It's time to colourise your wardrobe: this season orange is the new black
This season, it’s all about orange. Don’t be nervous about wearing the vibrant hue – Darren Kennedy talks us through the ways we should be rocking Autumn/Winter 2017’s hottest colour, and what to avoid
If you think autumnal dressing is all about muted colour palettes and sombre tones, then it’s time to think again. For a long time – especially in menswear – bright colours have been fashion’s sworn enemy, with dark and dramatic ensembles considered the epitome of a high-end aesthetic. However, Autumn/Winter 2017 is bringing the fun back into fashion, with menswear designers embracing colours like never before – filling their catwalks with 1990s street-wear and eye-catching neon hues. Bold primary colours stand alongside striking citrus tones this season, but perhaps no shade was more prevalent than orange.
British label Blood Brothers triumphed with a selection of eye-catching orange designs, as did Alex Mullins, and the colour featured prominently on the runway of cult nineties label, Maharishi. Even established labels such as JW Anderson and Givenchy favoured orange in their autumn collections, sealing its fate as the must-have colour of the season.
What to Avoid
Orange is one of those colours that has a slightly dubious reputation; often instilling an immediate fear in prospective wearers – but this is largely unfounded. Surprisingly, it’s actually quite a versatile hue that suits most skin tones and can be very flattering. However, it’s all about how you wear it and what you wear with it. To begin with, it’s probably best to avoid wearing with any primary colour as colour-blocking is a hard one to master with citrus. It goes without saying that head-to-toe orange should be avoided – unless you want to look like you’re en route to a prison cell. I’d also suggest keeping this trend within the realm of casualwear, as more formal pieces in orange look eye-catching for all the wrong reasons. Of course, accenting formalwear with a vermillion tie or rust pocket square is a subtle way to inject some life into a classic suit.
How to Wear It
When approaching a new trend, think about how it will work for you rather than the other way round and opt for items that complement your existing wardrobe. Go for sartorial staples, rather than seasonal or runway-driven pieces. A fisherman’s cable-knit sweater in burnt orange is a fantastic entry point to this look; perfectly blending old and new as the shade gives the much-loved classic a fresh, contemporary feel. Shirt jackets have been everywhere the last couple of seasons and this one from Noon Goons [above] is a striking take on the trend. However, avoid all colours, save for white, black or navy with this piece, as you don’t want to look like you’re joining the circus. Puffer jackets made a massive comeback a couple of seasons ago and they’re here to stay – outdoor label Columbia’s orange version offers an instant update to the ubiquitous puffer. Meanwhile, Balenciaga trainers made a big streetwear splash at every major fashion week and if you’re feeling like spoiling yourself, the hint of orange on the sole is a subtle way of introducing the shade to your wardrobe.
While black works pretty well as a base for orange, try replacing it with navy, which can look really striking when worn with zesty shades. The prevalence of orange on the AW17 catwalks is a key indicator that it’s time to become more relaxed and playful with what we wear and how we wear it.
Follow Darren Kennedy on Twitter: @Darrenken