The spring and summer months are more commonly associated with bold and bright color choices. Lately, pastel shades have reigned supreme, from lilac everything to chirpy shades of yellow. But as we gear up for fall and start considering new trends to work into our wardrobes, a spruced-up color palette is likewise on the brain, and boy oh boy, does fall have a punchy range in store.
The fall runways were flooded with unique color combinations from ice blue and rust to neon orange and tan to lavender and red, as evidenced by Sies Marjan, Roksanda, Ellery and more. We’re not talking about a sprinkling of new hues in a simple sweater, coat or handbag form, the new-season look is about brilliant shades colorblocked head to toe or an electric color in combination with a warm neutral like cognac brown or tan as seen at Tibi and Joseph.
If you’re the type to feel emboldened by color, the nerviest combinations are your perfect foray into fall. “I love mixing red with lavender,” says Susan Marasco, fashion director at Bloomingdale’s, a combination we saw during New York Fashion Week at It-girl label, Nanushka’s presentation. “The combination is unexpected yet the colors complement each other with their blue undertones,” she adds. If ultra-vibrant shades don’t scare you one bit, Marasco likes the mix of red and hot pink pieces, too. Whether you go for a knit-and-trouser pairing or team a blouse and skirt together, her biggest takeaway is to “take risks with the colors but keep the silhouettes simple.”
For those inching their way toward color, Caroline Maguire, fashion director of Shopbop recommends pairing a neutral tone with a bright shade. “My favorite color combo for the season is ultraviolet and cognac—I like to call this my PB&J combo,” she says, explaining how you can mishmash a range of pieces like a purple dress with cognac shoes or a violet sweater and camel skirt. Her hot tip? “Ideally keep the top as bright as possible to lighten up your face.”
Whether you’re a color fanatic or need a little extra convincing, ahead, we’re breaking down five fresh color pairings that will instantly revive your look, all inspired by the fall runways.
Violet + Brown
As Caroline Maguire explained, a shocking shade of purple feels unexpected, yet instantly balanced by camel or cognac brown (Ellery gave us a softer version of this look by styling a pale purple dress over scrunched tan boots). For extra juxtaposition, we love a Western-inspired boot peeking from a wispy pleated dress.
Orange + Tan
Orange can be an intimidating color, but if the fall runways taught us one thing it’s that the citrus shade is easily tempered by tan. This top-and-trouser combo is appropriate for work, and transitions to drinks with ease.
Red + Hot Pink
Red and hot pink are two colors that can’t seem to keep away from each other. Kick the combo up a notch by going for ultra-pigmented pieces with impact like a satin blouse and a high-waisted wide-leg trouser.
Ice Blue + Rust
Two colors many don’t consider, ice blue and rust are actually easy to wear independently but even better as a team (we spotted this combo on the Roksanda runway). Give this pairing a forward yet feminine spin by teaming a puff-sleeve blouse and asymmetrical skirt.
Red + Lavender
A pastel shade like lilac instantly softens a vibrant hue like fire engine red. Clean lines will give this daring combo an effortless effect (as Susan Marasco explained) such as a fitted red knit and sleek pair of lavender trousers.