“Colors are forces, radiant energies that affect us positively or negatively, whether we are aware of it or not.” – Johnannes Itte
By: Marlene Affeld
Have you glanced in the mirror and questioned why some colors look fabulous on you, making you appear energized and refreshed while others appear to drain you, both mentally and physically? The dramatic visual message of color is integral to how people perceive us. No matter how much money we spend on expensive grooming products, hair styling, or designer apparel, nothing has as much impact on our personal appearance as color.
Research studies indicate that the color a person is wearing is one of the first things others notice. The “right” colors can make a person appear more youthful, thinner and confident. On the other hand, the wrong colors can make us appear tired, older, heavier and just plain “boring.”
Colors have different, ever evolving, meanings in different cultures. Today, in Western societies, researchers find the majority of people, influenced by art and advertising, hold similar perceptions of a diverse array of primary colors.
Black is a color with many different and conflicting meanings. For centuries, black has been the only color consistently associated with evil, darkness and death. That’s why historians refer to one of the most deadly epidemics to ever infect mankind, as the “Black Plague.”
When our minds conjure up images of the devil, Dracula, the grim reaper or the thief-in-the-night, the villain is always dressed in black.
Witches, dressed in black, practice “Black Magic.” Black, a sign of mourning is considered appropriate attire for a funeral. Considered a sign of authority, black is the color of judge’s robes. Black is also a symbol of strength
Black is the fashion statement of militant terrorists worldwide due to its association with dominance, power and control. Hiding behind their masks and hoods, these cowards wouldn’t look near so menacing garbed in pale pink.
Conversely, black also conveys submission. Black is the color clerics and priest adorn to signify submission to a higher power. The classic fashion clique, the “sexy little black dress” is a subtle color signal of submission and availability.
A solid black outfit, unrelieved by a splash of vibrant color, can make the wearer appear distant, unapproachable or dangerous. Fashion conscious men know how a certain colored tie can uplift and energize their appearance, showcase their “baby blues” and compliment that touch of silver in their sideburns.
Black, a fashion power color, elegant, timeless, and appropriate for any season, conveys luxury and wealth; black-tie the preferred dress code for affairs of state, galas and gatherings of the affluent and elite.
Symbolic of truth, trust, purity, peace, and innocence, white is the traditional color choice for christening gowns and wedding dresses. Doctors and healthcare workers wear white, the color of clouds, to convey cleanliness and sterility. The white coat ceremony is a milestone marker in every medical student’s educational journey.
White is the color of surrender, godliness, and goodness. Think of your mind’s conception of angels, doves of peace, the White Knight, or the guy in the white hat.
White reflects light and brightens the complexion. A neutral color that goes with every other color, white implies openness, acceptance, cooperation and approachability.
Neutral, the color of Boy Scout uniforms, leather, wood and the abundance of the warm earth, brown tones connote authenticity, dependability, stability, earthiness, and endurance. Brown is a favorite color of many men and the background of the majority of male wardrobes. Brown can be bland and boring alone but compliments and enriches the complexion when combined with a complimentary color.
Pink has long been considered a feminine color; dainty and delicate. Pretty in pink, a color for little girls, soft and sweet. However, over the past decade, pink has matured into a featured signature statement in men’s shirts, sweaters, ties and accessories. Pink brightens a shallow complexion and offsets yellow skin tones. A non-threatening color, pink is the most romantic of colors imparting a peaceful serenity and tranquilizing effect.
A predominant color in nature, blue, the color of the sea and sky invokes a sense of coolness and tranquility by prompting the body to produce calming chemicals that affect the brain. Blue has many faces and can be cold, dreary and depressing or bold, brilliant and beautiful. Recent workplace studies indicate that test subjects are more attentive and productive in blue rooms.
Blue is the least appetizing of colors. There are few blue foods aside from blueberries. In nature, blue is a caution color that often signifies spoilable, mold or mildew. Many savvy dieters have discovered that serving their food on bright blue dinnerware diminishes their appetite; a simple trick that over time can result in significant weight loss.
Symbolic of royalty and a regal lifestyle, blue imparts confidence and improves concentration. A power color for both men and women, blue is the color recommended by employment consultants to wear to that big interview.
Since the days the Caesars of Roman rulers paraded in robes of purple, the bold color signifies royalty, luxury, sophistication, and wealth. Purple invokes passion and persuasion. Purple warms a shallow complexion but is best avoided by persons with dark circles under their eyes or visible facial veins as purple makes these facial flaws more prominent.
An optimistic color, yellow is a cheerful, attention-getting color reminiscent of sunshine, and happy days. However, yellow can be overpowering and invoke hostility when worn as a solitary color. Color psychology studies show that while yellow focuses concentration, babies living in yellow rooms have a tendency to be fussy, sleepless and cry more. Bright yellow kitchens are often the scenes of domestic violence and research subjects confined to yellow painted rooms were more likely to argue or have outbursts of temper.
The easiest color on the eye, green is symbolic of nature’s beauty and bounty. Money also signifies wealth (greenbacks) and a deep, rich green conveys sophistication and manliness. Green is especially flattering to persons with hazel eyes, redheads, and blondes.
Green means go and suggests fortitude and determination. Green, also symbolic of strength and unity is a favorite color of sports teams and those seeking the adrenaline rush of extreme outdoor activities.
Soft shades of green have a soothing effect on both the wearer and the beholder thereby fostering cooperation, teamwork, and harmonious relationships.
Red is another color that adopts multiple personalities. The color of fire, red is the most emotionally intense color; stimulating a faster cardiac rhythm, anger and aggression. Think about waving a red flag in front of a bull. Red fuels action. Reversely, red means stop and a solid red outfit can be somewhat off-putting and intimidating. Many professional women see red as a positive power color that evokes confidence and raises self-esteem. While red has its positive attributes, red makes the wearer appear heavier and more formidable. Because it is such an extreme color, it may not be the best color to wear when the situation involves some conflict or difference of opinion.
Red, when used as an accent color around the face, promotes a rosy glow and youthful vigor. Forget wearing red on a morning when you are sleep deprived or experiencing the consequences of a night on the town. Red will make bloodshot eyes, and prominent nose veins stand out like neon beacons. Persons suffering from rosacea, acne or other skin irritations should also avoid attention-getting shades of red.
Bright and bold, orange is exceptionally flattering to persons with darker skin. Orange, on of the basic colors of autumn compliment ‘s dark hair and rich skin tones but has a tendency to make blondes look washed out and pale.
Personal Color Analysis
Because color is such an important facet of our lives, a professional Personal Color Analysis is an ideal beauty service that can provide an understanding of the tonal palette of colors and identify those shades that most flatter your hair coloring and skin tone. A color comparison, using fabric drapes, will reveal a unique collection of colors that complement your skin’s natural color composition. Until you seek out a personal color analysis, you are unlikely to discover the importance of selecting flattering personal color choices.
Here’s the best part! Armed with a pocket-sized portable palette of your personal colors, shopping is a breeze. It’s easy to pick the perfect color to showcase your attributes and coordinate with the other items in your closet.