Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Knock Knock. Who's There? Orange. Orange Who?

Orange you glad I am so obsessed with colours?

I've had a love -hate relationship with orange my whole life.  Essentially I love some versions of it and loathe others.  Most people are this way with green.   What I have learned over time is that often colours make different impressions on me in different contexts but there is a pretty strong chance I won't care for bright colours much.  Having said that, some people wear them beautifully and they certainly suit tropical flowers.  People respond emotionally to colours and what is drab to one person can be soft and calm to another.  What is uplifting and cheerful to many is intrusive and loud to me.  All of that is without other factors considered.  A big box store ( so named either because they sell things in big boxes or are generally build in the shape of a large box ) that is a giant concrete and metal rectangle is often a blot on the landscape in any colour but it's typical of them to be done in bright colours.  Bright colours get attention.  McDonald's used primary red and yellow because it gets attention immediately, and bright yellow is a favourite of many other brands too.  I generally find them an assault on the landscape but there is more than colour going on with that association.

I loathe the incessant orangeness of a Home Depot store but I have no explanation other than emotional response for why I might like that same orange colour in a different context.

Given the assumption that I do prefer my colours at least a bit muted, I quite like every colour there is and even the colour blue, which most people find quite benign, is not my preference when it is a very bright blue.

But then context again....

Look at Nicole Kidman in the blue gown.  She looks jaw-dropping and I instantly love this bright teal-blue.


Or Vanessa Hudgeons in this bright deep orange.


Oh good, I managed to work my way back to orange.   My personal biases fit well with the theory that most of us are attracted to our own colours. They feel like home.  The more brightness you have in your natural colouring, the more bright colours look and feel right to you.  The more muted you are the more the muted colours feel right.  Of course experiences and biases develop over our lifetimes.  Being the only person in my family to love warm
(yellow/gold/orange infused colours) tended to undermine my likelihood of choosing them.  Particularly in choosing them to wear.  It's funny how in the end, my goal would be to have someone say, 'you look great' as opposed to 'nice dress' and yet if the dress itself doesn't appeal to those closest to me, I will be reluctant to wear it.

Embracing orange now, is a strong step towards owning who I am.  I look good in orange.  I am a bit orange, and not through the use of any spray tan!  That doesn't mean every orange will work, but the ones that do may not be the shades my loved ones would pick out in a lineup and say 'okay I like that orange'.  Such things used to weight on me and effect my decisions.  I could not get through a day conscious of the fact that people around me probably didn't like my shirt.  Life gets complicated when you just want to make everybody happy.  It's a ridiculous goal most of the time, unless perhaps you are the host of a party.

Depending a little on the lighting, this sweater looks brown-peach, gold-peach or muted orange.  I had a sweater in a similar colour once which I used to refer to as my orange sweater and everyone else called it brown.    I always did love colours that are difficult to name.  That means they are not obvious primaries or easy mixes.  A bit of gold in the mix mutes a colour, as well as making it what we usually call 'warm'.  I do like orange that is more complex than the secondary colour achieved by mixing primary red with primary yellow. 

Digression:  Do you ever accidentally publish an unfinished blog post and realise it moments later, quickly grab it back but notice it's had at least one hit?  My apologies to that confused person who tried to read a blog post that probably made no sense.  Perhaps you were relieved by how short it was. 

The oranges I am playing with, as part of the Warm Autumn palette, are oranges that require modifying adjectives.  Golden-orange, red-orange, rust-orange, muted dark orange, amber-orange, burnt peach, are descriptions that come to mind as I type.  Somehow the name must describe that it is not a pure secondary hue derived form mixing two pure primary hues.  It may look brown-orange or orange-brown.  It  may be coppery or bronzed.  Swatched on paper it tends to look brown.

Back in the summer, while searching for a new nail polish I bought one from L'Oreal called Julianne's nude.  It looked so pretty in the bottle but I got it home and put it on my toes and was horrified.  It was orange.  I didn't wear orange polishes; I always went for a browned- pink generally muted enough to blend more than stand out.  I tossed the once used polish into my donation bag.  A week ago I bought it again.  Having learned that the cosmetics sale's people don't seem to mind people testing out the polishes, I dabbed a little on my thumbnail and loved it.  Why had I not liked it before? I wondered.  Four months ago I saw it as garish and now I saw it as pretty.  I have a changed perspective.  I am the woman who wears Abstract Orange on her lips and is experimenting with coppery and gold eye shadow.

Having learned that there is so much orange in my own natural colouring, how can I reject it?

I have orange all around my home.  Brown-oranges, typically.  Terracotta is a favourite and so is rust.  Whatever you want to call the colour, and whatever I might say about Home Depot while rolling my eyes.  I love orange.


  1. I am very glad you love colours! I too am enjoying opening my wardrobe to a colourful sight, after spending the winter in black and white. ooh that rhymes!
    I am also coming around to the joys and subtleties of orange after dismissing it for too long. I now regret the orange jumper and silk scarf I got rid of at the end of last season.
    You certainly do have a lot of orange in you and it looks great!
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. I too, have gotten rid of some orange things and regret it. Not so much clothing though-household things. I think it's interesting that we both took a break from colour prior to re-thinking things, though I did it more with taupe and grey. While some of that is a bit too cool, I still love brown so I've shifted my neutrals to cream and brown and they still make a good resting place. In the warmer colours I am astounded at how golden, orange, bronze I actually am. I look more so, but I think it's good. I don't look sickly yellow as I feared. Maybe, just maybe, the orange you got rid of was not the right orange for you and you instinctively knew that. Let's go with that! xoxo


I love visitors and I love comments. I will try my best to respond to everyone! Thanks for stopping by.