Reader Request: Navy Skirts for Winter

how to wear a navy skirt in winter

Reader Erika emailed me this request:

I have not historically worn navy or dark blue skirts, feeling they looked too preppy or stuffy on me. Now, however, I am finding navy skirts in the stores that are not only cute, but well-made. I am a bit lost on how to style navy skirts specifically, especially what kind of leggings or tights colors to wear with them, and how to coordinate a top without ending up looking like I’m wearing something that belongs on a schoolgirl. I prefer a more office casual kind of style, with fun or artistic accessories and touches, rather than polished or preppy.

I have to say, friends, that I am really enjoying wearing lots of pants and NOT having to figure out what color I want my legs to be for the day. (Meaning, picking tights that work with my outfit.) But since I’ve done skirts in winter for many long years, I do have some ideas to share for making navy skirts work in cold weather.


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Here are two examples with a palette I LOVE using for navy skirts: Burgundy, olive, and charcoal with cognac accents. I think charcoal/heather gray tights are the most versatile, and they work well with navy in a variety of mixes. Here, in the left outfit, they’re in a slightly more casual mix with tall boots, a pleated skirt, burgundy sweater, and field jacket. The scarf includes burgundy and olive, so serves as a bridging piece. The same palette is used on the right but with burgundy tights – another versatile color for hosiery – and cognac ankle boots with a pencil skirt, olive sweater, burgundy blazer, and that same unifying scarf. You could also rejigger the items and go for olive green tights.


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Speaking of scarves, there’s always the “wear a multicolored scarf and let it dictate the palette” technique. Any scarf with navy in the pattern will work with a navy skirt. On the left, the scarf includes navy, cobalt, black, and white, thus the black tights and boots and bright sweater. On the right, there are gobs of color in that scarf, with dark red and turquoise pulled out and complemented by cognac leather boots and a jacket. If red legs are too much for ya, charcoal would work here, too, and you could do a red or tan blazer instead.


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You can also play with patterned tights and simpler palettes. Gray – heathered/charcoal or otherwise – is a great bet with navy. Try a gray sweater and gray patterned tights with loafers and a long pendant. Or go for sheer, patterned navy tights with a pale blue sweater and multicolored scarf for a monochrome look. Gray ankle boots blend well without getting too matchy.

Those are some of my favorite combos. What other suggestions would you give to Erika?

Top images courtesy J.Crew

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Originally posted 2015-02-23 06:33:16.

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3 Responses to “Reader Request: Navy Skirts for Winter”

  1. Roberta Johnson

    I just wanted to comment that I had this identical dilemma, and solved it this weekend at Ann Taylor. They had a heavyweight, knit, pencil skirt 50% off and I bought it. I had to check with the clerk to make sure it was navy first. đŸ™‚ But it’s just right with tights and boots and more walkable than a non-stretch version. (I find corduroy and flannel a little stiff on me.)

  2. Ginger

    I think those look good, for me the operative concept with leg wear is muted colors. You can do primary brights with navy in warm months when no tights are needed, in the winter you want to avoid clown legs.

  3. Erika

    Oh gosh, yay!! I’m thrilled to see my request on here, and you NAILED the kind of style I like to wear just based on my description. I am officially in awe of your chops.

    I would wear basically any of these outfits, but without the jackets (too constricting). I feel genuinely inspired, and I think I can put similar looks to these together with items that I already own. A complete win. Thanks so much!