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Image / Fashion

I keep seeing orange in all the shops so how do I wear it?

by Niamh ODonoghue
16th Oct 2018

Bright, zesty shades of orange are all over our favourite boutiques and shops right now. But how do you pull it off?

While in town on Saturday, I made my way through some of my favourite city-centre boutiques and shops. I browsed through wide-legged corduroy pants at & Other Stories, a new leather handbag at Brown Thomas, a smart smock at Cos, an earring and necklace set at Om Diva and a pair of trainers at Nowhere. You might not draw any obvious similarity between these shops apart from their close proximity to one another but the overarching message from the AW18 catwalks and, in return, high-street trends, it’s that orange is everywhere. Literally everywhere. It’s on the catwalks of Agnona and Ashish, Eudon Choi and Jeremy Scott, Loewe and Roksanda. It’s on Instagram: Pernille Teisbaek does it with a low-key denim shirt underneath a camel overcoat, Irish fashion blogger Louise Cooney does it with burnt orange knitwear and punchy white, while model Brune Buonomano shoes how to do after-dark sophistication in knee-high orange silk boots during Paris Fashion Week. The supermarkets are filled with pumpkins and seasonal fruits and even one of my long-time girlfriends got bright orange streaks in her hair, for Pete’s sake (I’d love to discuss this further, but orange hair requires a whole different level of ‘how to wear'”). ORANGE IS EVERYWHERE. So how do real-life human beings – not Instagram models and not fashion experts – wear orange without, well, looking like one?

If you’re familiar with our encyclopedic fashion articles here then chances are you’ve come across one or two useful guides on how to approach wearing colour (with extreme caution, in some cases). You’ll also note that the topic of orange came up last year (cyclical fashion etc. etc.) We offered an easy albeit summertime-appropriate guide to getting to grips with fiery shades. One T-shirt quite literally had flame boobs.

Here’s the thing. There are not many things greater in life than a giant, snuggly jumper on a cold autumn day. Correct? The gentle feeling of warmth on your arms and neck, the feeling of being enveloped. There’s a welcoming, distinctive 70’s spirit to it too, which, of course, is another big favourite trend for AW18. It’s a known fact that some colours just don’t suit certain skin types, and that’s okay. But isn’t experimentation the best part of fashion? Well, no. Not for everyone. It can be time-consuming and costly and, unfortunately, orange can be a harsh colour to wear. Take this gorgeous oversized jumper from Zara, below. In a shade of dusty orange, it’s inviting and cosy. “But is it too orange for me?”. Not with the right coordination. Stark, contrasting black faux leather trousers distract from the vibrancy of the colour, while the addition of statement earrings in an alternate colour (in this case green, to match my eyes) will subtlly bring this look together.

Oversized sweater, €39.95 at

Oversized sweater, €39.95 at


Bejewelled hoop earrings, €49 at, faux leather trousers, €39.95 at

Bejewelled hoop earrings, €49 at, faux leather trousers, €39.95 at

Orange doesn’t have to be confined to tops and bottom, either. Take this just-released Nike Cortez by Kendrick Lamar (I know, slow down Niamh). The orange detailing make these white trainers a bit more than just a white trainer. And paired with a feminine day dress and punchy corduroy blazer give these trainers a whole new meaning outside of the gym or lazying around at home.

Nike Cortez Kenny IV, €100 at

Nike Cortez Kenny IV, €100 at


Laura polka-dot crepe mini dress by Rixo London, €271 at, corduroy double breasted blazer, €89 at

Laura polka-dot crepe mini dress by Rixo London, €271 at, corduroy double-breasted blazer, €89 at

Orange makeup is another way to go. Altuzarra‘s perfectly-powered, smokey, orange and peach eye is a treat with olive skin and freckles, and my personal favourite shade of MAC  in burnt orange (shade CB96) is a great transitional lip colour if you’re ready to move away from soft shades of pink. If you haven’t yet tried the orange trend, then my advice is this: try one thing at a time – be it an oversized jumper or the simple addition of an orange lip. If you have an innate fear of colour (don’t worry, most people do), then break it up with faux leather, burgundy and neutral palettes. This way, you’re still trying the trend but you’ll feel more ‘you’ – which is most important.

Altuzarra AW18 backstage. Photo: Jason Lloyd Evans

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