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Key Colour: Navy

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Occasionally, those of us who have a passion for fashion get lost in the moment, somehow forgetting about the core element to dressing, and more importantly, the essentials to dressing well.

We get bogged down in the here and the now, the must haves, should haves and we want but will never haves. We forget about the long run, the style requisites instead concentrating all our efforts on the here and the now. However, no great painting was ever created without a blank canvas at its inauguration and much the same can be said with regard to the painting of our fashion / style palette.

I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to talking about our clothing choices; many of my articles for MFM revolve around the trends of the moment, the style zeitgeists, the finger on the pulse of the latest fashion movement sweeping the land rather than the essential pieces and colours that are paramount no matter the season.

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One such colour rarely discussed but seen on most men, most days of the week is navy. The colour navy is akin to being so deep in the forest we cannot see the trees, but take a few steps back and you will soon realise that without this essential shade of blue our wardrobe is as lost as a pair of jeans in a whirlwind.

There are so many facets to navy it’s hard to know where to begin; be it the traditional denim jeans or navy blue suit, the abundance of shirts or t-shirts, the coats or chinos, there is no escaping the impact navy has on our sartorial choices.

Navy goes with everything and that is the crux of the matter because while trend pieces can only be worn for a certain duration (with specific items) there is never a moment when navy fails to be anything other than resilient, reliable and a constant source of comfort when the clothes we own appear old and dated.   

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Navy is the perfect foil to the rest of our wardrobe and the items of clothing we choose to wear on a daily basis. To call it a safe colour suggests a hint of dullness or lack of imagination yet I prefer to think of it as the fulcrum for the rest of our chosen outfit. For example, if you’re wearing a navy blue suit, who says you cannot pair it up with an exuberant floral print shirt. Likewise with a pair of navy blue jeans.

This trustworthy tone is the base from which the rest of our wardrobe can jump into the more adventurous realms of fashion. Here’s a quick look in to the world of navy and all it has to offer:

Coats and Jackets

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From the classic Naval Peacoats to artist jackets, bomber jackets to Burberry Macs and suit blazers, far from being boring, a navy jacket is always a wonderful piece of clothing to pull from the wardrobe.

double trench coatcotton bomber jacketoverdye denim jacket

navy pinstripe blazerdouble welded raincoatsuede biker jacket

T-Shirts

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I think it important that if you are going to wear a navy t-shirt, an item renowned for the casual look, it’s best paired with something slightly more exuberant than navy jeans. Think about a lighter colour chino, grey flannel trousers or washed out pair of jeans rather than a monotone outfit that merely blends in to itself.

anchor pique teeeye teecolour block tee

oversize navy teespot printed teeneil barrett tee

Shirts

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A navy shirt doesn’t need to be one block colour. Although there is nothing to say you shouldn’t, a good print with navy as its core is the ideal way to liven up your outfit. Worn as a formal shirt or with a more contemporary feel, there are plenty to choose from this season.

maison martin shirtblue check shirtombre checked shirt

dandelion print shirtmulti dot shirtpeter werth shirt

Footwear

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Navy can be a tricky item in the footwear department but get it right and your outfit will be made. The navy shoe or trainer is suited to an outfit with a dash of flamboyance and immediately brings to mind the summer months. Whether it’s hi-top trainers, a smart pair of shoes or tasselled loafers for those summer holidays, navy shoes are very much for the man who knows what he likes.

two tone shoesnavy retro trainersblue semi brogues

horsebit suede loafersmesh slipon shoeschukka boots leather

Trousers

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Of course the first item that springs to mind is denim but navy suit trousers and chinos are just as important. There is a whole world of navy trousers out there, as I’m sure you’re only too well aware so I shan’t bore you with the details of what to wear it with, just peruse some of the items below.

cotton twill chinosdark blue chinosdark wash jeans

slim leg chinosrocco slim jeansroc satin chinos

Accessories

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Caps, backpacks, belts, socks, ties, watches, wallets, sunglasses. You name it, it comes in navy. The beauty of a navy wallet or belt, or any of the other aforementioned items, is they all look great in navy and are in fact slightly left of centre because usually in the environs of our accessories, the first port of call for men is black.

suede trimmed backpackpuritan navy hatleopard billford wallet

woven elastic beltemporio leather strapdframe sunglasses

Conclusion

It is all too easy to get caught up in the fashion moment but without the essential hue and undemanding nature of navy and those of her ilk (primarily black and white) our wardrobe would be a mishmash of colours with little structure in which to combine our outfit choices.

It is easy to dismiss navy as boring and for the man who refuses to abandon his sense of style, but delve a little deeper in to the murky world of navy and one soon realises it is fundamental to us retaining a sense of style decorum.

I am all for testing the boundaries of fashion and style but never under estimate the importance of classic navy. It’s called a classic colour for a reason.

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Robbie Canale
Robbie Canale

Robbie Canale is a freelance writer and stylist with a passion for football and fashion, two genres he knows should never go together! He has contributed to publications including Harper's Bazaar Arabia, GQ Dubai and Pickles football magazine.

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Every guy wants to dress better, and MFM is your daily dose of men’s fashion and style. Focusing on style education features, fashion news, and connecting the modern day man to the menswear industry, we’re here to help.
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