“Color is the most important thing for a woman” – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, in The New Yorker, December 2014
Color is more than science, and it’s more than aesthetics. To those we encounter on a daily basis, color communicates different qualities to which emotions are assigned on various levels. Some of these are temporary hints of emotion; some result in being long-term signifiers of your personality.
Fascination with color is everywhere. Think of paintings. Think about your favorite logos – would they still be your favorites if they were shaded in a different color?
Last year, The Atlantic Monthly gave a great nod to the importance of color and its study, and highlighted the brilliantly laid-out app called Interaction of Color, which is based on a book by Josef Albers.
Colors can make us feel older or younger than we are. They can make us feel energetic, or quite the opposite. They can make us feel happy, sad, or indifferent. Colors can physically make our bodies feel hot (ever worn black in the heat of summer?), or cold (ever worn a white jacket in winter, and been asked if you’re warm enough?). Colors can be tested while dressing, to enhance a mood of sweetness or bitterness, which naturally affect the way you perceive yourself, visually and psychologically.
There is much to be studied about color, and stylists should always think of color as more than just variations on a theme in a client’s wardrobe. (In fact, here at SP Image Consulting, our Personal Color Palette reference tool contains 20 personal palettes with color combination charts, and 4 reference color palettes.)
Here are a few pointers to think about when deciding how to interpret color variations that work for you or your clients:
- Light colors are perceived to be more friendly and approachable, while dark colors are stronger and more dynamic
- Light colors move visually outward, and darker colors move visually inward
- Generally, light colors are more gentle while dark colors are perceived to be more severe
- Bright colors send a message of enthusiasm, fun, and excitement
- Dark colors absorb light, and can sometimes seem formal or conservative
- Colors in the middle range (think of “cream”) are perceived as classic and more neutral
- Warm colors are thought of as earthy, friendly, and approachable. Cool colors are thought of as classic, authoritative, and refined.
There’s much more to say about color. What color looks best on you? Why?
Shanna Wu Pecoraro
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