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Archive for August, 2011

Color by Mood

Another post about color? Of course! This one was suggested by a friend. She linked me to this article about color psychology and asked if it was applicable to fashion.

Of course it is! and understanding how different colors are perceived can be very important to how you dress.

Now the meaning of color can change from culture to culture, but most have some color significance built in. So for simplicity’s sake, I will be using generally accepted U.S. color psycology.

Why should you care? Because color sends subliminal messages, and when first impressions are important (or if  you need to set the right tone) you can always take every bit of help you can get.

So how can you play up color to influence your mood and others? Here’s a quick guide:

We’ll start with neutrals, because they are easily combined with other colors!

Black

This color can go in two directions. Black is often associated with authority and power, which explains its presence in courtrooms and boardrooms. However, black has always had some negative associations (Black Death, anyone?) and often is linked to evil. Can you think of any Disney villain who didn’t have a large presence of black in their wardrobe? Even so, black is linked to seriousness and it is a timeless color. And as an added bonus, it makes you look thinner. And excellent color to don for formal interviews and events. But use with caution, as too much black can be overwhelming

White

A color of purity and cleanliness, white has strong associations with innocence. Its the color of brides (and my readers you know how I love wedding dresses)but also the pristine, sterile halls of hospitals. So if you want to come off as innocent, or just clean and simple, white is always a good bet. Its often breezy feeling is perfectly summery as well. Use it for vacations, relaxed nights out, and to lighten up any outfit.

Brown

Brown is the color of dirt, but its that association that makes it so wonderful. The natural look of this color gives any outfit a nature vibe. Common mood associations with brown are genuineness, sadness or wistfulness. Its a perfect color for relaxed occasions, and days when you feel like reminiscing.

So now we have our neutrals, our base colors if you will, lets expand our color palate. To the primary colors!

Red

A personal association with this color is an English class assignment where we were to find a poem over spring break and write it on a postcard. I somehow got up the nerve to pick this Kim Addonizio poem that starts “I want a red dress/I want it flimsy and cheap.” Red is an intense color, and instantly draws attention to the wearer. Red causes those viewing it to have a faster heartbeat and breathing. So if you need to get people excited, red is the thing to wear!

Blue

One of my favorite colors, blue is associated with peace and tranquility. Blue also has an association with loyalty and productivity, making it a perfect feature color in an interview outfit. Need to crank out a paper? Time to break out your favorite blue outfit! Blue also has associations with nature, especially the ocean, so it pairs perfectly with white and brown adding to those colors breezy and natural feels. However, blue is also associated with the cold and depression, so probably not the best choice on your down days, if you’re looking for a color pick-me-up.

Yellow

Like red, yellow is a hard color to miss. While oftentimes seen as a happy color, yellow can easily become overpowering. However, this color increases concentration (think legal pads) and boosts your metabolism. So if you want to stand out, but aren’t so game on getting people revved up, try on something yellow!

Other colors:

Green

Another color representing nature, green represented fertility in the Middle Ages. Said to be the easiest color on the eye, green is calming and is said to help vision. Dark green can be seen as conservative or wealth. Fun fact: many seamstresses refuse to use green thread before a fashion show, as it it believed to be bad luck. Yet four-leaf clovers are green and lucky! Go figure.

Purple

This color has long been associated with royalty, because dye for purple clothing was very expensive and hard to get. Still today the color is associated with luxury and wealth. Purple is also associated with wisdom and spirituality. Save this color for when you need to look intelligent, or just want to feel a bit spoiled with luxury.

Orange

This is another attention getter! This color exudes energy, enthusiasm and warmth. If you need to appear open and inviting, this is a good color to pick.

So you tell me: What emotions do you associate with your favorite colors?

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

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