Skip to Content

Is it OK to wear black and blue together?

Is it OK to wear black and blue together?

The combination of black and blue in an outfit is a debated topic in fashion. Some people believe these colors should never be worn together, while others think they can work well. There are a few key considerations when deciding if black and blue is an acceptable color pairing.

The traditional view

Traditionally, black and blue are seen as clashing colors that should not be paired in one outfit. The reasoning stems from the basic principles of color theory.

Black is a neutral shade that goes with almost anything. Blue, on the other hand, is a cool tone. When you put cool tones and warm tones together, they tend to clash. Black has warm undertones, while blue is cool. This makes them discordant when worn together in many cases.

The common phrase used is “black and blue should never be seen.” This old line captures the traditional viewpoint that combining these two colors is a fashion faux pas.

When black and blue can work

While it’s true that black and blue often clash, there are ways to pull off this color combination successfully. Here are some tips:

– Choose dark navy blue rather than brighter shades when pairing with black. Dark navy has less contrast against black.

– Add a third color as a bridge between the black and blue. Gray, white, beige, or brown can help them blend together more seamlessly.

– Pattern mixing diminishes the contrast. Pair a black and white print top with a navy blue bottom.

– Use color blocking to your advantage. Wear a black skirt with a navy blue sweater or vice versa.

– Stick to blue denim on bottom paired with black on top. This classic look works well.

– Try different shades of blue like cobalt or royal blue, which aren’t as stark against black.

When to avoid black and blue

There are certain situations where you’ll want to steer clear of wearing black and blue:

– At formal events or work functions. The combination can come across as too casual.

– For color coordination purposes. If you’re matching outfits with a group, black and blue makes that more difficult.

– With bright, bold shades of blue. Pairing electric blue with black is jarring.

– Monochromatic looks. An all-black outfit with one blue accessory stands out in a bad way.

– With lots of contrast. A black shirt and light blue jeans creates too much visual contrast.

Tips for wearing black and blue

Here are some top tips to follow when styling an outfit with black and blue:

– Layer black and blue carefully. A black jacket over a navy top allows you to control the contrast.

– Accessorize to tie the colors together. Metallic shoes or a purse can make black and blue more cohesive.

– Stick to subdued shades of blue and black. Deeper, muted tones are easiest to mix and match.

– Use black as your neutral base. Build your outfit around black pieces and add blue as an accent color.

– Add texture variations. Pairing a black leather jacket with a blue chambray shirt helps diminish the contrast.

– Break up solid blocks of color. If wearing a black skirt and blue shirt, add tights, a belt, or scarf.

Examples of successful black and blue outfits

When executed strategically, black and blue can be quite chic. Here are some examples of how to tastefully combine these colors:

Black jeans with a navy blazer or cardigan

This is a go-to combination that works for both casual and business casual looks. The shirt acts as a bridge between the two colors.

Black sheath dress with blue heels or bag

Pops of blue accessories modernize an LBD. Metallic or patterned blue shoes or a clutch pull the outfit together.

Navy trousers with black loafers and belt

This stylish mix works for men or women. The black shoes and belt anchor the look.

Black pencil skirt with a cobalt blouse

Pairing a black fitted skirt with a jewel-toned blouse on top creates visual interest. Add nude heels to elongate legs.

Dark wash jeans with a black leather jacket

This casual classic never goes out of style. Add a gray scarf to further bridge the gap between the two colors.

Guidelines for mixing black and blue

If you want to pair black and blue successfully, keep these guidelines in mind:

Color Ratio

In most cases, it’s best to make one of the colors more dominant. Make blue the accent color against a black base or vice versa.


Avoid placing the black and blue next to each other. Separate them with a neutral color in between instead.

Shade Variation

Don’t go for a high contrast look. Pick muted, deep shades of blue and black so they blend better.

Texture Mixing

Vary the textures like pairing a silk navy shirt with black wool trousers. This makes the color contrast less jarring.

Accessory Tie-In

Use accessories in metallic silver, gold, or camel to bridge the gap between the black and the blue.

Guideline Example
Color Ratio Black trousers with a blue blazer
Location Blue shirt under a black sweater
Shade Variation Charcoal gray sweater with deep navy trousers
Texture Mixing Black leather belt with blue chambray shirt
Accessory Tie-In Black dress with gold earrings and blue heels

Celebrity examples

Many fashionable celebrities have rocked the black and blue combo on the red carpet. Here are a few examples:

Anne Hathaway wore a flowing black maxi skirt with a royal blue sweater at a movie premiere. Black heels tied the look together.

Kate Middleton donned a black and blue patterned dress for a royal engagement. The intricate print blended the colors beautifully.

Gabrielle Union stunned in a navy plunging gown with black strappy heels at an awards show after-party. The deep blue was vibrant against the black.

Zendaya looked chic in a belted black dress with cobalt blue heels while promoting a film. The pop of color elevated the LBD.

Mindy Kaling sparkled in a sequined navy cocktail dress and black blazer on a talk show appearance. The black jacket grounded the shiny dress.

Celebrity Black and Blue Outfit
Anne Hathaway Black maxi skirt with royal blue sweater
Kate Middleton Black and blue patterned dress
Gabrielle Union Navy blue gown with black heels
Zendaya Belted black dress with cobalt heels
Mindy Kaling Navy sequined dress and black blazer


Black and blue can be successfully paired together in an outfit with somestrategic styling. The key is choosing the right shades and textures, adding neutral pieces, and using the colors in the proper proportions. Avoiding high contrast looks and adding accessory tie-ins also helps black and blue work in harmony. With the right stylistic choices, you can definitely don black and blue confidently.