Orange You Glad?

Color me happy: vivid hues are back

Whenever you think your life might be getting a little too boring, but you can’t go all Eat, Pray, Love and disappear for a year of psycho-spiritual development, try wearing a bright color.

Think I’m kidding? How many of you have too much gray in your closet? Don’t be shy. I do, too. How many of you get a little nervous when I say you might want to adopt the color of the moment: orange?

Bright color is so very in, given what the color-standards giant Pantone has predicted for 2012: Tangerine Tango, what the company is describing as a “spirited reddish-orange” that will “continue to provide the energy boost we need to recharge.” And, the experts argue, the hue “marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” Funny how they talk about colors as though they have human personalities. But strangers might reach those conclusions about us just by the colors we wear. Experts in chromology—scientists studying the effect of color—have proven that, for example, just seeing the color red actually raises the heart rate and metabolism.

Economists used to use lipstick sales as a predictor for recession—sales go up, presumably, because it’s a quick, inexpensive luxury in dark times. (It has since been discredited in some circles; many are now using nail-polish sales.) Arguably, those times are still upon us, literally and figuratively, and Pantone, along with fashion designers and makeup companies, aren’t taking taupe for an answer. Neither are a lot of early-adopter retailers. Walk into J. Crew and see what I’m talking about—hot-pink button-up shirts with orange pants, paired with a DayGlo bag or metallic Oxford shoes.

Still unsure—or scarred by the ’80s? Here are a few tips to ease yourself into Technicolor waters. Start with an accessory: a scarf, bangle bracelet, scarlet lipstick (take your pick from the previous page), shoes. Another trick is to keep color away from your face—belts, tights, or pants are also coming in bright colors and somehow feels like less of a commitment. Or maybe you pick one statement piece—say, the Cambridge Satchel Company Fluoro bag that all the fashion bloggers are sporting—and wear it with every neutral in your closet. I assure you the neutral-plus-neon combo feels very fresh and modern.

As for my part—my hair is already a Technicolor auburn, I’ve got a blaze-orange cardigan, and I’m all about the red or coral lips. My friends, the future looks bright.

My Current Faves

Red Scarf Wrap

It’s a Wrap

Tie one on…in Tangerine Tango. $35 @ J. Crew.

Jonathan Adler pencils

Write Stuff

Okay, if you’re not going to wear color, incorporate it somewhere. I love these Jonathan Adler pencils. $10 @ Patina.

Shower Steamers

Deep Breath

I often find a little aromatherapy brightens my mood —and my outfit choices. ShowerSteamers, $4 each @ Patina.

Leopard-print hat

Tip topper

Pair patterns with loud colors. My favorite is leopard print. $20 @ Target.

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