Parlez-Vous Fashion: In Which Navy Trumps Black

11/07/2013 20:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

Navy is the new black. Sorry to all those so long, so black soul sisters, but I'm switching it up. I am in favour of the tender shade, the chic, elegant colour that Jil Sander may as well be ambassador for. If navy was a country, she'd be prime minister. She even named her diffusion navy. And she's the queen of all that is good, alongside la Philo so take orders from her.

But let me tell you why I like navy. It is soft - Holly Fulton used navy in her spring collection instead of the fashion crow's favourite. There's no harshness to contend with, and it suits an English rose complexion better. I find that black too near the face has unfortunate consequences more significant than its flattering talent. And what's to stop you wearing black with navy? Your mother might have given you the great brush off when you tried to match the two shades, and while I now recognise why my indoor shoes were navy to match my skirt, I'm in all favour of a divisive 'clash'. It's not that radical, really. It just makes sense. Black and navy as fashion neutrals are mutually complementary; years of resisting the midnight shade - and a decade of navy school skirts - taught me that it was my friend. And it remains that way. While the best black jeans are a steely investment and should be put on a pedestal when found - they are an unruly species, always escaping from sight and never easy to pin down - my most-worn trousers are a hardy pair of the blue variety.

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Holly Fulton SS13 / Jil Sander SS13

While black is always the new black, and Jonathan Saunders, Erdem and Meadham Kirchhoff brought it to the table in their autumn 2013 offerings, navy holds its own in more cheerful terms. It is lighter, more airy - I like to think of it as black's Kate Moss cousin, the insouciant little devil. It goes well with red and white, provided you don't end up resembling a sailor, or the American flag.

And sitting inside your wardrobe, it just feels easier. Pairing navy and pink - take your cue from Dior SS13 - seems more natural than black and pink. Black just makes everything look brighter, and sometimes that's not the desired effect. If your navy is super dark, it's almost black anyhow, but there's a little edge. It's not so predictable - I'm much more in favour of the LND. Little Navy Dress. It's very much nicer.

I like to think what you wear tells a story about you. And if navy is my protagonist, then I'm a nonconformist. I don't much resemble one, but I'm sending black to room 101. Navy is in my ivory tower, and long may it reign. All of that being said, I'm still not won over by navy tights. But I think that's something I can live with.


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