Things Organized Neatly: The Bruiser

"You can't do that."
"Do what?"
"Wear black and navy."

"Says who?"
"You just can't."

Gentlemen, who gave us this no-black-and-navy rule?
Hell, who said you can't wear brown and black together? I'm sure they had every good intention of steering you away from being gawked at or accused of being color-blind (because hey, I know a few guys who are color blind.) But let's step back and reassess of our views on mixing black and navy.

For us Midwestern boys, we were told not to wear black and navy together because...
  • It's too dark.
  • It doesn't match.
  • It doesn't look "good."

Disagree. You can do it, and you can do it well.
  • It's too dark: Try breaking up the navy and black with some white, grey or another neutral—even olive or khaki. (Yes, those are considered neutrals.)
  • It doesn't match: That's the point. You don't have to match your belt to your shoes to your watch strap color. Although you can, you don't have to. You've heard the expression "matchy-matchy?" Yeah, let's avoid that in this scenario and roll with the bruised-looking palette, that's often how I look walking out the door. (A little black and blue, with a dash of purple or mustard.)
  • It doesn't look "good." Well, that's in the eye of the beholder. And I'm beholding you and telling you it looks sharp. You were probably told that you can't wear dress shoes without socks and that you can't wear white after Labor Day. Bullshit.
Feeling ballsy? Add a touch of yellow or an obnoxious pattern.

Grey straight-leg chino by Nonnie Threads, small; black trim fit waxed stretch cotton "Brayden" jacket (Nordstrom) by Comune, small; black-and-white-striped tee by American Apparel, small; navy cotton button-down by J.Crew, extra-small; Weekly-Planner Notebook by Moleskine; thrifted black leather belt with brass detailing; white "Authentics," courtesy of Vans.


  1. you guys are awesome, just found your blog recently and love the tone and all your styles. LOVE this post.

  2. Yo Guys...

    One important note on rocking mismatched colors such as navy and black: keep the shades far apart. A deep midnight navy will be lost against black. A true navy or even a dark indigo will look sophisticated against black because it looks distinct and purposeful. One of my favorite cardigans is navy with a black placket. And look at the varsity jackets the Woolrich Wooolen Mills did last winter. A perfect use of black and blue.

    Basically, its hard to tell the difference between deep blues or browns and blacks. If you can't tell them apart at first glance, then don't wear em together.

  3. This looks amazing, I think in the end these colors look perfect together!

  4. NZ—

    Great point. Good to remember there should be a method to the madness.

    PV and Jamillah, thanks. Props to you guys!

  5. Thank you for posting this. I always thought black and navy look awesome together.. if you follow these rules!


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