Telling a story through colour
In fashion each season has its colours. Trends influence the selection of the colours in clothing stores, and in our wardrobes. Each colour has its own name, such as an electric shade of blue called ‘AI Aqua’ that will be trending in 2021. This colour is often described as a positive hue that triggers feelings of clarity and is both sporty and fashionable.
We also have our own favourite colours. We tell stories through the colour choices that we make daily. Have you noticed how colours can evoke feelings and affect our moods?
We can also use colours when we want to make a certain impression, whether this is done consciously or unconsciously. You might choose a different colour when you want to connect to a youthful audience or when you want to strengthen the trust of an elderly audience. My lawyer friend once told me that she chooses the color of her suit or dress in court depending on the case.
Even though we all have our own interpretations and preferences, colour can have different meanings across cultures and geographies. For example, a traditional Western bride would wear white, whilst the preferred bridal colour in India is red, and a Moroccan bride’s dress is often green. There is also the study of colour psychology, which suggests correlations between colour and human behaviour.
The colour of your clothes can impact how others perceive you as they view you through their own associations. Choosing the optimal colours for the occasion can help you to stand out from the crowd or blend into it.
Let me share some of the most common associations for primary colours in the West. As you read through them, I invite you to reflect whether these descriptions match your personal meanings.
Yellow is associated with sunshine and therefore many connect it with happiness, cheerfulness, positivity, and optimism. It can boost energy and enthusiasm.
“The colour red is often linked to passion, energy, and excitement. It can capture attention like no other colour. This might explain ‘the red dress effect’ in which a person wearing red is perceived to be more sexually attractive than when wearing other colours.” – Katja Rusanen
Blue is the colour of trust and loyalty. It often has a calming and peaceful effect, perhaps because it reminds us of the blue sky that is often associated with no worries. However, this depends on its hue, as it can also have negative associations such as coldness. And we also have the saying ‘feeling blue’.
Three secondary colours tell their own stories
Green is highly connected to nature, health, and growth. It also carries some negative associations, such as the saying ‘green with envy’. This is synchronistically the colour of American dollar bills, which were given a green design for practical reasons. Green also symbolises stability that is often linked to finance.
As orange is a combination of yellow and red, it radiates the warmth that comes from yellow, and the energy of red. It is considered a vibrant colour that encourages creativity, adventure and enthusiasm.
Purple is associated with spirituality, wisdom and imagination. It can inspire us to explore our thoughts and support us on the path of spiritual growth. It is also considered a royal colour, and connected with luxury. This might be because it is relatively scarce in nature.
Yes, we truly can use the colour of our clothes to tell a story. Next time you open your wardrobe, consider what kind of story you’d like to step into, or what statement you’d like to make, and choose accordingly.
Article: Katja Rusanen
Photography: Pantone / YSL / Valentino / Venturelli / Contributor / WireImage / Getty Images