Both a bold color and a neutral hue, this particular shade of blue is having a modern moment.
This spring, we are pairing navy with millennial pink for zippy pop. With a white stripe, it’s sailor chic. And on its own, it’s long, lean, and montone.
Where does it come from?
Navy blue takes its name from the dark blue the British Royal Navy had as part of its uniform in the 18th century. It started on its fashionable course in the early 1800s, when Beau Brummell, probably the world’s first dandy, wore navy blue pantaloons. Eventually, navy became a hallmark of men’s — and later women’s — sportswear.
During the mid-19th century, Queen Victoria dressed her young sons — Prince Albert, Prince Alfred, and Prince Leopold — in navy-blue-and-white sailor suits. That elevated the shade to its reigning preppy-chic status. In the 1940s and ’50s, navy blue became the go-to color for the impeccably dressed, thanks to Christian Dior’s generous use of it in his New Look. Navy blue had grown up.
Fashion’s swift move to all things casual in the 1980s and ’90s gave navy a dated look, leaving many a well-dressed woman asking, “Where can I find my beloved navy blue pumps?” As contemporary designers like Jason Wu and Christian Siriano have been inspired by looks from yesteryear, they’ve been sending navy (and royal) sheaths, swing dresses, and pantsuits down their runways. Not only is navy blue high fashion, mall stores from Ann Taylor to Gap have a host of navy blue offerings this spring.
Who is wearing it?
Navy was a staple during this year’s red-carpet season, with everyone wearing it, from Mandy Moore (who wore a flowing navy Naeem Khan to the Golden Globes) to Taraji P. Henson (in a velvet Alberta Ferretti). Ludacris hosted Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards in a dapper, deep-blue suit, and first daughter Ivanka Trump opted for a pious navy blue, long-sleeve shirt when she visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall last week.
Would Elizabeth wear it?
Yes. For Easter, I wore a navy blue fit-and-flare. My 5-year-old nephew whispered to me in church, “I love that dress.”
Should you wear it?
Yes. Navy blue is one of the few colors everyone can wear.
Where can you find it?
Accordion cross-body bag in navy, $395, at Shinola in King of Prussia Mall; Eyelet flutter-sleeve shift, $98, at LOFT, 1729 Walnut St., 267-256-0690; Navy blue suede sandals, $128, at Ann Taylor, 1713 Walnut St., 215-977-9336.