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Rust Color Combos: Navy & Grey

This is part 2 of the rust color combo series inspired by Bettye's "colors of fall" post over at Fashion Schlub.

Today I am addressing my two favorite colors to wear with rust: navy/denim/dark blue and grey (especially charcoal). Any shade of blue should work well with rust (aka dark orange) because these colors are complementary colors on the color wheel. The rust + grey combination took me more by surprise, though! But as I think about it, I'm not sure that there exists a color that doesn't look good with (the right shade of) grey.

In a truly amazing coincidence, the day after I gathered my photos for this blog post, Janice at the Vivienne Files posted a "start with a bracelet" capsule wardrobe with a grey, blue, and rust color palette. Check out Bettye and Janice's posts for some more rust color combining inspiration!


This fall outfit of the day was built according to the "start with a scarf" model. I picked out the white textured tunic and long striped cardigan next, and though of course blue denim would have been a great way to finish it off, I realized that the darker orange sections of the scarf veered strongly into rust territory, so I added the rust pants. As I mentioned in the previous rust color combo post, I love wearing these warm-toned leopard smoking slippers with rust. Instead of tying the scarf, I just draped it so that it didn't cover the interesting texture of the top. That gave me some space to pile on various chains and bead strands for a layered necklace look.

Outfit #1

Outfit #2 put my "button up shirt + pullover sweater + quilted vest + scarf + denim skirt + leggings + tall boots" cold-weather Friday outfit formula into action. In this rendition, the navy and dark denim formed a column of color that was spiced up with the rust vest, feather print scarf, and cognac boots.

Outfit #2

Outfit #3 features a rust garment I no longer own, a utility jacket that I thrifted for $5. The jacket was too big in every dimension so it felt a bit weird to wear (which you can get an inkling of in this OOTD photo). After 3 wears, for a cost-per-wear of $1.67, I returned it to Goodwill for a larger-framed individual to find. But I did like how it looked in this casual Friday work outfit with the dark denim trouser jeans, trusty leopard smoking slippers, and a colorful infinity scarf that I wore long to fill the entire front area underneath the jacket. (I had to double check my spreadsheet to be sure, but as I thought, I was wearing a plain white long-sleeved T underneath it.)

Outfit #3

The jacket in Outfit #4 leans more on the pumpkin side of rust, whereas I typically go for items on the maroon side of rust, and was not a good buy since I spent about $25 on it new from Jones New York and only wore it 8 times. But I did learn from this purchase that thinking like "oh, that's a nice item in a color I don't already have...I should get it!" is not good reasoning! In this case, I hadn't owned a pumpkin colored jacket because it really doesn't look very good on me, especially in an item that's so close to my face. But I stand by the idea of this outfit with a topper in a personally-appropriate shade.

Outfit #4

Outfit #5 is a pre-planned outfit that I put together after buying the navy floral Keds in July 2020. I had wondered whether I could make the sneakers work for stay-at-home cold-weather weekend use...and the answer is yes! This includes the same sweater as in Outfit #2 and the same scarf as in Outfit #1 above. Seeing this outfit as an image, not just words in a document, has me excited about wearing it this coming (late) fall.

Outfit #5

My current practice after purchasing something like these floral Keds is to develop a bunch of outfits incorporating the piece, and to start "scheduling" them in the coming year. (I will get more into the details of "scheduling" at another time; it's a whole Thing.) This practice does several things for me:

(1) It ensures that I can actually make many different outfits with the garment, proving its versatility in my wardrobe and its fit with the kinds of outfits I like to wear.

(2) It generates extra, extended excitement from the purchase.

(3) This one is funny, but true: When I just feel like shopping and buying but don't really have a strong desire to own and use something new, the recognition that if I buy something, I have to put it through the outfit building/scheduling process keeps me from shopping because it feels like a chore. (I experience a short-term high from purchasing, especially if it is a "good deal," so I get the impulse to shop and buy that has nothing to do with what I want, let alone need, in my closet, and I'm happy to have this as an additional tool to slow my shopping roll.)

The next two outfits I put together specifically for this blog post using rust and softer shades of blue than the dark denim and navy featured above. Outfit #6 is an idea for a late summer day when it's still warm but I'm feeling ready to bring some fall color into my outfit. The capris have a small amount of rust in the citrus print (which is not at all visible here and only visible in real life at close range), but I think this would work if the print was only navy/blue and yellow too. I liked playing with the unusual blue + yellow + orange/rust palette, and I purposely created two trios of blue + yellow + orange accessories here for harmony: one trio of earrings/necklace/ballet flats and one trio of seed bead bracelets to make a nice bracelet stack.

Outfit #6

When thinking about rust and blue, I knew I wanted to see how the rust pants and my dark blue boyfriend cardigan would look together. In Outfit #7, I considered a few different blue/chambray/denim/navy top possibilities but then realized that this soft white shirt would offer some nice lightness, in color and fabric weight, to the ensemble. With the white shirt in place, I decided to have fun doubling up two of my DIY multi-strand seed bead necklaces. Although silver would also work, I went with gold accessories to coordinate with the gold spacer beads and chains in the necklace. (This outfit seems the most Bettye-like of the lot with its rust + blue + white color palette and all solid pieces...though it's definitely too fussily accessorized compared to her more minimal looks.)

Outfit #7


This is the outfit of the day that got me on the whole rust + grey (charcoal) bandwagon to begin with. This blouse has a beautiful soft floral print in a range of pink and purple colors against a faded black background, and it coordinates with a surprising number of things in my closet. But it wasn't until I bought this rust quilted vest that I realized some of the flowers have a burgundy/maroon/rust shade that is beautiful with the vest. What really struck me about the outfit, though, was how the rich rust vest and dark charcoal skinny pants played off each other. If a color combination can be delicious, this one is.

Outfit #8

I haven't worn rust + grey together since that initial outfit last year, but I do have a couple of pre-planned outfits using my grey pullover sweater, which is a lighter version of grey. I have wondered whether at least some of the magic of the rust + charcoal combination would occur with other greys, so let's take a look. Outfit #9 makes good use of that unusually-colored oval scarf as a bridge piece for the rust and grey. I'm envisioning the scarf draping loose down the front (like in Outfits #1 and #2) to frame the adorable sloth duo.

Outfit #9

Outfit #10 is my first go at a rust quilted vest + pants "suit"--what do you think? I'm quite pleasantly surprised by how well they go together considering how variable a color rust is and that the pieces are from different companies (pants from CJ Banks, vest from Kohls). After adding these print ballet flats that I don't wear very often but that combine the grey and rust colors, my third color for accessorizing was obvious: yellow/gold. And wow, is that an interesting color palette or what? I feel like this should be awful but I like it! (And yes, I was happy when I realized that the multi-gemstone bead bracelet I just made fits right into this outfit.)

Outfit #10

I'm pretty sure that when I bought these inexpensive ballet flats as a follow up to my Great Payless at the Mall of America Ballet Flat Adventure of 2015, I was just such a convert to the Payless ballet flat that I bought them even though I really didn't have much to go with them. But then these two rust pieces entered my wardrobe along the way and now I have the perfect outfit for them! While I can't recommend this as a great shopping strategy, I am glad it worked out for me because I really do love my Payless ballet flats. (If you wonder how a Minnesotan could consider for a moment wearing fabric ballet flats and a sweater + quilted vest combination together, fear not--these shoes are the indoor-only shoes for the outfit. Any time spent outdoors will involve boots or all-weather mocs! And my feet stay pretty warm during the day such that I can often wear ballet flats without socks in my apartment in winter. It's weird.)

Finally, here are two outfits I put together for this blog post for warmer weather, using other shades of grey. Outfit #11 would stand on its own without the scarf, but of course I love the way the print brings these colors together...the rust and the multitude of grey tones. And it's fun to put three stacks of DIY stretch bracelets together (with the silver ones at lower right that I bought on Amazon). This would be a nice early fall business casual work outfit for me. I have a black tuxedo jacket in a stretchy textured knit that would be a great topper piece if needed, too.

Outfit #11

For a warm-weather outfit featuring this soft rust ("coral glaze") knit tank, a grey skirt and lightweight white cardigan keep the look light. For skirt outfits with grey in them, I tend to default to these calf-hair wedges in a grey/black leopard print because (a) they look awesome and (b) they cost $198, which is a LOT for me to spend on shoes, so I need to keep chipping away at that cost-per-wear. And yes, I went a little nuts with the necklace layering but I think the result will be incredibly fun. (The White Rabbit on the paperclip chain would fall below the white seed pearls and above the rust-brown and black seed bead strands. The tassel necklace would sit below the seed bead strands as the vertical element in the look.)

Outfit #12

Do you have a preference for the rust + blue vs. rust + grey combo? Do you like both? Neither? Have you ever gotten tripped up when adding a new color to your wardrobe, as I did with the unfortunate pumpkin jacket in Outfit #4?

In the final post of the Rust Color Combo series, I will try rust with some non-neutral accent colors. We got a glimpse of yellow and orange today, but there are many more for us to test out. Are there any particular accent colors you would like to see me try with rust?

I link up with:

Nike at Life as a LEO Wife (Sundays)

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge (Mondays; 3rd Thursday)

Michelle at My Bijou Life (Mondays, Fridays)

Mica at Away from the Blue (Mondays)

Debbie at My Random Musings (Mondays)

Leelo at Beauty by Miss L (Mondays)

Roxanne at Glass of Glam (Mondays)

Claire at Claire Justine (Mon, Wed, Fri)

Laura at I Do deClaire (Tuesdays)

Emma at Style Splash (Tuesdays)

Jess at Elegantly Dressed & Stylish (Tuesdays)

Gail at Is This Mutton? (Wednesdays)

Shelly at The Queen in Between (Wednesdays)

Jodie at Jodie's Touch of Style (3rd Thursday)

Carrie at Curly Crafty Mom (Thursdays)

Ada at Elegance and Mommyhood (Thursdays)

Jacqui at Mummabstylish (Thursdays)

Nicole at High Latitude Style (Thursdays)

Suzy at The Grey Brunette (Fridays)

Nancy at Nancy's Fashion Style (Fridays)

Erika at A Little Bit of Everything (Fridays)

Lucy at Lucy Bertoldi (Fridays)

Kimberly at Being a Wordsmith (Fridays)

Rena at Fine Whatever (Saturdays)


Oct 09, 2021

I love rust and blue together! I sometimes don't get the right shade of grey but I find white, like blue is another failsafe option with rust. I really like that first outfit you wore, the scarf is so pretty and it looks great left loose and long to show off the necklaces.

I've been adding a lot more orange to my wardrobe lately, it is a very fun colour to wear! And it was trendy not so long ago here so the opshops (thrift stores) are full of it now!

Thank you for joining the #WeekdayWearLinkup! Hope you are having a lovely weekend :)

Oct 09, 2021
Replying to

Rust with white is simple but a lovely combination. Congrats on being able to add orange to your wardrobe inexpensively and sustainably by shopping second-hand. I love it when that works out!


Oct 04, 2021

I haven't really worn my scarves much yet but have pulled out my kimonos more. Waiting for it to cool off a little more to where something around my neck doesn't give me hot flashes! I love these colors! I do not have much in rust but love it as a fall color.

Oct 04, 2021
Replying to

The seasonal transition can be so weird! Some years I'm bundling up more quickly, but this year it still feels pretty summery.


Oct 01, 2021

Some really pretty combinations here, rust with gray is perfect for fall. Thanks for linking

Oct 01, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for hosting! Have a good weekend.


jodie filogomo
jodie filogomo
Sep 29, 2021

Hmmm...I should do something like that to slow my shopping urges, LOL!! I do love these combinations Sally. You'll see Lesley next week in a rust and red combination. I think it's a much more versatile color than we think.

OXOX Jodie

Sep 30, 2021
Replying to

Rust + red sounds really interesting, Jodie. I'm looking forward to it!

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