How to Wear Orange Without Looking Like a Fashion Victim

Let this tangy color breathe new life into your college wardrobe.

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In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue (and wiped out an estimated 90% of the native population). In 1692, the Salem Witch trials began, resulting in the executions of fourteen women. And on this day, in 1992, oranges were first introduced to Hawaii, the fiftieth state to enter the United States.

{RELATED POST: How Celebrities Are Wearing Orange Right Now}

Unlike Puritanical prosecution or genocide in the New World, oranges don’t have a bad rap in America, but their hue is arguably the most controversial color around. (And this was well before our current POTUS started artificially tanning himself to a crisp tangerine.)

What is it about this zesty color that merits near universal distaste? Could it be because orange, in its brightest shade, is linked to both caution and danger? Or that prison jumpsuits, especially when imagined in a cheap poly-cotton blend, advance the stereotype of orange as being innately bad? We mustn’t forget that even the liberal-minded Elle Woods distrusted all shades of orange.

As a soon-to-be alum of a university that proudly chants “Orange and Blue” on game days and is associated with the invention of Gatorade (a noticeably orange-hued sports drink), I’ve grown fond of the color orange. It’s invaded my wardrobe in the form of casual apparel, and I’ve noticed that I grow visibly excited when I get to wear my vintage butterscotch crop top out.

If you want to step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the juicy world of orange apparel, I suggest you join me. View my outfit ideas below for three orange-friendly ensembles.

Squash + White + Gray

  • Break up a dull monochromatic look with a splash of squash.
  • Keep the attention on your upper half by wearing statement hoop earrings.

The orange: Short Faux Fur Coat – H&M

The other: Vintage ’90s Dickies Overall – Urban Outfitters | Modern Long Sleeve Boatneck Tee – Gap | Lauren Lorraine Pam Embellished Platform Sneaker – Nordstrom | Midnight Green & Black Line Hoops – Charming Charlie

Tea Rose + Light Blue + Earth Tones

  • Pair the complementary colors orange and blue together to create an outfit infused with illustrative sparkle.
  • Keep boho chic accessories to a minimum and lock the look down with fringe sandals.

The orange: Pleated Mini Skirt – Forever 21

The other: Leather Grab Pouch – Free People | AE Bubble Sleeve Top – American Eagle | Journee Collection Haven Sandal – DSW | Bead and Tassel Bracelet Set – J.Crew

Carrot + Yellow + Black

  • Pack a punch with this casual take on a traditional Halloween color combo.
  • Freshen it up by styling your scarf any of these 20 ways. (Or, be like me and tie it to your favorite MK purse!)

The orange: La Fiorentina Tassel Scarf – Nordstrom | Kate Spade New York Flower Stud Earrings – Macy’s

The other: Sweetheart Ruffle Bodysuit – Charlotte Russe | Shae Black Suede Heels – Lulu’s | Audrina Matte Black Sunglasses – TOMS

Orange you glad you learned?

What was your favorite citrus-inspired look? Would you wear any other colors with orange? If so, which ones? Comment below!

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