This year, colour has finally come to the forefront of men’s fashion. Throughout the spring/summer period men across the globe have embraced bright and bold colours, whilst moving away from the monotony of a typical black, white, navy and grey dominated wardrobe. Autumn/winter seems set to continue with this new modern attitude, as although the nights will start to get colder and darker, our clothing will most definitely not.
This was the next logical step for the progression of menswear. For a many a year, women have been able to purchase and style themselves with bold coloured autumn/winter palettes – which include a variety of seasonal colours such as olive, purple, khaki, burgundy, burnt orange and camel. The hue may of been toned down a notch from spring/summer, but they are certainly not confined to a monochromatic wardrobe like many of us.
This year promises to be different. Today I am going to showcase to you one of the major colour trends for men which looks set to take off for autumn/winter 2011. This was a colour none of us expected to make such a splash, as it was definitely not one of the key colours for spring/summer. The colour in question is orange.
Now before you all run away or close yourself off to the potential of this striking hue, you should know that it is actually very easy to wear, and by the end of this article you should all be confident that you can integrate it into your looks this year in order to bring your outfits to life and show some real flair.
Before we get into how to wear orange, let’s see where the trend originated from and who the biggest backers were. As we showcased in our future fashion trend article on bold coloured coats, many designers have been creating bold coloured jackets this year – whether you are talking about orange tailoring at Louis Vuitton, orange casual jackets at Paul Smith, or the beautiful orange Burberry overcoats that are one of the most sought after and highly anticipated pieces of the year.
But that is not all. Just about every designer label and premium fashion house will be offering pieces in orange this year. Below you will find examples from super brands Acne, Bottega Veneta, Balmain, Burberry and D&G – showing you just how popular it is going to be for this season. The colour itself sits somewhere between yellow and red, meaning we have everything from pale orange and nectarine to neon highlighter orange to deeper burnt orange hues.
When it comes to wearing such a bold colour, you have two options; accent or statement. The easiest way to wear orange is by using it as an accent colour. This means incorporating it as a finishing touch to your outfit – think pocket square, tie, watch or socks – that will give your darker autumn/winter colour palette the shot of life it needs.
If using as an accent colour, then orange coordinates beautifully with your typical autumn colours – think earth tones such as brown, olive, khaki, burgundy and camel. Due to you using the orange as an accent and in small dosage, it means you can blend it in with these non-neutral colours without it becoming over bearing or in your face.
So take a look at how these fine gentleman have incorporated orange subtly within their outfits as an accent:
The key with all these outfits above is that orange was used to create a focal point within the outfit and finish off the look. Whether you are opting for an orange scarf, tie, or even a makeshift fabric accessory [top left], the principle is still the same.
Other options would be to utilise a bold orange shirt or t-shirt layered underneath knitwear, jackets or tailoring [top centre]. This takes into account the basic principles we taught you about neutralising bold colours, and allows the orange to shine as a real statement piece without becoming garish.
Finally, another option is to look for pieces which incorporate orange detailing [top right]. This could mean something as subtle as an orange lining or stitching, or on the other end of the spectrum, orange panels, sleeves or block colours.
So, utilising orange as an accent colour is a fool proof way of getting in on the trend without having to sacrifice your personal style or wear items you may not feel comfortable in. But what if you wanted to make more of a statement this year? Do you have the confidence to pull off an orange jumper, trousers or statement jacket? For those of you daring enough to try, it might be easier than you think.
Now let me preface this section by saying that I am not endorsing a full orange suit. I cannot even imagine what that would look like or how you could pull it off without the hue edging more toward camel [on the runways image bottom centre]. There are times when something is just too much. However, as we can see above, orange chinos or trousers ARE a real possibility this coming season.
Notice how all the men in the look book above have paired orange trousers with some form of blue. Whether it is pale, mid or navy blue, this is a colour that looks great against orange and is the perfect anchor for it. This is because blue is a complementary colour to orange. As we mentioned above, greens, browns and beige colours also look great with the colour [bottom left & right] and should form the base of the rest of your outfit so you can begin to neutralise some of the brashness.
My favourite outfit of all is the one shown bottom left (although it was close with top left). This to me is the ideal shade of orange if you want to make a statement whilst staying on the right side of subtle. Everything about this outfit is perfect – from the shirt, tie and sweater combination (all in shades of blue to anchor) to the classy beige/brown tweed blazer that plays on the autumnal colour palette and simultaneously hits the key heritage trend – this look is refined and stands out for all the right reasons.
If you want to simply incorporate a bold orange coloured piece of knitwear or jacket into your wardrobe this year, then the advice is simple; keep everything else toned down and neutral. Take a leaf out of Burberry’s book and match orange knitwear with simple grey trousers and black shoes or a bold orange duffle coat with plain black trousers. The key here is to let the orange become the statement and focal point, it is not a time to overdress or make your look too fussy.
So now we want to know, what do you think?
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