Fall Color Report No. 2

by Caitlin Kelch

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I heard from many of you who were interested in more color coverage, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at three more colors from Pantone’s fall color report. We’ll be examining how and why these colors work together. Today we’re focusing on Spicy Mustard, Aurora Red and the wild card of the group, Bodacious, an upbeat purple shade.

It’s easy to understand why Spicy Mustard and Aurora Red make sense for autumn with their nod to the harvest and the rich burnt oranges of fall leaves. It’s less obvious where Bodacious fits in. With a little detective work, I think I’ve uncovered a distinct possibility on why this shade of purple is in the fall collection.

Click through to hear me out on my Bodacious hunch! I’ve also included a collage look at each color for inspiration, along with some fun, vintage images of colorful appliances and pretty awesome fashion that are apropos. —Caitlin

Let’s start with the basic characteristics associated with each of these colors. Here’s what the Pantone Color Institute™ has to say about each color:

Bounces elegantly off other colors in the palette, PANTONE 14-0952 Spicy Mustard is an exotic addition.

  • Adds another splash of uplifting vibrancy
  • A spicier, zestier Yellow than previous seasons
  • Unexpected and unusual
  • Comes through in both the abstract and geometric accents that designers employed

In contrast to the stable backbone of the Fall 2016 palette (blues & indigos), PANTONE 18-1550 Aurora Red adds a welcome punch.

  • A bold Red that is warm, sensual and immediately pleasing to the eye
  • Gets the metaphorical blood of the palette pumping
  • Exciting and dynamic, breeds unmistakable confidence

PANTONE 17-3240 Bodacious speaks to the gender fluidity we continue to see.

  • Lends itself to vibrant color combinations
  • Unexpected in fall
  • Versatile; can be used with Pinks and Reds
  • Bright, rich Purple, with hints of a more sophisticated Pink
  • Turns fashion accents into fashion statements

Next, you’ll notice that Spicy Mustard, Aurora Red and Bodacious are all warm colors. Aurora Red and Bodacious are more-or-less neighbors on the color wheel, while Spicy Mustard is just a few blocks over.  Another interesting observation to point out is their location relative to the center, which is white. Playful Bodacious is in the number two position, closest to white. Spicy Mustard is in the number four position, while Aurora Red is in the number five position, and the closest of the three colors to black. Why is this important? I’ll tell you in the coming paragraphs. It has to do with my Bodacious hunch.




Back to general observations on these three colors. Spicy Mustard and Aurora Red are the “Harvest Gold” and “Burnt Orange” of 2016. Plain and simple.

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They relate well to the fall season and together or on their own, can transition to the sun of summer and/or the indian reds of a deep, now forbidden, sun tan and sunsets. It’s plain to see that these two colors fit well in both warm seasons and cool seasons. They echo the magical color combination used in the prolific Endless Summer surfer movie poster created in 1966.

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Image from Art.com

While we don’t expect to see Bodacious breaking into the home goods market next week, it is making the fashion rounds, both in apparel and Katy Perry’s hair. I think the color powers that be may just be prepping us for a spring breakthrough of the color in home accessories like pillows, throws, etc. After all, Bodacious hints at lilac and the whimsical pastels of spring.

Okay, now onto my hunch! Remember how last week’s color report talked about blues dominating the color landscape this fall? Bingo! Bodacious, in my humble opinion, is present because of the huge push with indigos. Like it or not, Bodacious, or light purples in general, looks fantastic with blues. The deeper the blue, the better. Take a look at the 1960s fashion portrait below. Wowsa! And I believe I see some geometrics in Spicy Mustard/Harvest Gold in the knit dress on the left and in the socks.

Don’t forget that all three of our colors today span the light to dark range on the color wheel. So as we’re seeing a range of blues this season (and last), there’s sure to be a good fit with one of these three!


With blues dominating the scene for the past fews seasons, I’m sure many a household is decked out in all shades of it. When fall turns to winter and spring goods flow into the market while it’s still cold outside, I think Bodacious may take the place of the now ubiquitous Mint. Blue will need a new playmate. Enter Bodacious.

Here’s a look at these three colors together. I think you can see how they play well together.

#2 Combo

Image above (clockwise): 1. Bodacious makes an appearance on a color block credenza by Modify Furniture. | 2. A darker shade of Bodacious will most likely appear first in home accessories like this pillow. | 3. A line-up of pillows in Bodacious and Spicy Mustard (pillow) would fit right in with fashion’s love affair with the 1960s and 70s. | 4. This D*S Sneak Peek fits right in with this color story. | 5. This print incorporates nearly all of the fall color collection hues. | 6. Another D*S Sneak Peek with an Aurora Red-esque dining room. | 7. The brighter mustard in this kitchen looks great with the pops of red.

Aurora Red

Image above (clockwise): 1. These curtains give off a real global vibe. | 2. Crate and Barrel’s fall looks are focusing on this aesthetic. Note the blue pillow. | 3. Red nail polish that sways towards burnt orange. | 4. Pillows in Brenner Rust and Brenner Yellow | 5. Tunic

Spicy Mustard

Image above (clockwise): 1. Kitchen from the D*S archives | 2. Lace top | 3. Tea Kettle| 4. Pillow sham | 5. Brenner Yellow velvet pillow | 6. Necklace

Bodacious  Image above (clockwise): 1. Color block credenza by Modify Furniture. | 2. Print from Minted | 3. Pants | 4. Graham & Brown Wallpaper (old stock)| 5. Nail polish


And guess what I saw next to me in my office as I wrote this? This candle I bought at Target. They’ve got me already! It smelled fine, but I bought it for the color. (smirk)

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  • I’m loving your insights into color, both scientific and emotional– [right and left brain–check!]

  • This post was such a colorful feast for the eyes! I love it! Especially since several years my husband and I painted 3 walls of our living room ‘Chili Pepper’ (Benjamin Moore), which is more red than orange (or ‘rust’, as back in the early ’70’s). We painted an accent wall ‘Spicy Mustard’ (Benjamin Moore). Being it’s a north-facing room, the warm red and gold-like hues give out a warm, blanket-wrapped feeling in the cold weather. To keep things from overheating, we painted the ceiling the palest blue (almost white) that BM made (‘though I forget the name!). We also have a lot of wood items (antique furniture) and a deliciously chocolate-brown couch, so I have cobalt blue accents (glassware, blanket, print drapes, etc) to cool things down a bit more. I’m happy to see that our paint color choices are in style with this Fall! (By the way, I loved seeing the retro advertisements!)
    Oh, and I just realized that a color, much like ‘Bodacious’ pops up alot as an accent color in my(apple green) craft room! Happy! Happy!

  • This is so great, I hope color reports become a regular feature!

    I’m not usually a huge purple or yellow fan but there is just something about spicy mustard and bodacious together that I really love.

  • I think the analysis and gender projections about Bodacious are a bit of an unnecessary reach. It’s obvious that Bodacious fits the fall theme for the simple reason that the classic fall flower, mums, are in often this color. The mustard and red are also mum colors. The three colors look great together.

    • Hi Brooke

      Very true regarding the mum color! Could you kindly point out the gender projections other than the reference to Katy Perry’s former hair color and the vintage fashion image? I don’t consider those projections, but rather examples, like them or not.

      However, I do want to be sensitive to any gender issues in my writing, so please do let me know :)



      • Sure–I think it was this line: “PANTONE 17-3240 Bodacious speaks to the gender fluidity we continue to see.” I’m just a little lost as to what that means.

  • Those colours represent a cozy corner of our living room. I enjoy them all year round. :)

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  • Youre awesome. So interesting. Thanks for making it simple for me to understand ::sheepish grin::: lol!