choose your accessories. Or you can choose multiple colors if your print is diverse -- for example with dress no. 7 you could wear a light pink necklace and darker pink shoes, or with dress no. 12 you could do cobalt shoes and yellow earrings.

Here are some simple outfit ideas to help inspire...

Dress Jacket Shoes

Step 3 is clearly picking out accessories. Again, to keep things simple I've chosen jewelry, shoes and a bag for each coordinating color...

Top row | GARNET | Necklace | Shoes | Bag
2nd row | COBALT | Earrings | Shoes | Bag
3rd row | PINK | Necklace | Shoes | Bag
4th row | YELLOW | Necklace | Shoes | Bag
Bottom row | BLACK | Earrings | Shoes | Bag

Now you're ready to rock navy every day of the work week if you'd like, and no two outfits will look the same! If that isn't work wear success, I'm not sure what is...

THE CLASSICS No 1 | No 2 | No 3 | No 4 | No 5
THE PRINTS No 6 | No 7 | No 8 | No 9 | No 10 | No 11 | No 12
THE MODERNS No 13 | No 14 | No 15 | No 16
THE CASUALS No 17 | No 18 | No 19 | No 20
THE TRENDIES No 21 | No 22 | No 23 | No 24 | No 25 | No 26

Want more navy-coordinating inspiration? I have special landing pages on Nordstrom's site set up for: Handbags | Jewelry | Shoes. You can shop all of Nordstrom's work clothing in this special section.