Orange, a secondary colour that sits between red and yellow on the colour wheel has both a warm overtone and a warm undertone.
No matter which you way you alter it, adding black to shade just makes a deeper orange, white tints it lighter, grey softens it, yellow makes a yellow-orange and red makes a red-orange, all of them remain warm undertone. Add blue to orange and it stops being orange, but you can’t cool it down with blue until there is so much blue in it it becomes a warm grey and no longer orange.
Orange is a gorgeous, yummy warm colour that is fun and friendly.
This is why orange can never be the new black.
- Orange is warm.
- Black is cool.
- They just aren’t in the same family.
Like any colour – orange has three colour properties:
- Value – how dark or light it is, overall it sits on the medium to light end of the value spectrum
- Intensity – how bright or muted it is, you can have brighter and more muted oranges
- Undertone – how warm or cool it’s temperature. The more yellow in the orange the warmer it becomes, but a red-orange is still warm!
You can see in the image above that there are brighter oranges and more muted ones. Lighter oranges and darker ones. But they are just all warm – there are no cool oranges. Orange should never appear in a cool colour palette. If it does, then there is something wrong!
What to Wear with Orange
Orange works with warm colours (because of its warm undertone). You can mix it in all sorts of colour schemes.
Orange works beautifully with all sorts of other warm undertone colours and you will just want to consider its intensity when mixing it with other colours. Brighter oranges work with other brighter colours, softer more muted oranges work better with other softer more smoky colours.
What to mix with orange?
That will depend on your colour contrast (that is how many colours you should wear at the same time and what kinds of colour schemes suit you) which you can find out more about here, and of course, your personality preferences.
- Mixing orange with the warmer neutrals of gorgeous brown, beige and camel makes for a harmonious and delicious feel.
- Put it with something next door on the colour wheel (analogous) such as the warm reds and pinks, or go the other way to the yellow oranges and yellows for a great combination that is easy to wear.
- Add either green or violet to your orange outfit and you’ve moved into triadic territory which creates a brighter more vibrant look.
- Really want your orange to pop? Then team it with warm blues as they create a complementary colour scheme and make each other look bright and vibrant.
Which colours do you like to wear with orange?