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Orange has a reputation for being hard to wear. Perhaps that’s because it’s tough to look chic in a hi-vis jacket and, novelty accessories aside, it's not a colour that permeates many fashion collections. Or at least, it didn’t use to. The rise of street- and sportswear has encouraged designers to embrace the brighter end of their crayon box, which means there’s never been a better moment to come over all orange.

Well, perhaps not all orange. But the shade’s beauty is that, even lightly applied, you’re not going to blend in. "As spring is coming in, a bold colour like orange will make more of a difference to your outfit than pastel shades," says Thread stylist Millie Rich. "A word of warning though: because it’s bold, it shouldn’t be worn with other bold colours."

So how should you wear it? Let Millie walk you through spring’s most vibrant trend.

Do pair orange with blue

Cast your mind back to art lessons at school and you may remember that blue and orange are opposite each other on the colour wheel. This means they’re complementary, so orange will look its ‘orangiest’ next to blue. If your orange is bright, stick to navy, otherwise, the contrast can be a touch eye-watering.

Don’t wear it head to toe

When it comes to wearing orange, Millie’s advice is: “Break it up.” Whether that’s by wearing a striped tee (as shown here) or simply matching it with neutral clothes, you need to make sure that your outfit has room to breathe.

Do bookend your look

By adding a small item, such as socks in the same tone, it makes the orange seem less bold because it bookends your look. “Rather than drawing attention to just one area,” says Millie, “you can balance your look out by directing the eye elsewhere as well.”

Don’t be afraid to go bold

The artist Mari Andrew once wrote: “How kind of the world to provide abundant citrus during winter, when we are most in need of vitamin C.” And that’s kind of how we feel about bright orange clothes – they provide a shot of happiness in our wardrobes on days when we could all do with a lift.

Do consider the hue

This sunniest of colours spans the range from a lovely burnt orange all the way to safety orange (that hi-vis shade worn by hunters and construction workers). Brights are eye-catching, so always tougher to pull off, although the rewards are greater, too. If you’re making first steps into the shade, deeper tones (think autumnal leaves) are as easy to wear as olive, burgundy or mustard.


Words: Theresa Harold
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Millie Rich