Rather than tattoos, back talk or Day-Glo hair, the only way I’ve ever really defied my mother by ignoring her by-the-book fashion advice. It started in first grade, when I insisted on layering clashing plaid flannels instead of following her matchy-matchy policy, progressed to sweaters with shorts ("Alison, pick a season!") and followed me right through into adulthood. I still have a thrilling sense of rebellion tied to wearing white jeans after Labor Day or tossing on clashing prints—although a ban on a holiday color combination outside its designated day might be the rule I enjoy flouting the most.
Besides giving me that "Imma gonna do what I want" rush, pairing shades that might otherwise seem theme-y makes a bold, confident statement. It says that not only am I unafraid to wear Christmas/Fourth of July/whatever hues on the other 364 days of the year, but I have the style to pull them off, too. With Halloween just four weeks away, I’ve already come up with several tricks for mixing orange and black in ways that don’t remind people of jack-o’-lanterns, candy corn and fun-sized Hershey’s bars. If you’re up for proving your mother wrong—or just want some great outfit ideas for fall—click through the slideshow above for my five best tips now.