What Colors Can't You Wear With Black, Navy & Brown?

Sofia Coppola shows you can accessorize navy with black at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors' Awards.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In fashion, anything goes – or almost. Navy, black and brown are wardrobe staples that pair with almost any color in your wardrobe. These neutrals are safe to wear with just about anything – even each other.


Black pants, skirts and dresses are in almost every wardrobe for a reason – the color goes with everything. Be wary, however, of making black your lazy color. If you have a blouse that is hard to match, such as teal, avoid always wearing it with black. Break out and try it with gray or silver to be different and less harsh. Old-fashioned fashion rules ban navy and black from being worn together. While the very dark navy that you have to hold up against a true black to determine its color may look like a fashion mistake, when paired with black, obvious navy and black outfits have made an appearance on the runways at fashion week. If you are unsure about bending the rules, pair navy and black with gray or add stripes with a splash of white.


Navy is as neutral as black declares "British Vogue." It goes with just about anything, but you may want to avoid certain pairings. Avoid wearing neon with navy – actually, avoid wearing neon altogether. You can, however, mix navy with unexpected pops of color including hot pink, chartreuse and lavender – just not all at once.


Brown is a warm neutral and like navy and black goes with just about everything. Avoiding wearing black and brown together is another outdated rule. You can even wear brown – especially a sedate camel color – with gray to create a very modern pairing.

All Together

If you fear wearing navy, black and brown altogether – don't! You won't look boring – in fact, you can look especially fresh. Actress Rachel Bilson was spotted wearing a short navy dress with a chunky brown belt and black bag – looking entirely hip and now. The only way you can truly know whether an outfit works is to try it on and check it out in a full-length mirror.

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