Coral: Colour of the year

For 2019, the international design and colour institute has declared Pantone colour No. 16-1546 as its top pick.

Whereas last year’s deep blueish-purple reminded us of evening skies, 2019’s colour pick takes us to the depths of the ocean to embrace the soft warm orange of coral.

On Pantone’s website, they state their colour of the year choice is based on our desire to seek authentic and natural experiences against the onslaught of digital technology and social media.

That’s a pretty lofty goal for a colour. However, I see some truth to their reasoning.

The colour of coral is, of course, most closely associated with the multi-hued marine invertebrates found in the oceans. Marine biologists may disagree, but as far as animals go, corals seem decidedly low tech.

Thanks to its beautiful hue, red coral has been prized for centuries as a gemstone for jewelry.

For 2019, I’d suggest the best way to incorporate the colour of the year into your wardrobe would be with coral jewelry.

That comes with a huge caveat though. Coral reefs around the world are under threat and over-harvesting has depleted much of the coral left.

It is simply not responsible to buy new real coral pieces. Fortunately, there are a ton of eco-friendly and affordable alternatives. 

Carnelian, red obsidian and red onyx are gemstones that look similar in hue to coral. Glass, resin and other polymers can also be crafted to mimic the orangey-red hue. 

I especially love the coral glass tile beads mixed with turquoise and neutrals tones in Julie Rofman’s Mesa bracelet cuff, pictured above.

In addition, all these alternatives are actually more durable than natural coral. 

If you prefer real coral, let it be vintage. Search Etsy for estate and repurposed coral jewelry.

Other great ways to enjoy 2019’s colour of the year:

  • Coral is a beautiful and flattering lip colour for spring and summer. Check out MAC’s Lipglass in Lychee Luxe for a warm coral shimmer.
  • A coral handbag is surprising neutral, and looks especially fun as a lady-like mini-bag such as the one pictured above by Manu Atelier. 
  • Coral-tinted sunglasses add just enough shading for spring days and brighten the face. The ones pictured above are from Aldo.
  • A flowy dress in coral chiffon or silk is a warm weather classic.

Mix and match your coral accessories with colours from the other side of the colour spectrum such as teal, mint green, and navy. Or use it as a colour pop against neutrals such as cream, gold, and brown.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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