The study of color, also known as “chromatics,” might, at first glance, not seem like a fascinating subject (except perhaps for those with artistic inclinations). The truth is that everyone could benefit from knowing about how colors work and, most importantly, the effects that they can have on the human psyche. Color psychology clothing can be an easy way to introduce the positive effects of colors into your life.
Everyone perceives color slightly differently. For example, did you know that different countries have different New Year’s underwear color traditions? Your idea of a nude color will also be different based on your skin tone and which nude shade suits you best. In addition, clothing dyed naturally will likely have more muted tones while clothing colored using low impact dyes can be as vibrant as chemically colored clothing.
All of these details (plus many more that we’ll go over) are important to keep in mind when trying to apply clothing color psychology to your life and wardrobe. Personal, cultural, and practical elements make the journey of using colors to improve your life something that has to be tailored specifically to you. I’m here to help you map it all out, so let’s get started!
WHAT IS COLOR PSYCHOLOGY IN CLOTHING?
Color psychology is the study of how colors affect a person’s mind and mood. This study has been applied to marketing and advertisement for many decades because colors can help convey ideas and make products even more desirable.
There is, however, a personal benefit to incorporating color psychology into your own life through clothing. Color psychology clothing isn’t a field with a predetermined set of rules. There exist many guidelines based on research and observation as well as historical context that suggest the mood a certain color will have on the wearer and people around them. However, the way we experience color is unique to each of us so there’s a lot more that goes into it!
The main idea behind color psychology in clothing is utilizing colors to craft your own narrative. This involves getting dressed with a lot of intentionality. To use color psychology to your advantage you have to consider what you have planned for each day, how you wish to be viewed that day (confident, bold, calm, etc.), and how the colors you’re wearing will affect your own mood.
PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHING COLOR: BRIEF HISTORY
The study of how color relates to psychological functioning likely started with the speculative writing of Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe. In his work, “The Theory of Colors,'' Goethe categorized colors based on his individual emotional response to them. He came up with two categories: “Plus Colors,” where he placed warm colors like yellow and orange that he suggested illicit a positive, comforting response, and “Minus Colors,'' which include cool shades like blue and purple. “Minus Colors” are thought to promote feelings of restlessness and melancholy.
Modern study of the effects of colors is measured in a lot more ways than just observation and speculation. Researchers track things like blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity to determine study participants’ reactions to various colors. These studies have informed our understanding of how colors affect people a lot more thoroughly.
HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR PERSONAL PALETTE
The only way to discover your personal palette is through limitless experimentation.
Start by working with various shades of colors you already feel comfortable in. Expand on that by introducing colors that you’ve always enjoyed on other people. Think about why you were drawn to those colors and the type of energy the people wearing them were exuding.
Furthermore, if there are any colors that have a specific meaning in your culture or family, try playing with them too. Never box yourself into any one set of mood outlines for a given color. What color represents depends heavily on context, culture, and personal preference.
For example, in many Western cultures, white is the traditional wedding color because it signifies purity and innocence (a tradition thought to have originated by Queen Victoria in 1840). In other parts of the world, namely India and China, red is the go-to color for a bride’s wedding attire. In China, red is a color associated with luck, happiness, and prosperity which makes it a positive choice for a bride. In India, red is also known as an auspicious color but it’s also associated with the goddess Durga who represents feminine strength and love.
Your personal history also has a huge effect on how colors make you feel. If you’ve got a negative association with a particular color then it might not matter what context that color is presented in and what emotions it’s supposed to elicit, your reaction to it can be overpowered by your memories. Alternatively, fond memories (like the color of your childhood home or your favorite toy) can make specific colors seem warmer and more appealing.
HOW TO USE CLOTHING COLOR PSYCHOLOGY TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE
You can begin to change your life with color psychology clothing simply by paying more attention to the colors of your outfits. Start by paying attention to how the colors of your clothing make you feel each time you sneak a peek at your reflection.
You can also track your personal response to colors by engaging in some good old people-watching. Take note of which colors (and shades) catch your eye and try to find inspiration for unique color combinations. Try to imagine what the people wearing the outfits are setting out to accomplish that day. Do their outfits make them seem approachable? Do their outfits make them blend into the crowd or command attention?
Once you’ve drafted your own set of color guidelines, it’ll be much easier for you to use colors to your advantage. You can’t always anticipate a different person’s reactions to the colors you’re wearing, so it’s important to always dress for yourself. Our brains tend to go with what we tell them, if we really believe it, so if a particular color gives you confidence or makes you feel calmer or more outgoing, then that will definitely shine through.
THE MOODS OF DIFFERENT COLORS
Now that you have an idea of how to play with color psychology clothing on your own terms, let’s take a quick look at how various colors have been interpreted throughout the years (mostly in regard to fashion). Don’t forget to consider context, culture and personal preference! While you can’t account for a person’s intimate bias towards a certain shade or color, there is a general reaction you can expect toward a given color. Let’s get more intimate with the rainbow!
We’re starting off with the strongest pick of the bunch, in my humble opinion. Green is the color of life. It’s present in hundreds of shades in the most luscious natural spaces. There’s no truly healthy diet without a bit of green on your plate. It’s rare to find green at the center of negative content. Where colors like red and blue are often used to suggest feelings of anger or despair, green is simply too vivacious of a color.
Wearing green can come with the effects of calming down the wearer and anyone interacting with them. It’s a very grounding color and may be able to help recenter you in times of self-doubt and uncertainty. If you feel that green isn’t necessarily your color, you can incorporate its special magic into your wardrobe a little more privately with some signature WAMA green hemp underwear!
Brown is another grounding, natural color. It’s found throughout nature on tree trunks, roots, and the very ground we walk upon. It is, therefore, a symbol of stability and security. I consider brown to be my safety shade (in terms of clothing) the way that a lot of people gravitate towards black. This is because brown is very neutral and easily complimented by all other colors.
Brown is not a color that will have you standing out on its own. Many people consider it to be a dull shade but that makes it perfect for days when you just need to feel chill and balanced. It’s also the perfect color to choose when you need to appear a little more serious and formidable.
If you want to maximize the stable effects of brown, a pair of hipster panties in one of the WAMA brown/beige shades is sure to leave you feeling strong and secure!
Purple is a very mysterious and magical color. It is associated with luxury because, historically, it was very costly to produce and only the wealthy were able to wear it. It’s not a color that has frequent appearances in nature. That makes it less of a stabilizing, grounding color and more of a fantastical anomaly.
Purple is an excellent statement color. Its association with the mystical is sure to make you feel special and unique. It’s an excellent color to wear to a party or as a fun detail in an otherwise serious work outfit. Maybe I lack a wizardly nature because purple is not my favorite color to wear, but I still incorporate it into my style with my beautiful hemp bikini underwear!
Red is most commonly known as the color of passion—like both love and anger! It’s rare for red to be used as a subtle color. It’s often loud, energetic, and attention-grabbing, making it a good color to wear in situations when you want to stand out.
All my ladies probably know that choosing an outfit also involves thinking about the type of attention that outfit is likely to bring you. Adding color psychology clothing to the mix makes things even more complex. For example, a woman in vibrant red still tends to be regarded as a symbol of seduction so it may be a color to avoid if you’re trying to fly under the radar. Alternatively, use that fiery shade to add some spice to your life. Red can be a powerful color to wear on a date (or under your date outfit for a sexy surprise).
Blue is a very loaded color and the mood that can be set with it depends heavily on the intention. In art, blue is often used as a melancholy color. It can incite feelings of desolation and isolation but it can also be a very soothing color. Shades of blue and blue-green can remind you of water, which can incite a calming effect.
Blue has also been seen throughout history as a luxurious or royal color so wearing it when you need to exude a confident and important energy would be a good move!
Oh, yellow! It’s the color of sunshine, what more is there to say? Wearing yellow is known to have a positive, happy effect on the wearer and those around them. It’s a perfect color to wear on warm summer days or to remind you of that glowy warmth on dull winter days.
Because yellow is such a bright and loud color, it can easily become overstimulating. A pop of yellow is a great way to bring life to an all-black or gray outfit but an all-yellow ensemble may prove to be a little much. You shouldn’t fly too close to the sun, after all!
Orange is widely considered a cozy color. In nature, it comes through most strongly during sunrise and sunset, both of which are pretty calm and comforting events. It’s also associated with autumn.
Wearing this color can have a few effects. Bright, zingy shades of orange that resemble citrus or safety vests can have an energetic effect. Softer, burnt shades of orange can provide balancing effects to the wearer.
CONCLUSION: COLOR PSYCHOLOGY CLOTHING
Now comes the best part! You get to play! Put color psychology clothing to the test by experimenting with it.
You may not notice an immediate change and maybe the “magical” effects of these colors won’t ever become apparent for you and that’s fine! However, there’s still something to be said for applying a healthy dose of mindfulness to repetitive, mundane tasks. Treating the daily chore of getting dressed as a moment to check in with yourself will benefit you a lot even if the concept of color psychology is a little lost on you.
How do you feel about the concept of color psychology in clothing? Share your thoughts in the comments and have a beautiful, colorful day!