Sweet & Sour: Orange Crush

By Catherine Addo • Sep 24th, 2009 • Category: Obsessions of the Week, Trends   

What is it about the color orange that’s both charming and alarming? On the one hand, there are sweet Creamsicles and fresh O.J.; on the other, there are traffic cones and “Road Work Ahead” signs. What’s a girl to make of such a tricky hue? If designers’ Spring 2010 collections are any indication, this question is soon to be on everyone’s minds, as the color orange leaps out from the shadows of ambiguity and into the limelight.

Why It’s Sweet: We’ve always thought of orange as a kind of red ‘lite.’ After all, it’s got the boldness and visibility of crimson, but without so much of red’s throbbing intensity. An added plus is that, unlike ruby red, which can look washed out (or, okay, pink) when anything less than brilliant, muted and dusty shades of orange can actually be as flattering as the brightest ones. We love the subtle way orange warms up skin tones, so that fair gals are a little peachy, olive-skinned girls seem even more bronze, and dark-skinned ladies look sleek beneath the brightness of the fabric. And while we’ve seen this dazzling shade showcased more for Spring than any other season lately, don’t worry about having to wait until the next calendar year to rock it—orange is the perfect shade to transition your closet from summer to fall, as it works beautifully both beneath the bright summer sun and against the color-changing leaves of autumn.

Why It’s Sour: While we’ve certainly been shown innovative new ways to wear this shade without looking like a citrus fruit, it’s still hard to shake the notion that orange is a bit…much. Neither especially feminine nor particularly passionate, orange can sometimes come across as being loud just for the sake of it. We suppose that’s the fun of the color, but all the same, it somehow seems as a little more obnoxious than other super-bright hues. It’s not Barbie doll-flirty like hot pink or ultra-cool like electric teal. It’s just loud. And is that always a good thing?

Our conclusion: Fine, you caught us. We like to get a little loud from time to time. And while we take care never to err on the side of the tacky, there is something sexy and liberating about donning a color as fearless as orange. For inspiration on keeping things bright but tasteful, we turn to looks like Oscar de la Renta’s juicy tangerine-colored couture gown. The proof is in the palette: these outfits display shades of orange in varying intensity, and all work out beautifully, thanks to complementary accents like turquoise and bronze, and intricate texture to break up the large blocks of color. The results are bold and beautiful, without any compromise of taste. As far as simple ways to work orange into your daily grind, may we suggest a pretty accessory like Kate Spade’s Orange Crush Idiom bangle or a bright clutch like Alexander McQueen’s yummy IT bag, which makes us crave orange Tic-Tacs. They say a glass of orange juice is a great way to start the day. Maybe so, but an orange McQueen is a close second.


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  1. Orange can be tough to pull off … but when it’s done right, it’s so delightfully bold and brash!

    September 24th, 2009 at 7:36 am

  2. Love this post! It’s so hard to find good orange items, which is too bad because it’s such a fun, cheerful color. It’s impossible to be down when you’re wearing orange!

    November 15th, 2009 at 6:57 pm

  3. I think the orange is the look .the long orange with the bow the slim waist the feather and split i would wear it in a heart beat.I need a dress May 29 I would that for you.

    April 4th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

  4. Geez… those orange pieces are so shinny I never though orange can beautiful like this.

    April 15th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

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