Photos: Penny Wincer

Navy blue is the most elegant neutral, right? If my teens and twenties were an interlude in black, then midlife and beyond is all about navy. The best way to wear this grown-up hue is to combine different textures: try dark denim and cashmere with a fabulous faux shearling over the top. For the next few months I’m going to be collaborating with M&S on a series of style posts; casting a beady eye over their collections for those key pieces that fit seamlessly into any wardrobe. I’m quite chuffed about this because instead of going from one thing to another without much forward-planning (in my usual style), I’ve had to get organized and buy a wall planner– it’s also meant that I’ve finally got my hands on the M&S navy cashmere roll neck jumper I’ve been after for years.

Tip: buy online, now, and go one size up if you prefer a slouchy sweater.

Here I’m wearing my navy cashmere with the M&S Collection faux shearling overcoat. Another effortless, everyday style that is great to slip on over dark denim jeans. I’m looking forward to feeling the benefit of this autumnal layering once the unseasonably warm weather blows over. It is hot out there and it’s not just my age.

Cezanne said that, ‘Blue gives other colours their vibration,’ and this is certainly true of navy. When not going head-to-toe, it makes a super-chic canvas on which to add highlights: red, khaki and pumpkin all look ace with navy. And as regular followers all know, I’m particularly fond of the khaki and navy combo. Find a lovely warm hue that brightens the complexion and peps things up a treat.

Note: the faux shearling coat does have a silver synthetic lining.

This is a sponsored post.

56 thoughts on “Navy blue is the grown-up hue

  1. You look great Alyson, that’s my kind of outfit! I LOVE that shearling overcoat – can’t believe it’s M&S. Will definitely be checking that one out! And I agree – I feel I’ve done black to death (no pun intended), time for navy!

  2. M &S hmm , last time I bought any clothing there was early nineties when their linen tops and khaki chinos were what every woman wanted to get their hands on. They used to sell out so fast.

    Navy faux shearling coat isn’t a piece I’d feel drawn to , but I like the way you wear the coat a lot, and could suddenly see possibilities open up for it in my wardrobe.
    However when I clicked to the M&S site what a different story …..
    High heels and slinky dress with little fur coat is just so uncool ,unfortunately I could never erase that image from my retina !

  3. Love the colour Navy in coats and I recently got the M&S Navy peacoat which I have just started to wear as the air has finally turned chilly.

  4. That coat is just gorgeous. Navy was my most flattering colour in my teens and still is in my fifties. Sadly though, I’m in the subtropics and have little use for coats, though I’m sorely tempted…

  5. So with you on this and loving navy blue although I still have a place for black as long as its textured or velvety and kinder to the skin. Chocolate brown also seems to wake my face up. M&S, who knew! And you look fab.

  6. OH for years I was a black freak! A closet of full of black clothes and a few reds, pinks, and greys. Oh brown too. But recently I realize that as I get older, the black seems to drain the color in my face and I’m not aging as prettily as Morticia Addams in all black. So I have turned to blues, specifically navy and darker jewel tone blues to help me along. Now I’m feeling like Morticia’s preppy sister!

  7. I wear navy all the time – I’ve have about 20 navy cashmere sweaters, coats and jackets -it’s perfect – even my shop is painted navy – that’s because it’s so flattering – he he! Like the shearling jacket – might have to add it to my collection – I’ve got those clogs too!

  8. Blue is definetely your colour! I think you look best in cool colours. Khaki f.e. doesn´t look good on cool colour types. I used to wear khaki because I love it so much. Now that I realised I look really sick in it (winter type), I have given all my khaki clothes to friends. It´s unbelievable how much better you look wearing the right colours.

  9. I love almost all shades of blue–it is my go-to color choice. I don’t think I have a single navy piece in my wardrobe. I like your suggestion to veer away from black, which I have way too much of. It’s odd, as an artist, I love all colors, yet my closet is fairly dull! I have noticed that black can tend to make us seasoned ladies look a bit less seasoned. So, I’ll be checking out some navy pieces to add and the thrift shop will get the black items. I do adore that navy cashmere sweater. Wow. It’s a wow.

  10. I went over to navy blue 10 years ago when I realised black made me look like I was on a mortuary slab! I love mine with green as well as orange.

  11. The coat looks great on you, but I saw it in store this morning and it has a horrid synthetic interior finish which put me off even trying it on. I occasionally find something I love in M and S, but today was not the day. I came away with a heatgen fine polo neck in Navy, a pack of fine grey socks with a bit of cashmere in them and seamless shape wear knickers. Not very glam but super useful!

    1. I possibly should have mentioned the silver lining, Christa – in fact, I’ll go back in and add a note. It’s easy to conceal when wearing the coat and I figured at least it will be warm in winter…

  12. Very clever of M&S to choose you! Gorgeous everyday staying for that shearling. I recently bought a navy/midnight blue velvet shirt dress (Vince) that works in a similar spirit–that Casual Glamour you do so well.

  13. Hi Alyson, I love this look! You look beautiful. I’m from Los Angeles USA and not familiar with M&S but visited their site for the US. Could not find the navy plush coat but found a long line bright red wool blend for not much. It reminded me of a coat I bought at Victoria Secret back when they had clothes (lol) that I wore over 10 good years. Not expensive but beautiful and it lasted until the lining basically rotted out from so many cleanings. As a former fashion stylist I learned a long time ago that inexpensive can work well if selected carefully. Thanks!

  14. So pleased you will be working with M&S, it feels as though they need a review of their direction right now. It would be great to see them with more relaxed slouchy styles which are so often perfect for us 50+ ladies.

  15. As I approach my “later 50’s”, I have been embracing navy because it seems a more gentle color to wear; sometimes black, my favorite color, can be harsh. I also love to mix black and navy- very chic combo!
    I enjoy your posts, keep up the fabulous work and thank you!

  16. It must be catching! I too an edging black out of my wardrobe and veering towards navy once again. Just dug out a Jean Muir navy coat and trousers I bought in 2003 and they still look great. And as I type this, I’m wearing a new navy sweater from Needles (sale) and navy pants.
    Off topic, Alyson: I recall admiring your leopard coat but saying I wouldn’t dare wear anything so dramatic as my style is more low key – but I have bought a pair of leopard print ankle boots with red stripe up the back – I love them and feel so buoyant and carefree in them, even though my 75th approaches. TNMA has made me braver!

  17. I created a wardrobe for travel last Winter with navy and black. I added scarves that went with either of these color ways. I used my reliable black trench coat that a sales associate convinced me to purchase 11 years ago; this piece is amazing and looks as good now as then. Navy looks so smart with denim jeans or black ones. I also like grey but it tends to wash me out iI really find the jacket you are wearing lovely!

  18. Gravitating to blue myself for a few years…just bought blue sneakers…2 navy cashmere sweaters, and waiting for FedEx to deliver a navy and grey blazer and navy plaid scarf…have many wonderful black pieces that I now seem to be wearing less frequently. Really like putting together outfits using different shades and styles of blue jeans. Extra thanks for encouraging women to wear comfortable shoes…much could be said about that 🙂

  19. Great look Alyson-the navy blue looks so good on you.
    Can I also ask you where you purchased your clogs from- or can you recommend somewhere that I might get some? I remember when I was at school, we all wore them- circa 1970 something!!!!

  20. Love that coat, love that color, and love that it’s faux fur! All of those dark, navy, midnight, indigo blues are the best. They do always look elegant and can be matched with so many other colors, including black. Agree that they’re the “grown up blue.”

  21. Adding comment to others. The M & S styling is awful compared to yours Alyson. Look at the ages in the reviews M & S, Alyson looks great and shows us the possibilities – a 20 something in a dress and heels, not so much.

  22. How perceptive of M&S to turn to you to get them back on track! They could not have found a more qualified woman for the job. I am sure that you can steer them into producing clothes women actually want to buy. I really love the outfit – ‘spesh the coat although I would be concerned that the whole world and it’s mother might be wearing it! M&S cashmere is fab (I am a 12 but buy a 16). Marks and Uniqlo rule when it comes to cashmere. I, too, love navy with mustard or deep olive green – I need my navy with a strong contrast colour as I have that sallow autumn colouring which makes all navy look a bit ‘blah and me look decidedly peaky. Love the clogs, but clogs always hurt me across the top of my foot, sadly. My favourite coat is my vintage green/navy and mustard coat mohair checked coat with huge bakelite-y buttons that I found in a charity shop in Crystal Palace for twenty quid – it is my happy coat and beautifully tailored in that wonderful vintage way.

  23. Went straight to M&S to try this coat after reading this post, firstly, you look gorgeous in this photo Alyson but here’s my problem with M&S – Why spoil a great idea with horrid ‘Pleather’ silver lining, I could just feel the flush inducing factor, no problem with a silver contrast but what’s wrong with a silky fabric? Secondly – and this is a problem I have constantly with M&S, for those of us blessed with a rear end of Kardashian proportions (But without the bank balance and with copious amounts of cellulite) I tried a size 12, perfect over the shoulders and bust but too tight over the hips, a size up looked like I was wearing hubby’s dressing gown! So what I’m saying is, sometimes they have great ideas but don’t follow it through with comprehensive research into their customer needs. N.B I’ve just ordered the M&S block heeled embellished silver sling backs, similar to ones you wore recently in a post and for the navy fix, a Seasalt boiled wool jacket – gorgeous…

  24. Just bought a new navy blazer. Love it! But most of my pants are black including black denim. I travel a lot and prefer to bring only one jacket. The navy blazer is versatile over pants and skirts, but can I pair it with the black bottoms?

  25. I have tried but I can’t bring myself to wear navy blue. It reminds me too much of school uniform. I tend towards grey and white as I get older and am attempting to cut the black fix. But this outfit looks just right on you.

  26. I walked through M&S Manchester today and saw the coat on a mannequin. Bleurgh, I thought, walking straight past, who would wear that? Now as know Who and, more importantly, How.
    Like everyone else who has posted, I am a fan of navy. But it’s not easy to find whereas black is ubiquitous. More navy please!

  27. Not to be missed for fashion dreaming in navy and black — Dior Fall/Winter 2018, especially ready-to-wear but also couture. The fabrics are light as air and there are many choices for every age.

  28. Just want to note that many of us who look terrible in black look even worse in navy! Both flatter cool coloring, not someone with brown eyes and hair. I’m so happy this year to see a lot of warm browns, blush, burnt orange, green, and gold items everywhere, although basic items in black/navy are always going to dominate.

  29. As ever Alyson you look good in this outfit. Interesting to hear that you will be working with M and S. I recall the Annie Leibovitz campaign and going to look at those clothes and being put off by the fabric and look of them in reality. I’m reluctantly adding blue to my wardrobe having preferred black and grey and olive green as my basics. I do have more blue over past two years. More trousers and jeans than tops. It does look good with red Aqua greens etc. I’ve actually got navy sandals and shoes now too. The new all dark blue Dior campaign suddenly makes navy clothes look more stylish than safe.
    Returning to the topic of packing for travel since I recall you hit the road soon today’s NYT Asian addition has an article by Martha Stewart about her packing tips. First what she calls Workout Gear plus trainers. Second lots of changes of outfit. Three several iPads loaded with books television series and films for sleepless nights apparently. Her own picnic food for the plane and finally her own soap and toiletries. I’m with her on that one taking pleasure daily in my Simple soap from Boots and Dr Hauska lavender bath/shower gel and good quality French shampoo and conditioner hauled half way across the world. Bon Voyage for Paris and New York.

  30. I have been a huge fan of navy for the last couple of seasons as it goes so well with silver hair “fairy hair” as I like to think of it now. Coat is ordered and I am tracking impatiently. Not sure that it is totally appropriate for winter in south east France but I do go back to London often and I work in a really cold office in Marseille….my coat will be loved! Thank you Alyson.xx

  31. You look terrific in the photos and so does the coat. Sadly, I ordered it online and although it fits well and looks good, the hideous lining like that in a cool bag is just too awful and I can’t bear to wear it. So it’s going back today. Why oh why, M&S?

  32. You look brilliant in the whole outfit. Please, please encourage M&S to do more decent tailoring with simple clean lines in good quality fabrics and with appropriate linings. I don’t mind paying a bit more for good quality, even if I have to save up for it.

  33. I loved the look of that coat so went to try it on at M&S yesterday. It looks quite different from the pic in real life, and the lining is a really thick silver almost plastic fabric, which I imagine could get a bit sweaty.
    I didn’t buy it, a real shame as it looks so great in the pic and on you.

  34. I’ve been in love with navy for several years now in lieu of black as a basic. The hardest has been finding cool navy shoes, coats but now its a bit easier. Yes love to pop navy with orange, mustard and of course mix it with khaki. Love that coat.

  35. You look fab and I love the navy coat – I’m off to have a look at it. I bought a perfect navy sweater from M&S at the end of last Winter. These are the types of clothes M&S should be doing and using real people like you to style them, seems like the way to go. I buy very little from them but have a great fondness for the store so knowing what they have and how to style is great and hopefullly they’ll listen to you to and you can give them some ideas and I can put some of my hard earned cash their way rather than to foreign rivals!!!

  36. Navy blue is, interestingly, a universally flattering color — the O Negative of colors — which must be why it is so frequently used in uniforms (and part of why uniforms generally look so sharp). While it is an excellent foil for white, tan, and various yellows, I think it looks beautiful as you’ve worn it here, navy w/ navy of varying textures. All of these look rich, saturated.

  37. Oh dear oh dear! Not only is the silver pleather lining a disaster but the raw edges were fraying as I tried on the coat! For something to look so good on your photograph Alyson, to then have so much wrong with it was a great disappointment. To make matters worse, when I took the coat from the packaging the sleeves were turned back to ‘show off’ the silver lining – it made me shudder.
    M&S – so close, but so far away! Sorry

    1. I am sorry to hear about the fraying and your disappointment, Evie (and Jane and Julie). Agree with you about the silver lining showing, I instantly rolled the sleeves down to conceal it and have managed to wear the coat a couple of times and keep it hidden. A plain, simple lining would’ve been better and I am going to feed this information and the comments back to M&S.

  38. I have a couple of pairs of Troentorp Clogs, they are fab as they have an extra piece on the soles to make them softer to walk in. Love my clogs and your blog 🙂

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