It isn’t one of my favorite colors. In fact, orange is a neglected color in this household. At least, it used to be. But I recognize a growing affinity for a palette with pumpkin, terra cotta, or burnt sienna.

In a sweater here, an accessory there.

I could trace this emerging tendency to my younger son’s attendance at a college bearing orange in its school colors. But a funky pair of kitten heels in tangerine – purchased at least four years ago – have convinced me otherwise, as I literally stumbled over them searching through my closet.

Then there are the bolder orange peep-toe pumps I covet. Enzo, I think. And the orange bag buried somewhere in a pile, not to mention an orange cardigan, an orange foulard, and growing pleasure at the muse in these hues as I ask myself – what on earth is the reason for this? I’ve always been a “neutrals” or “red” woman at heart. And I still am.

Yesterday, despite a somewhat subdued mood or perhaps because of it, I gave myself to orange and found that it boosted my spirits. Was it my imagination, or is something more at play?

Meaning of the Color Orange

The psychology of color is fascinating! It turns out that the color orange is associated with Lady Luck. It’s also associated with endurance as well as vital life force and healing.

When it comes to personality and emotions, some sources indicate that orange is all about extroversion and flamboyance. According to Squidoo’s Color Expert, you either love orange or hate it, and the color orange:

* Stimulates activity
* Stimulates appetite
* Encourages socialization

I did wear a vibrant orange scarf yesterday.

I did feel lightened and brightened.

I did socialize at a client site as well as participate in meetings in energetic fashion. While I’m generally not in-your-face when it comes to style, it was fun feeling a little less like my usual self, and in a way more like my usual self.

Change – For No Particular Reason

Do you ever need a dramatic switch in your usual comfortable (and satisfying) routines? In your colors? In your personal style?

What about your behavior? Do you recognize a need to change now and then – to urge yourself to view the world a little differently? Perhaps to encourage your willingness to speak up for yourself?

Maybe you’re looking for ways to tone things down – if more calm and quiet are essential. Maybe you – like me – require external stimulus from time to time, simply to get out of your own head.

We all know that change thrust upon us is unsettling. But change we undertake for purposeful objectives is another matter entirely.

We’re in control. We’re experimenting. We can engage in change in bite-size amounts, measure progress, and adjust accordingly.

Staring Into the Face of Change?

There are times we mold ourselves to accommodate others in ways that are unhealthy. You know what I mean. The Female Chameleon Syndrome – always transforming to meet the needs of others, all too often ignoring our own needs. Now there’s a good reason to change! Remembering the extent to which we also need care and feeding of our spirits and our bodies.

Sometimes, we initiate change simply to shake things up and see what happens. Small changes can be effective without being frightening.

Exit the pumpkins, but enter my new flirtation with orange in all its variations – to perk up my mood, raise my energy level, and see myself in a new light. I’m using color as my personal change agent. It’s a virtually free, and knowing myself to be visual, I think it can pack some punch.

Might I add that while I’m at it, I’m pouring myself a glass of Vitamin D enriched O.J. so I’m working that health and vitality from the inside as well.

Now if only I had that bag and those shoes in the illustration above. But no worries. I’ve got those kitten heels in my closet, a delicious scarf, a lovely cardigan…

  • Have you ever used color to change your mood?
  • Do externals affect your behavior and energy levels?


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  1. says

    Orange is a color I’m always drawn to but never wear. Part of the latter fact might have to do with the fact that unless the new fashion trend is to look jaundiced, I just can’t seem to pull it off.

    Your post got me thinking, though, of different ways I might be able to bring the color into my wardrobe. A scarf, maybe; jewelry, sure; a purse, yes please! I know what is going on my gift list!!!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Lovely to hear from you, Tammy. Like you, I think a little touch here and there goes a long way – a scarf, a bag, a sweater. I say go for it on the gift list! (See how the color makes you feel – afterward!)

  2. says

    Orange has been my eldest’s favorite color since he was old enough to name one, so whenever I see orange, I think of him, and that’s never a bad thing.

    Funny thing, I just an orange dress in a post on one of my favorite fashion/celebrity blogs: Tom and Lorenzo. It was Emily Blunt in Alexander McQueen. Not a bad way to wear orange, eh? I think you could rock that gown, D. 😉

  3. says

    Dark neutrals. I wear a lot of navy, black, and some brown. Last year, my daughter-in-law bought me a purple sweater. Huh? She thought I could use some color.

    This year, I bought myself some color – coral, mulberry, blue-green, sage. Most greens look good on me, so it is one color that I wear. Red – yes; I have red sweaters. One orange linen top; I like it – and it is a great accessory color.

    Pure purple – never – can you say Barney?

    Color can definitely affect my mood. I am most comfortable in navy and black. Hmm… What do the color experts say about that?

    • BigLittleWolf says

      There’s also a practical aspect to neutrals, especially darker colors. (Hide stains, slimming to women.)

      But as to the meaning? Good question, Robin! (Check that link. It offers associations with the various colors, not just orange. Interesting stuff.)

  4. says

    I’ve never been an orange person – I have cool colouring and thought it didn’t suit me. Then I found a purple and orange print skirt that I loved and an orange cardigan to go with it (all at a thrift shop!) It seemed to work and I enjoyed the change of colour scheme, as you said. I’ve even been known to wear orange and maroon together, a v. strange combo for me, but Trinny and Susannah said it went together; I tried it and lived. After retiring I dyed my hair a dark cool shade of red and all the sudden I loved a whole other range of rusts and ambers. I’ve given up the dark red and am working back to blonde, but I don’t plan to turn my back on orange completely.

    I have used colour to lift my spirit. I know that I loved browns when I was young – v. mouse like I was! Then I discovered that I looked quite good in red and I had a red jacket that I wore on days I needed a bit more confidence. I’m careful to chose restful colours for the sitting room, but I painted my kitchen red which enhances appetite (not that I needed any help there). I wanted it red to make my North facing kitchen feel warmer. I think colour is very important in how we feel.

  5. says

    I wore pink for the first time at 18. In hindsight it was the beginning of my move away from the denial of self that my mother had expected of me throughout childhood. (That it was stupid to like pretty things, to want to dance, to want to wear my hair up. In a strange way that I sometimes hear others describe their childhoods, mine was about being told that those things that I saw and read about other girls doing, and would have loved to do myself, were fine for them, but not for ‘someone like me’). So as a young adult with my own money, I stepped out into the world, learned to sew, and made choices about what I wanted to wear, and how I wanted to present myself.
    For me, colour is a very empowering thing. I love seeing people out and about who look happy in their own skins, maybe having put some thought into wearing what would make them feel good that day.
    I don’t look good in orange, though. It clashes with my pink hair.

  6. says

    It’s funny how we’re thinking in unison BLW. I’ve recently posted about the colors impact on our mood
    Color change is among my firsts to go for that matter from lipstick to redecorating.
    Orange is my red, always have something for summer: bracelet, tote, shirt or at least a print with orange motive. I love to spice up the neutrals and muted tones with punch of color in accessories.

  7. says

    Don’t have a lot of orange, but have always thought of it as a cheery color. I heard last year that Orange was the new Red but it never replaced my love of red in the closet. It’s a sassy color that I think works well as an accessory where it can pop and command attention. But this time of year, orange is always a lovely color!

  8. Walker Thornton says

    Orange is also the color associated with the chakra that controls/influences out sexuality

    I have never been drawn to orange as a color for me. Being surrounded by University of Virginia fans probably contributed to the sense of orange overload. But, your thoughts about change and new energy might persuade me to review my clothes and accessories. I just bought red gloves and think red is what I want to add

    • BigLittleWolf says

      Red gloves, Walker! J’adore! Red is pure passion!

      Every now and then I pull out a purple scarf. It has the same effect, more or less. Sometimes a jolt of a new color, a bold color, whatever it may be is so energizing!

  9. says

    I just in recent years got hooked on to orange! In fact, when my husband and I started our business we chose orange as our company color. We love the energy, optimism and youth that orange conveys. Orange just always seemed like a color that children liked…maybe there’s a reason.

    I’ve become more interested in bright colors. Like you, black was always my color of choice, and most definitely for the staples: jackets, coats, shoes and bags. But a couple of years ago I chose a red fall jacket, and one summer I bought a colorful (lots of reds, oranges and yellows) striped hobo bag. I’m liking “busy” designs more too, as opposed to solids. I think all of this does make a difference in boosting the mental energy levels!

    • BigLittleWolf says

      @Cecilia – I caught you at a late (parenting) moment last evening. And you look great in blue! I know what you mean about brighter colors. The do boost the energy!

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