How To Find Your Colour Love
For many women, colour is a tad scary and the thought of dressing in a loudish hue fills them with absolute dread.
This is totally normal and I'm not here to tell you to ditch those thoughts either, as many of us have different ideas and tastes surrounding colour which tie into our wardrobe or style personalities and past experiences.
You know what you like and there are reasons for that which make you you, plus, colour doesn't have to be worn bright and loud anyway.
You might be a lover of the neutral palette and prefer softer subtle colours that don't shout too loud. You might well love earthy rich colours, are drawn to cool brights, pastels or even an eclectic mix of all of the above.
The point is colour is subjective and personal to us because it helps determine our identity, but did you know that it also provides us with emotional connections that help us feel a certain way?
Colour is a language without words. In the living world, it determines what to eat, where to live, what to avoid and for many animals, how to attract a mate.
These powerful subconscious signals have remained, though evolved, in us too and are still as capable, albeit we probably don't realise it as much. The power of colour psychology is used substantially in marketing, interior design and branding to tap into these subliminal messages.
It's said we are only conscious of 20% of the colour decisions we make on a daily basis... So from the clothes on your back to the colour of your morning brew, from the things you buy to the decor of your house, from traffic signals to the wonders of nature, you cannot escape the influences colour has on us.
So let's tap into this positive colour power to help us embrace who we are and how we feel and thus provide some well deserved positivity and subliminal support in our lives... It's time for some colour love ladies....
SO WHAT'S IN YOUR WARDROBE?
When you fling open those doors, what do you see? What's the general overview of your colours? Can you put it into one word? Maybe it's a bright rainbow, maybe it's full of neutrals or maybe you think it's missing something?
Go look at your clothes now and try and pick out what items, based on their visual presence alone, make you feel the following when you wear them....
safe and/or comfortable
Chances are you select these for their very emotive powers every day, not just because they're washed and ironed but more, they're subconsciously reflecting your mood or needs in some way. What colours were prominent for each of your garment selections above?
If it helps, you could also think about places or events you've worn them at which might trigger your memory into context. Say, if you're going to a meeting, a lunch with a client or perhaps a networking event what would be your go-to outfit? It might mean you want to feel professional or confident. What colour is it?
Try to make a mental note of each of your colour powerhouses for the feelings associated with the four word examples I have listed You probably have more, but you can start with those for now.
Ok, so obviously, we also have associations with certain pieces in our wardrobe that provide memories of feeling joy, success, pain and sadness when we wore them and yes, nostalgia has it's powers too, along with cultural symbolism.
However, for this post, I just want to explain how colour taps into us on a different kind of level.
How many times have you felt under the weather or a little less confident and reached for a comfier but darker top or dress to feel safe or melt into the background with?
How many times have you dressed to go to a party with the intention of having a great time or being noticed and picked something sparkly or bright to match your mood?
The key is to try and pick more of the good stuff when you can and be mindful of the feel good factors so that should you need to, you can use it to your advantage, whether at home, work or socially out and about.
If none of your clothes really give you any feelings per se, then maybe its time for a refresh or some help from a pro and a spot of colour analysis? Ahem, winkety wink :)
COLOUR THAT WORKS WITH YOU
I thought it would be useful to give your a few examples of how we can use certain colours to our advantage and why they work, so that we can pop them in our daily tool box and mindfully pick out clothes to suit our mood and needs for the day ahead.
A quick bit about colour psychologoy first;-
Ok, so if you can recall back to your school days and shining that light beam through a glass prism in science class, you'll remember that the rainbow produced was varying wavelengths of light energy. These different wavelength were picked up by the eyes and sent to the brain which then processed and interpreted them into the colours that we see, from red through to violet.
Now, the same part of the brain which interprets all of this information, also works with our emotions which in turn produces certain psychological and/or emotional effects in the process.
For example.think about that feeling of abruptness when you see red ink on a page or your work, the calmness you experience in a lush green forest/meadow or the sinking feeling of a grey day.
In the psychological world of colour there are currently 4 recognised primaries...
RED, YELLOW, BLUE and GREEN and they are deemed to react with us on different levels whether that's emotionally, physiologically, intellectually or provide a balancing act.
As it's February when writing this, I can't ignore the whole love and relationship vibe surrounding Valentines Day.
So here's the thing, Red and Pink are powerful peeps in the colour world. There's been studies done on red and it's effect on men particularly, so if you want to raise their pulse and get them noticing a few things, then red is your go to hue to try in your lippy or outfit.
Red isn't just effective on men, obviously ,if you want to send out those love vibes to anyone it's a winner worn in the right context, but used in other ways, red can also come across as assertive and confident. Therefore, it's great for showing you mean business.
Red is classed as a psychological primary and is said to affect us physiologically, by raising our heart rate and motivates us to take action because it focuses our attention and isn't shy in coming forward. The more harmonious it is with your natural colouring the more of a beautiful statement it makes.
Pink, being a less aggressive form of red (just add white) acts in a similar way but also has it's own super powers on a more empathetic level.
Not only does it emit pulses of femininity and nurturing in softer tones but it can also be strong and empowering in brighter fuchsias or rich berry hues. So if red doesn't rock your boat then try a bit of pink because it's just as effective.
I found it helpful wearing it at a big corporate event I attended and felt the bees knees amongst the sea of grey and blue. I'm very fair so a warm medium pink worked for me.
Some women are not keen on pink because it feels too girly or needy for them but really, as with any colour ,you need to tune into your own colour love and find a tone that you are more contented with in that palette.
What does your red or pink look like for you? And don't say you can't wear red or pink, because you can, you just haven't found the right ones yet?
If you 're feeling a bit "meh" it's a universal fact that going outside and feeling the sun on your face on a warm bright day is a winner though this is blighty, so they're few and far between at the moment. The happy of sunshine and daffodils though on a Spring day for example is an instant mood booster.
Yellow is the most visible colour in the spectrum (emoji power) so packs a punch with your emotions and is also a psychological primary and is deemed to affect our nervous system.
So why do I find many of my clients are not lovers of yellow? Well partly because they feel it's difficult to wear and also because it has links to our self esteem. If you're not a confident person then yellow is that last colour on earth you want to wear to draw attention to yourself.
To feel the positive effects of a bit of yellow it doesn't have to be hi-vis to work, in fact, softer yellows are equally as effective in giving you that uplifting feeling. The key again is to find one that works for you and taps into your personal tastes without being too overwhelming.
It could be a rich mustard or a soft lemon yellow either way, it's a great subtle esteem builder if you use it sparingly rather than head to toe. Too much and it can be irritating on the eyeballs rather than creating that happy glow you're after. So think a pop of colour in an accessory or within a print.
When you think business and seriousness, we tend to think of blue. It's conservative and trustworthy to many people and as another psychology primary, it taps into our mental responses and funnily enough it is believed to curb appetites. In the natural world, blue and food just don't mix.
The intensity of a colour has a bigger impact on our senses of course and blue is the chosen colour for communication and hence many social media companies use it in their logos.
Lots of uniforms are often created in deeper richer blues as it transmits a sense of trust and professionalism in many service based operations.
It's also been found to be successful when you need to focus or concentrate more .
Thinking about your wardrobe, do you often wear darker blues to work or for events that you feel you need a little more professionalism or seriousness, especially if your are in traditional arenas such as finance, technology and the sciences.
On the flip-side, maybe you wear bright or turquoise blues to hone your focus or communication skills at similar events? You might like a pastel to show your cooler more sophisticated side to your personality. This cool paler blue on the silver vixen below looks amazing and yet still impactful!
The last psychological colour primary is green, which provides us energetically with feelings of balance and harmony because our eyes don't have to adjust so much to see it and process it.
It's a colour that provokes the natural senses of calm and the wilderness and in our 'green and pleasant' land we are lucky enough to be exposed to many greens and so the huge spectrum of it can be mimicked in our clothes. You can emit fresh and uplifting vibes in aquas and teals or feel more grounded and serious in olives and mossy greens.
You may well be drawn to your own version of green and it's important to connect with how that colour makes you feel. If it's positive, then wear it more and include it in prints and accessories.
I've only mentioned the four primaries because they are the psychological foundations and thus are the building block of many other colours, orange, purple, pink and so on...
which are mixtures of the properties mentioned .
For example, orange is a mixture of physical red and emotional yellow which leaves us with a zesty and youthful energy. Purple is a powerful and almost spiritual mixture of the honesty of blue and the passion of red.
For more info about the effects of colour see HOW TO BE A COLOUR NINJA
COLOUR MIXING TIPS
Wearing colours on their own or monochromatically is one thing but when you mix them up in your outfits it's even better.
You can harness the powers of each of them by turning up the effects or dialling them down by pairing them with contrasting colours or similar tonal families.
If for instance you wear red and green in some form, the two actually lift each other because of their complimentary effects. Pow!!!
If you choose a palette that has the same depth , undertone or clarity then you will see an impact that can be soft or vibrant, it's totally up to you. Below is a palette of cool and soft pinks, blues and whites of a similar vibe.
You can also choose colours to translate an air of approachability by simply pairing similar softer hues of low contrasts together. Great if you're in the counselling or therapy arenas.
Alternatively, you can emit impressions of authority by wearing high contrasts of colours . This could be useful maybe at presentations, public speaking or management roles.
THOSE MISSING LINKS
Going back to your wardrobe then, are there any colours missing?
If you have a busy or full wardrobe, try arranging your clothes into colours and you'll soon get a pretty clear picture.
There are bound to be those colours which you're always drawn to but never seem to wear or don't have anywhere in your wardrobe, drawers, jewellery boxes or shoe cupboards.
It might be just one of those things you haven't gotten around to looking for , perhaps you think you can't wear it or maybe it could be something deeper.
Maybe you dislike a certain colour because it reminds you of something negative... like being in hospital, your school uniform, a certain dress your mum made you wear or that god awful avocado bathroom suite you remember as a kid.
Can you think of a colour that's maybe present in your house, work or favourite hang out that simply isn't worn?
If so, then it's time to make a conscious decision to allow them in your life. You can start small with a nail colour or a bit of jewellery, it doesn't have to be a grand statement.
There really is so much choice out there that it seems daft to keep wearing the same colours over and over again.
By the way, if you want to dress head to toe in black that's totally fine, but please be aware that any dark, especially matte colours, will work in just the same way. You know....those feelings of safety and looking more svelte.
There are a myriad of neutrals out there ladies that will optically shrink certain areas without having to just rely on black, who knows they might help you feel differently.
So go out there and find your colour love. Try new things and see how they feel. You never know you might find one that fills you with joy every time you wear it.
Here's a fun little video I did with my 14 year old daughter on Tik Tok to show you that colour can be a hoot.
Thanks for reading and see you soon.
If you would like to reconnect with your wardrobe further and learn how to feel more positive about yourself, inside and out, then check out my NEW E-COURSE. You can try Step One for FREE. Click here for more details.