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 ‘90s 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 new kid on the block, Alex Mullins, and the colour featured prominently on the runway of cult 90s label, Maharishi, which made a welcome return to Fashion Week in 2015. Even established labels such as J.W. 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 definitely 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 a very flattering colour to wear. However, it’s all about how you wear it and what you wear with it. To begin with, it’s probably best 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 at all costs—unless you want to look like you’re en route to a prison cell. I would also suggest keeping this trend within the realm of casualwear, as more formal pieces in orange would look eye-catching for all the wrong reasons. Of course, accenting formalwear with a vermillion tie or a rust pocket square is a subtle way to inject some life into an otherwise classic suit.
How to Wear It
When approaching a new trend, you should always think about how it will work for you rather than the other way around and opt for items that will complement your existing wardrobe. Opt for sartorial staples, rather than seasonal or runway-driven pieces. A fisherman’s cable-knit sweater in burnt orange is a fantastic entry point into this look; perfectly blending old and new as the shade gives the much-loved classic a fresh and contemporary feel. Shirt jackets have been everywhere the last couple of seasons and this option for Noon Goons (pictured) is a striking take on the utilitarian 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—this orange version from outdoor label, Columbia, offers an instant update to the ubiquitous puffer. On the other end of the spectrum, these 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. For example, something as simple as this sweatshirt from Swedish label, Weekday (pictured), can look really striking when worn with a pair of cropped, double-pleat navy trousers and of trainers, with the casual and formal contrast creating a fashion-forward look that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The prevalence of orange on the AW’17 catwalks is a key indicator that it’s time to become more relaxed and playful with what we wear and how we wear it.