Each season has its own inherent color scheme. In spring, it's all about innocent pastels and bright floral tones. In summer, it's juicy red and marine blue. Winter calls to mind a juxtaposition between icy metallics and moody jewel tones. As for fall, it's all about shades of orange, dusky yellow, and muted red—basically, any color that reflects the changing leaves on the trees, cider mills, sweaters, and pumpkin patches. It doesn't matter where you live, either. Whether you're walking the chilly streets of NYC or living in the eternal summer that is Los Angeles, celebrating the seasons is best when you play with color, specifically your nail color.
This fall, orange is the clear standout. Some of our favorite nail brands have released new polishes that range from bright citrus hues to smoky burnt ochre shades. And it's not trending simply because it's somewhat of an autumnal icon (it is, after all, the color of falling leaves and grinning jack o' lanterns); it's really trending because of the recent '70s revival. Yep, tinted aviators, ruffled blouses, shaggy fringe haircuts, corduroy, and orange nail polish. That's the pinnacle of style in fall.
Keep scrolling to see the 10 best orange nail polishes to get you in the mood for fall.
This is our favorite of all of Smith & Cult's new nail polish shades, although it's worth checking out all of them (specifically a gorgeous shimmery crimson shade called The Message, $18). Meet Tang Bang, which is an opaque burnt orange. It's so on theme for fall, and it's so delightfully '70s. Let's just say we hold this one in high regards and may or may plan to wear this at least once a month.
Next, we have this essie shade that was clearly inspired by autumn in the Big Apple hence the name of this marigold orange color, Fall for NYC. It reminds us of the sun-dappled orange leaves in Central Park and steaming turmeric lattes in Greenwich Village cafés.
Clearly essie knows how to create the perfect shades for fall (and all seasons honestly) because this Say It Ain't Soho hue is a drop-dead gorgeous shade of orange ochre. Thanks to the super-shimmery finish, the polish comes alive with a fiery reflection when it's exposed to sunlight. There's not much else I can say other than go buy it.
For a true, classic orange, look no further than OPI's formula called It's a Piazza Cake. It's bold, it's vibrant, and it's truly opaque. Use it as a simple wash of color, or incorporate it into Halloween nail designs.
If you prefer neutrals and earth tones, then you'll love this rust color from Tenoverten, a brand that creates nontoxic nail polishes that are free from eight harmful chemicals found in other brands' formulations. These polishes can also boast that they're completely vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. For all these reasons and more, Tenoverten is a Byrdie-editor favorite.
Compared to rusty earth tones, this JinSoon shade, called Hope, is vibrant and cheery (basically, it sits at the other end of the orange polish spectrum compared to the aforementioned Tenoverten pick). Consider it proof that orange nail polish doesn't have to be muted or subdued. It can run the gamut from smoky and earthy to neon and pastel.
In the photo, this JinSoon shade looks similar to the glaring orange of a traffic cone, but it's subtler and more dimensional IRL. That's because it's not pure orange; it's actually a mix of coral and orange, modeled after the wild poppies that grow in the French countryside.
This Zoya nail polish, called Cole, is a soft pastel orange. It looks amazing on every skin tone, though it complements people with warm undertones best. Just don't regulate this shade exclusively to autumn; we think it should be worn all year round.
Shimmery, fiery, and dimensional are all adjectives we could use to describe this polish, which is called Tanzy. Metallic gold sparkle swirls in a base of tangerine orange, and it's nothing short of entrancing to watch.
Next, check out the 12 best fall nail colors, according to Byrdie editors.