Everyone is attracted to certain colors and without realizing it, likely have a certain color that shows up more often than others in their wardrobe. Different cultures attach meaning to colors and even subcultures are attracted to various colors to represent different stages of life, celebrations, mourning, etc. While people are generally aware of some of the obvious associations with color in their own culture, they may not realize how color can bring up deep emotions in people or represent a mood or personality. This article is not meant to tell you what each color means or how color can spin your fashion statements, but rather to give you some basic guidelines to help you to assess how color is impacting the way you represent yourself in the world and perhaps, even the way you feel about yourself!
Have you ever noticed that your prominent color choice for clothing may have changed over the years? Or maybe your decorating style in your home has shifted to a different palette. Think about the changes in yourself and how these things may be related. Perhaps you loved to wear black as a teenager when you were feeling down about things and dealing with the trials of high school and teen years. Or maybe you liked to wear pastels because you felt feminine and light hearted, as if every day was the first day of spring. Your first dorm room may have been full of wild colors and polka dots while your first apartment was more refined, with earth tones or well-placed accent walls with colors that carefully melded with the room. These changes may have reflected your desire to go from “young partier” to “sophisticated adult”.
One good example of how color has been defined through the years can be seen in western culture. In times of mourning, every member of a household was required to don the color black to represent their deep mourning and perhaps the darkness of night. This is obviously a cultural choice because eastern culture went the opposite route, with white being the color of mourning. However, the choice of the color black to represent sadness and loss in western culture was strongly preserved and may still impact our choices in clothing. As time has gone by, the color has lost much of its sad history and has been embraced as a sophisticated choice that has a slimming effect. However, there is still a concept that we hold deeply that dark colors are for serious events. In general, you will not find an attorney in a court room wearing a light yellow suit or a bank owner wearing a bright pink jacket. Dark colors are considered to be more serious, somber, and sophisticated.
Red is a color of celebration in eastern culture, with red being the color of a traditional wedding dress. This color is known to be more aggressive, causing one to feel more alert and alive than many other colors. It is still a color that people wear to gain attention, which may be why it was a primary color choice for women of the night’ in the past. Now it is known to be an invigorating color that can lift spirits and draw people to you.
Orange is similar to red, but with a twist. Color personality tests link this color to people with high energy, great drive, and quick decision making. If you want to show yourself as a person who may not always be organized, but will always be fun; this is the color to wear! Orange isn’t a stuffy color in any culture! Perhaps it reminds us of brilliant sunrises and warm sunsets over a tropical beach and so it brings to mind lively energy and warmth.
Blue is a favorite of many and rightly so. The color of the sky and ocean bring a sense of continuity, reliability, tenderness, and longevity. This color wears well on a person who can be counted on. You will find many businesses using the color blue for their corporate color because it engenders a sense of trust and a peacefulness that can draw people looking for a safe harbor.
Green is a trickier color that can mean different things to different people. While it is commonly a color of stability and life because of the grass and trees in the world of nature, some people have grown to equate green with other things in our age of industry and information. Songs about green things used to be rural in an idealistic way, but sometimes you will hear songs now about green and they are talking about money. Either way, it is a sign of growth, wealth of some sort, and abundance. You may be attracted to the color of green when your world is expanding and you are coming into your own sense of plush plenty.
White means many different things across the world. As mentioned before, it is a sign of mourning in the eastern world but a sign of innocence in the western world. Brides and babies being baptized are often found wearing elaborate white garments to show their innocence and purity. While the traditions have lived on past the social injunction to use the color white to display a promise of virginity, the color white still brings a feeling of crisp simplicity to a person’s wardrobe. It is a color that makes one feel new and bright. Let’s not forget the practical benefit of the color white keeping one cooler on a hot day! That may not say much about your personality other than the fact that you are smart enough to wear white when you’re going to be out in the sun for long!
Purple and pink are lovely colors that had been associated with femininity for years, but have recently been embraced by more and more men. Purple has always been a sign of royalty and does have a regal depth of color that draws attention in a more subtle way than the color red does. Its link to flowers, grapes, and berries lends a sense of richness that can help the wearer hold their head a bit higher. Pink is a shade that screams of romance and love. Unlike red, colors of this color scream to be touched without losing that touch of sweetness and innocence.
As you can clearly see, colors can tell your story. Take a quick peek into your closet to see what it is telling you about yourself today!