The Power of Color

Black is easy!  Black doesn’t show dirt!  Black makes me look thin?

And most of all black is safe!

Safe for a first date, safe for a day in New York City, safe for meeting your in-laws.

But boring!  And safe.

Black is the absence of color.  

We all love to see beautiful color combinations in prints, patterns, home decor, paintings and more, but to try wearing color combinations — that’s taking color too far!

And boring and safe are NOT memorable  — but color is.

So how do we go about becoming clever about color?  

How do we decide that wearing color is a good thing, a fun thing, a way to be memorable and garner warmth and trust?

Well, let’s start with preferring color!  That is, why not consider the mindset that color is a good idea? And that wearing color an even better idea!  Change always starts with a changed mindset, or at least a determined mindset.

First, here are some reasons to choose to wear color:

  1. To fight depression.  I have anecdotal evidence from my clients that wearing color makes them feel better, and recent research has:

…determined from the [testing] results that there is a possibility that wearing certain clothes can affect emotional states. “The strong link between clothing and mood state suggests we should put on clothes that we associate with happiness, even when feeling low,”

  1. To increase creativity.  Yes, wearing the same black “outfit” every day can allow us to not be distracted by our clothing, our closets or our choices, but when we decide to don color, we are forced — in a good way — to be creative. Clothes in color give us the opportunity to try new combinations, choose how we are feeling that day and match the color to that mood, go bright, go monochromatic, go trendy, go professional using color to create outfits that matter to us — and then to others.

  2. To muster confidence.  Sometimes we have to use our clothing as a resource to help us.  The idea that our clothes can serve us — like our house, car, or money does means that we can decide that wearing a certain color — one that flatters, one that we love, one that we are drawn to — means that we are generating our own confidence.  We are in charge and we can establish our day on a positive note by choosing color over black. Or color over beige, which is, in fact, the hardest color to match.

  3. To create trust.  After we have chosen a color we love and want to wear, we are so, so much closer to creating trust with whomever we come in contact with that day, because we have trusted ourselves. Others can spot and be drawn to the warmth we have created  with ourselves. Our confidence is showing — inwardly and outwardly. No longer are we conforming to what others think of us, or what society or our friends/family say is right for us. We have taken a step (maybe not our boldest, but a step nonetheless) towards our own conviction and reliance on our judgment of what looks and feels good on us.  That spills out and over onto others — the serendipity of wearing color!

  4. To look taller.  (Or shorter— color can help your height worries either way!). Color can and will make you look taller than when you dress monochromatically, because it helps you stand out, rather than fading into the background.  It doesn’t have to be all black. Ever. The psychological impact on others when you get noticed in a positive way emphasizes you, rather than your height. An enjoyable, memorable presence lends itself well to standing out for all the right reasons. And if you’re actually very tall already and would like color to help you scale down your height? Welcoming, vibrant colors put your personality on display, making you more approachable. Tall or short, it’s all about putting the real you out there in a way that represents who you truly are, allowing you to connect with your ideal audience.

So, the questions remain:  how do I wear color, and how do I combine color so that I look stylish and not foolish?

Let’s talk:  my first suggestion, and the one I give to all my audiences and clients is to start with your eye color.  Look very, very close at the colors. You may think “my eyes are brown or blue or green”, but in fact there are many (as in over 20) colors in your eyes.  How about trying on some of those teals and emeralds, sapphires, indigo, peacock, cerulean, olive, seafoam, aubergine, violet, hazelnut, coffee…

If your eyes have many shades of brown — consider finding some purples and blues which are complimentary colors to your eye color.

If you are looking to combine colors, let try some of these combinations:

And let’s NOT try these combinations:

In conclusion, consider being the artist in your own closet.  Consider that you are creative — even if you say you are not — and when you can apply creativity to your OWN closet, it personalizes the creativity and expands on it, giving you the capability to control, influence and take authority over your own wardrobe.

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