Inspirationail’s Colour School – What to Wear With Orange

By Inspirationail

Inspirationail's Colour SchoolWelcome to the orange week of Team Inspirationail’s Colour School, if you haven’t already be sure to check out lessons on the basics & colour combos. We’ve already covered red, pink, yellow, green, grey, black, white, brown, beige & blue and this week we are looking at the best colours to match with outrageous orange.

An Educated Guess

Orange is one of those colours that people seem to either love or hate, and Team Inspirationail is divided down the middle. It’s not always easy to wear, but there is something so warm and inviting about it that we (ok, some of us) can’t live without orange pieces. In small doses it can be both a grown up version of happy yellow, and a softer, but equally powerful version of red.

Here are a few tips you can utilise to help you decide what to wear with any shade of orange.

Outgoing Orange

This is one colour that we actually like in cosmetics, the right orange has a sunny feel that looks fab on tanned skin and sheer apricots make even the lightest skin tones look creamy. Although it may seem difficult, orange is easier to match than it looks.

Inspirationail's Colour School

Skin Tone Matters

We will admit that bright orange isn’t the easiest colour to wear, but there is such a wide range of shades that it’s easy to find the best orange for you. For lighter skinned divas we like shimmering, rusty oranges and creamy tangerines – orange is a naturally warm tone & easy to wear. Darker skinned lovelies can also wear dusky rusts as well as brighter, bolder shades. However they should avoid sheer or overly creamy pastels.

Secondary Orange

Regardless how much orange you feel comfortable wearing, this is one colour that can cross over into accessories as well as cosmetics if they are carefully selected. This is a secondary colour so it’s generally bright, but rarely do people over-orange themselves. Our advice is to stick to luxurious fabrics, rich patterns and small, bright accessories. To learn more about secondary colours be sure to check out our colour basics lesson. There are several ways you can use the colour wheel to help you decide what to wear with your orange.

Colour Wheelsl

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours are opposite to each other on the colour wheel and provide a high degree of contrast. This is a laughable offense when you consider orange’s compliment is blue. Although we recommend some oranges when you are wearing blue, blue on orange doesn’t work as well. If you want to use them both as accents, try vibrant hot blues, bold sea blues or deep midnight blues.

Analogous Colours

Analogous colours are directly next to each other on the colour wheel, so they are often more monochrome which also means easier to match. Orange’s nearest neighbors are reddish-orange and yellowish-orange, both of which work fine in small doses. Try sparkling creamy oranges, shining terra cottas or sweet barely-there apricots.

Colour Wheelsl

Triad Colours

Triad colours are equally spaced out along the colour wheel & like compliments they provide high contrast alternatives. In orange’s case it’s purple and green (both also secondary colours). Neither of these colours match particularly well with our lovely orange, but if you want to try be sure to keep keep your colours sheer and soft. Try warm golden grapes, cheery limes or soft lavenders.


Split-complimentary colours start with one base colour and then take the two colours next to it’s compliment. Sounds confusing, but the concept is simple. When we use orange as our base, it’s split-compliments are bluish-purple and bluish-green. Again, these can be a difficult match, but if you are wearing your orange right you can dare to be a little bold. Try sparkling grapes, shining sea blues or soft pearlescent purples.

Orange Chair

Inspirationail’s Picks

We like using our colour wheel to help find combinations we’d never have come up with. However, we also rely heavily on our keen fashion sense to help with matching (luckily we have loads of that). For most oranges we like shimmery apricots, soft greys and pearly whites.

Your Two Cents

In the end, you have to make the decision…you are the one wearing the orange. We’ve given you a few new ideas (and a few tried & true ones). Please leave us your orange-matching ideas in the comments below, we need all the help we can get! And, stay tuned because we have more fun planned next week with a lesson dedicated to matching your purple.


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