Screenshot: Pantone Color Insitute

The year of Ultra Violet is coming to an end, and the age of Living Coral is upon us. The Pantone Color Institute has named the vibrant not-quite-orange, not-quite-red, not-quite-pink shade as the Color of the Year 2019 to call attention to the rapidly disappearing coral reefs around the world.

“In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind,” the institute wrote in its announcement. “Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

Screenshot: Pantone Color Institute

In nature, coral is breathtaking. Coral sunsets? Stunning. Coral in the sea? Beautiful! Coral on Earth goddess Rihanna’s face? Amazing!

Coral is “convivial” and “humanizing and heartening,” Pantone says, and I don’t disagree. But what’s beautiful in one context may be disquieting in another–coral is also the color of sunburned skin and raw ground beef, after all. The problem with coral is that finding a flattering shade for your skin tone is hard. Coral is warm and inviting, but she is also a diva who demands your attention, screaming “I am here, look at me!”

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I recently fell for coral’s charms, purchasing underwear at Aerie assuming that the vibrant, spicy hue would look great on my brown skin. I was deeply wrong; somehow, the coral looked like a giant piece of Hubba Bubba gum wrapped around my butt. Lesson learned: coral, living or not, is best admired from afar.