Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Orange for Everybody!

As you all know, I am very excited that orange is so big for this spring and summer.  I think that orange is a fantastic color and love to wear it.  I've also said that I think there is a shade of orange that will work on everyone.  Anne asked me for a post regarding that assertion and here it is.
A lot of people are afraid of orange because when they think of orange, they think bright, screaming traffic-cone orange.  And who wants to look like a traffic cone?  But orange comes in a variety of shades from pale peach to deep red-orange.  Not all shades work for everybody, but there is a shade that will work for every body.  I firmly believe anyone can wear orange if they focus on two aspects:  shade and shape.


If you’re not wearing orange near your face, you can be more experimental in the shades you choose.  But, if you choose to wear it near your face, the following tips may help you select a shade.

If you have a very dark (think Alek Wek) or very pale skin tone (i.e. Christina Hendricks) you can wear any shade of orange you like from the most pale to the most vibrant.  Just don't forget to take your hair and eye color into account when selecting a shade.

If you have olive-to-dark skin tone, colors like tangerine, coral, mango, red-orange and burnt orange will all work for you.  If you’re olive skinned, stay away from some of the muddier oranges that could wash you out.  You want to stick with vibrant oranges in medium to dark tones.

If you are a little more pale, but not uber-pale, stick to the less vibrant, more muted orange shades such as dark peach, melon, light coral and other sunset shades.  If you’re tan, but not necessarily olive (think warm blonde not icy blonde), you can wear the lighter and darker sunset shades and even true orange easily.

Not sure where your skin tone falls?  You can also look in your closet for tips on which shade of orange to wear.  

For example, if you usually wear and feel comfortable in red, try a reddish-orange or a rust orange. 
From left: Guy LaRoche, Elene Cassis, Costume National

 And if you usually wear pastels, try peach or softer coral tones.  

From left: Shipley and Halmos, Matthew Williamson, Marc Jacobs, Christopher Kane

Like to wear yellow?  Try a yellow orange.

From left: Cynthia Rowley, Prabal Gurang, Nanette Lepore


If you’re not wholly confident wearing orange even after you’ve found the right hue for your skin, keep it small.  A small accessory such as jewelry, a scarf, a handbag or shoes will add a nice pop of color to an outfit otherwise in your comfort zone.  Another way to try orange in small doses is to wear a pattern that has an orange element along with other colors you’re more comfortable in.  You don’t have to wear orange head-to-toe unless you want to, even if you do find the hue for you.

Also, remember that like red and yellow, orange is a look-at-me color that will draw attention to you and whatever body part you’re wearing it on.  If you’re not comfortable with your hips and thighs, I wouldn’t suggest an orange skirt.  Instead wear an orange scarf or earrings to highlight your gorgeous face. 

At the same time, if you love your legs, why not highlight them with orange tights?  Or draw attention to your fabulous pedi with some orange sandals.  Tall and loving it?  Wear a long orange gown.  Remember, you can put the focus anywhere you want.

The following are some orange items that I think are worth a shot.


From left: Mossimo Shirred Dress w/Tie Back - Target, Drawstring Waist Shirtdress - LOFT,  Maggy London Ikat Sheath - Nordstrom

From left: Belle Flower Top - Talbots, Tucked Tank - Gap, Postcard Cardigan - Madewell


From left: Ursala Print Scarf - Banana Republic, In The Wind Scarf - Anthropologie, Giant Grid Scarf - Nordstrom


From left: Calico Juno Carnellian Drop Earrings - Max and Chloe, Sweltering Shades - Anthropologie, Skinny Fashion Belt - Banana Republic

From left: Anne Klein "Sabriel" - Endless, Fergie "Quench" - Piperlime, Lifestride "Cardigan" - Zappos
So, you’ve found your perfect orange and the perfect piece, now what do you wear it with?

If you're not sure, you can take a cue from nature.  Orange and brown, orange and khaki or orange and grey are all pairings that have been tried and proven by nature.  Orange and green are another, bolder pairing found in nature.  Once you find your shade of orange, try some of these pairings and see which works for you.

You can also turn to the color wheel for pairing options.  A rule of thumb is that colors opposite each other on the color wheel can be paired and colors next to each other can be paired. Blue is opposite orange on the color wheel, so pairing those two will work.  Depending on the shades of blue and orange you're pairing, this pairing could be high-contrast, but can also be toned down.  A soft muted orange with a navy pant is lower-contrast than a bright orange or tangerine with those same navy pants.  Orange looks good with any shade of blue, from navy to aqua so feel free to experiment.  Or wear your orange with blue jeans – comfort and contrast all at once. Green and purple are also opposite orange on the color wheel, and can also be worn with it.

Red and yellow are next to orange on the color wheel, but don't just think primary.  Think pink and orange, or mustard and rust.  Orange also pairs with itself - monochromatic pairing is very big this year.  Just keep the shoes and bag neutral to take the look from the runway to real life.

This summer I plan on wearing my orange with white, with navy, with khaki or tan, with aqua and with more orange.  However you pair your orange, remember to keep the most flattering colors in your outfit nearest your face.

Do you wear orange?  Any tips you would like to share?  And if you don't wear orange, do you think you might give it a shot?


**Runway images from Elle.com, nymag.com and Style.com**