In college, I wore a navy pencil skirt to all of my job interviews.  My parents had bought me a conservative navy suit from JCrew (“it’s the most professional color, honey”) and I remember feeling very grown up.  Plus, it was the late 90’s, I had a math degree, and the dot-com boom was in full swing.  Basically, if you could breathe, you got a job.

Me?  I’d been breathing my whole life.  #nailedit

This is all to say that most of us, at least those who have worked in an office environment, probably have a navy skirt lurking around somewhere.  Navy skirts (especially pencil skirts) are a perfect summer office staple:  pair with nude pumps, add some sort of silky blouse….done.  Chic and professional and even a little sexy.

But what the heck do you do with your navy skirt in the winter?  Tall boots?  Sure.  *IF* your pencil skirt hits right at the knee or above, tall boots (which hit below the knee) could work.  But most pencil skirts fall right where tall boots end and the two end up in some sort of day-long war, both fighting for position.

So when it’s cold, we’re left with….tights.  But what color – navy?  NO.  Cream or white?  Probs not.  You could maaaaybe get away with an oxblood tight or forest green or something, but then you run the risk of becoming The Girl With The ColorFul Legs and as choices go, in a conservative office environment, that one might be best described as Career Limiting.

It all comes down to the black tights.

Black and navy is one of my favorite color combinations, but it can be tricky.  The key is to make the look intentional.  Here are three ways to style a navy pencil skirt with black tights for the office….using pieces you might already have.

1. Add A Striped Top



If you follow me on Instagram (@shanachristine), then you’ve already seen this outfit.  But this ubiquitous striped shirt is a perfect way to pull black and navy together.  If it’s cold, layer it over a black turtleneck to reinforce the base.  Go with black accessories (shoes, bag).




Let’s talk about this layering situation for a sec.  As you can see in the above pic, I didn’t take the time to make sure my turtleneck was laying flat.  This bugs me.  HOWEVER….in real life as I was walking around and skirts scrunch like skirts often scrunch….realistically no one would notice.  Nobody looks that closely at anything (here’s proof, haha).  But if this kind of situation drives you nuts, stay tuned.  I have something in the works that will help.  More on that topic next week.


Outfit Details

shirt: St. James x JCrew Striped Tee (my longtime favorite, just restocked after a multi-year hiatus.  St. James, so good to have you back at JCrew.)

turtleneck: JCrew Tissue Turtleneck (on sale!)

skirt: Tuxe Bodywear Shaper Skirt c/o

tights: Plush fleece-lined tights (mine are 5+ years old – time for new ones, but that’s pretty good)

boots: old Vince Camuto ankle boots…also check out these strappy ankle booties (they’re all kinds of amazing), or try this low-heeled pair – it has a surprisingly sleek shape.

bag: Kate Spade NY Henry Duffle Bag

necklace: Pyrrha

sunglasses: Prada c/o Ditto


2.  Leopard Print + Brown Accessories



Cream sweaters and navy skirts seem like an obvious, if not a slightly boring, choice.  And pairing the combo with black tights and black shoes is….fine.  Nice.  Safe.

A more interesting choice, in my opinion, is to pull the outfit together with leopard print shoes, then keep the whole look balanced with a rich brown (or tan) bag.




Outfit Details

sweater: Design History Cowl Neck Sweater

skirt: Tuxe Bodywear Shaper Skirt c/o

tights: Plush fleece-lined tights (mine are 5+ years old – time for new ones, but that’s pretty good)

pumps: old Aerosoles…if you are also not afraid of wandering into ‘comfort pump’ territory, Naturalizer has a similar pair and so does French Connection and Nine West.  HOLLA FOR THE LOW HEEL!!  (The last two are on sale, BTW.)

bagLily Jade Diaper Bag c/o

sunglasses: Prada c/o Ditto

lipstick: Bite Beauty Butter Cream Lipstick in Rosewood


3. Chambray Always



I do realize that my casual chambray shirt wouldn’t work in every office.  But just go with me here – it’s all about the concept, not the execution.  And chambray + navy is really, really good.  When paired with black tights, it’s almost like a dip-dye effect.  (And a darker chambray would be even better.)

I’m still wearing the leopard shoes, but since the navy and chambray are so well balanced, even a black shoe would be fine.





Outfit Details

shirtFrank and Eileen, but I’d love to see this skirt with a darker chambray shirt – like this one.  And now that I’m in the process of convincing myself that I need a new chambray shirt, I thought I’d share my finds.  #shoppingenabler4eva





Hope this helps!!  And if there’s any other workplace outfit conundrums you’re dealing with, let me know!  It’s fun to try and puzzle these through.




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Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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  1. Shana, I also love navy and black. In fact, since December (and because my closet is so small and all my clothes don’t fit–yes I need to cull, but it is soooo hard!) I’ve been choosing a color theme each month. January was navy and black as you can see on #myeverydayedit at @krembdelakremb.

    What’s super funny Shana is recently, in my feeble attempts to cull my closet, I saw my navy blue suit that my folks also bought me for those 90s interviews! Gosh, that navy suit got me started on my international teaching career. Can’t get rid of it, right!?

    I love all your three combos here–perfect!

    Great post.

    Love, Ann

  2. Thanks Shana this was very helpful. I have the necessary pieces to put together a version of all three outfits. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Just curious why navy tights are a no? I just got a navy melton wool pencil skirt (above the knee) and bought some navy sweater tights to go with it. I was planning on wearing a pair of black polished calfskin booties with them… I feel like the navy tights extend the line of the navy skirt better than black tights would.

    • GAH!! I hate when I make a flip comment and then someone (rightly!!) calls me on it. So yeah – your outfit sounds spot-on. The trick, however, is finding two navy blues that work together. That can be seriously hard. Mixing textures (like your sweater tights) does help, though. Thanks for commenting – I’m sure others were wondering the same thing. Sometimes, after a glass of wine, I start trying to be funny….ha,ha…ha. #hahano xoxo

  4. This is a real, daily struggle of mine — esp b/c i work in a SUPER conservative office. Thanks!!! Other conundrums: wearing printed tights/colored tights in said conservative office. See also: my black, peep-toe booties. Cutest shoes I own, but I can only figure out how to wear them on a day that’s roughly 70 degrees AND I have a perfect pedi… which means never.

  5. It’s like you were in my room this morning. I was trying wear one of my navy skirts but I couldn’t figure out the tights. I’ll try again tomorrow with one of these formulas. Now If I only had leopard print shoes…

  6. What I like about the second outfit here is how you’re using navy as a color, not a neutral, and the “neutrals” in the outfit are cream, leopard (it is TOO a neutral) and the brown and black referenced by the leopard. It’s instructive!

  7. You cracked me up about the aerosoles shoe comment. I happened to get a spring catalog in the mail yesterday and was shocked by the number of cute shoes (dont worry though, plenty were hideous!). I’d love to see a spread of comfortable/walking heels. A new sponsor for the spring, maybe?

  8. Oh no, I’m totally the girl with the colorful legs at my office. Some black tights would probably be a good addition to my wardrobe.

  9. I love this! Thanks for doing a feature on work-wear. I work in a pretty casual office, and the outfit with the chambray shirt would be brilliant. Actually, all three of them would work really well. Thanks for the inspiration!

    BTW, I’d love to see some suggestions for casual-but-not-jeans office outfits that include flat boots (or flat shoes that still allow for socks…I need to be warm; I’m in Minnesota!). I have a standing desk, and my feet just cannot do heels all day anymore! Thanks, Shana!

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