Lisa Armstrong: 'Why navy ever fell from grace is beyond me, given that it suits everyone and has all the power of black to shrink one's bum.'
In the week that the Duchess of Cambridge's Rebecca Taylor blue tweed suit has been re-issued, I can't let navy pass unlauded. Because it has been, and for far too long. In fact, for years it's been considered beyond the pale - pale royal blue that is, which is also currently enjoying a blossoming of popularity.
Why navy ever fell from grace is beyond me, given that it suits everyone, has all the power of black to shrink one's bum, but none of its tendencies to make one's face look as though it belongs to a corpse. Actually, it's not beyond me. Fashion can be very wayward and it was at its most wayward in the Eighties, when black first became mandatory and then decided to cling, like an ageing and unwelcome Mugabe, to power ever since.
Inevitably, having been so infra dig, navy is now whatever the opposite of that is. Cool, probably. Not that we should trouble ourselves with such ephemeral considerations where such a marvellous blue is concerned. The good thing about fashionability, however, is how much more abundant it makes navy. Thanks to recent appearances on the catwalks of Louis Vuitton, Armani, Victoria Beckham, Paul Smith and Roland Mouret, inter alia, the navy drought is now a healthy stream.
First buy, I suggest, is a dark navy jacket - much more flattering and just as practical as black. White is the obvious partner, but if you're looking to go off piste, navy looks wonderful with chartreuse, Kelly green, mustard, camel, silver and orange. Skip the navy tights, though, unless you're young and wearing them with a very short skirt. The rest of us should opt for grey tights, and once it's warm, bare legs.