It is, let us be frank, the Cinderella of colours. If this colour was an act, it is the one not even Michael McIntyre could bring himself to vote for. It is the shade most frequently found on the sale rails alongside egg-yolk yellow.
We are, of course, talking orange. But orange seems to have tired of its loser status and has hired itself some really pricey PR this season, because designers like Jonathan Saunders, Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs have made it their shade du jour and it is all over the High Street, too.
So far, the JC has resisted anything other than passing mentions of this colour for two reasons: (1) a healthy scepticism that a significant number of real women (as opposed to Gisele, Kate, et al, forced to wear it for catwalk or shoot) will voluntarily splash their cash on this colour, and (2) with apologies to my website co-director and one of my very best friends, for whom orange is a signature colour, lighting up her skin in a way normally achieved by falling in love or spending a week at a spa having daily facials, for most of us orange next to our face does the same as, well, being dead.
But overcoming my prejudices, I have been investigating orange on your behalf, and it turns out to be wearable, provided you follow some basic rules (below left). And having established that anything, from a teensy slice of orange to a head-to-toe Tango, is do-able, the next issue is where to find the best orange.
● At the top end of the market, Matches has really embraced the orange trend, with entire dresses in orange by Diane von Furstenberg, Marc by Marc Jacobs and MaxMara. At Fenwick, W1 there's a cap-sleeve orange silk shift dress with gathered detail by Tara Jarmon at £289, and an orange silk Grecian style maxi by Pyrus at £109.
On the high street, Topshop is working the orange trend with several very desirable dresses, including a structured skater dress, and a shift dress with pretty gathering on the top; Mango has a vivid orange shift, while New Look has a silky, orange cap-sleeve shift with fuchsia band at hem. Reiss has a really pretty posh frock with cutwork bodice, while House of Fraser has a 1980s silk jersey dress with split sleeves. TK Maxx's mac would leave no-one doubting you are trending tangerine. For orange tops, Ted Baker has a great fluoro orange tank top, while H&M has a pretty T-shirt with applique roses; M&S Autograph has a half-sleeve cardi and George at Asda has an orange vest at £6.
Half an orange
● For those allergic to orange at their face, Vanessa Bruno has an orange skirt with full length side zip at £259 at Fenwick, W1, while Reiss has its fabulous silky maxi skirt and Topshop has a tangerine paper-bag pleat, belted skirt.
● Work the trend in peach, apricot or coral, or in a print featuring orange, like M&S's Per Una Speziale cut rose chiffon skirt in coral (just add a plain white shirt or T-shirt), as well as an asymmetric frilled dress in peach. H&M has a very wearable and versatile coral shirt, while Browns has a coral-shading-into pink cashmere-silk cardi by Dries van Noten. Boden has lots in coral including a ribbon-embellished jacket (down to £99) and a pretty coral top with frill detail at the neck.
Orange prints includes Jonathan Saunders' pretty orange-and-blue print dress and Diane von Furstenberg's orange-and-white print dresses and skirts all at Matches. Prettiest orange print is Stella McCartney's oranges-and-lemons used for a skirt, vest and long dress. More affordably, Warehouse has an orange-and-blue 1950s-inspired dress, while Banana Republic has a pale orange/coral/pink print wrap jacket.
● These brilliant accessories are a good way to demonstrate your trend credentials, including Banana Republic's tote bag at £65, Cheet London and Desa both have gold chain-handle bags; Wilbur & Gussie's satin clutch; Elliott Rhodes' belts; Rupert Sanderson courts in mid-heel and high-heel; Linzi Shoes suede wedge sandal, New Look suede court, Topshop pale orange Mary-Janes, Office orange espadrille and Debenhams orange-peep toe court with ankle strap and bow. There's also an orange and yellow floral headband by Cara, £35 at Fenwick, W1.