There is a reason why the combination of blue and orange is used so liberally in packaging. Advertising with complementary colors, or colors that sit directly opposite the other on the color wheel, is one of the oldest advertising tricks. Using colors that are each other’s opposite cause a product or advertisement to stand out. With brands competing for your eyeballs and dollars, this is a smart tactic.
When I think about blue and orange combined together, the first thing I think about is Maxwell House, which hasn’t always used the famous blue and orange combination for its branding (which I found out through research, not because I am some fringey Maxwell House brand enthusiast), so it’s interesting that despite there having been many incarnations of branding colors that they have used, the blue and orange logo is probably the most memorable and iconic.
But, alas, I’m not here to talk about Maxwell House or the use of colors in advertising, but to make a point about the combination of blue and orange. If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that the combination is everywhere this season. In many ways, it stands to reason. Orange is incredibly popular this spring, which I am so happy about I almost can’t stand it, and when figuring out what exactly to pair it with, the choices can be a bit limiting. Orange and black can be a tricky combination unless your desire is to be the world’s biggest Halloween fan. Orange and grey, while stunning in the fall, can be a bit drab for warm weather. Olive or khaki paired with orange works but doesn’t work well for everyone, and orange and white, while lovely, can be tricky for those who don’t love white as a main neutral. This leaves orange and navy as the likely winner. Yet, it’s not just orange and navy that have been seen in the stores, orange has been paired with all shades of blue, including turquoise and soft blue hues. These combinations feel fresh, vibrant, summery, and perfect for warm weather.
HOW TO WEAR BLUE AND ORANGE WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE A CAN OF MAXWELL HOUSE
If you want to wear blue and orange this season but don’t want to look like that infamous can of Maxwell House or a team mascot—ever notice how many high school team colors are blue and orange? It’s not really that challenging, and today, I have put five stunning and wearable looks together using blue and orange as the color combination.
In this first look, I styled this summery orange and navy stripe Breton from Kule with white wide-leg tailored jeans from J.Crew. Working with the combination, I added this summer cardigan in navy from Nic + Zoe and finished the look with platform sandals in navy from M.Gemi (I own these sandals in this shade and they are amazing), an orange crossbody from Demellier and an orange belt from & Other stories.
Admittedly, orange pants can be tricky. What I have found when combining orange and lighter shades of blue is that the outfit is best when anchored with navy. You can go all bright in your look, of course, but if you prefer to ground this color combination try working in navy. When styling this orange and blue cardigan from Veronica Beard with the orange pants from M.M. Lafleur, I found a simple navy tank, like this one from St. John, added a level of sophistication vs. had I paired the look with a softer blue top. Think of it like giving your bright wardrobe pieces something solid to tether themselves to. The look is further grounded with a pair of navy pumps and a navy Cuyana tote. Now the outfit can go to work and look professional and not too summery, resort.
What inspired this post was my recent pulls for a client who loves orange and wears a lot of navy. I found this dress from Akris Punto for her, and while it can be dressed up with a pair of sandals or pumps, I styled it for casual, or even business casual, with a pair of sneakers from Soludos which pick up the colors without being too matchy-matchy. For arm coverage, I added this FRAME cardigan in orange and popped in a cobalt leather crossbody from Leatherology which another client, an orange and blue enthusiast, recently picked up.
The pieces in your orange and blue looks don’t have to consist of the color combination. You can build it on your own using solid shades of blue and orange. As with this look, which I styled with a cobalt cotton skirt from Alex Mill and a navy linen sweater from The White Company, orange is used as the pop accent in this look. I added these shoes from Ann Mashburn and a scarf from J. McLaughlin, and finished the look with a crossbody from Chloé.
In this last look, instead of building a look using an orange and blue piece or gathering orange and blue solids, I styled printed navy pants from Mes Demoiselles with an orange blazer from L’Agence. What I love about neutral prints against ivory, beige, or white backgrounds is that they can be treated like solids which brings a whole new dynamic to a look without the process being overcomplicated. There is still a fair deal going on, so I layered a simple white tee under the blazer, added some navy flats from Margaux, a chunky gold necklace from Misho, and a navy bag from Furla.
SHOP FOR BLUE AND ORANGE FASHION
Shop for more blue and orange combinations. And remember, if orange isn’t your color, coral can easily be swapped in as a substitute.