Autumn is a time to step outside your comfort zone, especially when fashion is involved. Luckily for those risk-takers out there, designers erred on the side of unabashed style for autumn 2014, meaning that no shape, shade, or statement is off limits. What this means for those outside the fashion industry is simple: trying out a few previously prohibited colors is not only allowed this season, it is encouraged. Orange is a major player for fall despite getting a bad rap in the past; grey isn't just for drab pantsuits anymore; and purple has undergone a much-needed makeover.
However, if you don't document your idiosyncratic street style for a living, bold neons and shades that could come across too juvenile might not be at the top of your fall shopping list. After all, several of autumn's trendiest shades should come with a warning label. But when paired with the correct complementary (or boldly contrasting) colors, each of fall's must-have shades is not only wearable, but also worthy of a few double-takes. For those with color-phobia, read on for your ultimate guide to wearing autumn's most chic and challenging shades. With the correct inspiration you'll end up with an unforgettable revamped look, no tears necessary.
1. ORANGE (IS THE NEW BLACK)
If you shy away from this brilliant hue, you're not alone. However, orange is one of fall 2014's most embraced colors, so it may be time to hop on the pop of color train. Make the color more manageable by pairing it with equally trendy gray, like Megan Fox did for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, or color block the shade with other warm tones for an unforgettable look. Pink and red look particularly stunning against orange, but be careful to choose tones of each shade that complement each other — and your skin tone — lest the look clash. When it doubt, orange always pairs well with white or black.
2. USE GREEN AS A NEUTRAL
Olive and army green easily fall into the category of neutral shades thanks to their muted grey and brown undertones, but the brighter shade of forest green is a must-have color for autumn and possesses the same versatility as the previous two. Designers from Dolce & Gabbana to Christian Siriano used the shade as a whimsical accent to lush, fairytale-inspired collections, meaning that the shade is ripe for pairing with embroidery, pattern, and a myriad of silhouettes. The hue goes beautifully with rich, plummy shades or deep navy blue for the more adventurous, but also looks stunning against grey flannel or tweed.
3. DON'T BE AFRAID OF FELINES
Prints, that is. Leopard print is everywhere for fall, so much in fact that it qualifies as one of the season's biggest shades. And the best way to work the pattern is to overcome your fear of its flamboyance. The old rules still apply: The print doesn't play well with pieces that are too short, tight, or boldly embellished; however, this season you can trot out a full-on leopard print midi dress without incurring the wrath of onlookers. Black, grey, and camel all look chic when paired with the print, but bright crimson, cream, cobalt, and even mustard yellow lend a modern edge to leopard print. For a smaller dose of the pattern, a pointy toe shoe or clutch in a feline print will add a subtle pop of interest to an ensemble.
4. GRAY ISN'T DULL ANYMORE
50 Shades Of Grey has been credited with this burgeoning trend more times than anyone can count, but regardless of its origin, the color is here to stay for autumn. Despite its reputation as a muted neutral, the shade can easily become a bold, beautiful statement or a sartorial mistake which makes the wearer appear wan and sickly, so it is essential to pick the perfect shade based on your hair color and skin tone. Blondes may find a light dove gray the most flattering, while those with richer brunette locks may feel more comfortable in a deeper shade like charcoal. Wear the color from head to toe for a trendy take on the color, or paired with neutrals for a sophisticated look; bonus points if you add in a pop of orange to your ensemble. And if you truly cant wrap your head around the shade, a pair of slouchy grey wool trousers is a safe bet.
5. RADIANT ORCHID IS IN BLOOM (YES, IT'S STILL IN)
2014 isn't over yet, and neither is Pantone Color of the Year Radiant Orchid. Sure, the shade is harder to justify during the fall than it is when the sun is shining and pastel ensembles abound, but the purple/pink hybrid is actually easier to rock for autumn than you'd think. Orchid is sophisticated and urbane when paired with similarly trendy gray, and happens to mesh well with creamy shades of off-white and ivory. And for the particularly fashion-forward, pairing orchid with muddy cognac shades is downright dashing.
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