The Romance of Cloths ~ Part II

What Color is Your Pair of Shoes?

We are surrounded with color everywhere we look, but we may not be aware that color can have a real effect upon us. There is an intriguing psychology to color that has been tested in many experiments and research studies, which have concluded that humans experience specific emotions directly related tot he color of the room they’re in, or the color of the outfit worn by someone they meet. Many of us find blue peaceful, and green to be welcoming, for example, while red is exciting and bright yellow can make us uncomfortable (although pale yellow can cheer us up when we’re down). Color is actually really key in choosing clothes that flatter your individual skin coloring and style. Maybe you’ve already memorized the tips in those books that assign the four seasons to different facial and hair colors. We always want to look our best but sometimes we don’t have time to polish ourselves before we face the world. Wearing a flattering color is an excellent shortcut to looking your best, just in case you meet up with that special someone, who won’t notice your unwashed hair pulled into a casual ponytail because they’re too busy being knocked out by how that sage green tank top brings out the grey glints in your eyes and the rosy hue of your cheeks. The colors that are said to be sacred to Aphrodite are pink, pale green and pale blue–these colors also tend to make most women look very feminine and sexy, so try out various shades in these color families to find the ones that work on you.

Beyond the colors that look good on you, there are also colors that make you feel a certain way. We may gravitate towards brighter colors when we’re in an excited or sexual mood, or maybe we want to wear more muted, subtle colors on a more thoughtful day. Maybe you’re a “winter” and are supposed to wear bright jewel tones like red, aqua, violet and magenta. But what if you want to wear a light pastel color more suitable for a “summer?” Just make sure you hold the fabric up to your face in natural light and see how your skin tone looks. Does your face suddenly look pale, or yellowish, or too pink? Then maybe you can wear the item, but you have to put one of your “safe” colors next to your face, like with a scarf, jacket or shawl. Don’t forget winter hats and scarves, too–buy these in colors that flatter your face and hair.

People tend to respond almost instantaneously to color, much more so than to the cut of your jacket or the length of your skirt–so experiment with different colors to find what works. And be bold and dramatic when you can. Redheads, for example will rarely wear pink or red because they think it will look garish, but carefully-chosen shades can create a vibrant and appealing contrast to red, orange or auburn hair. Likewise, brunettes may choose not to wear brown, because it makes their skin look sallow, but some shades of brown can really bring out your skin tones. You can also layer brown with greens or blues (so, a chocolate-brown jacket and trousers with a moss green shirt, or a taupe skirt with a sky blue sweater) to bring out the color of your hair, because this creates an optical contrast that draws the eye towards these opposing colors, that will make people notice your hair. If you have darker skin, you may shy away from cool colors like blue or green, but if you wear clear, vibrant shades like turquoise, indigo or kelly green, these will be far more flattering than muted or pastel shades.

Once you start trying to flatter your skin tones with the colors you wear you’ll find even so-called neutral colors like black, white and grey have subtle gradations of tone or hue that can really affect the way you look. For most women, bright white is too harsh to wear next tot he face, and they look better in soft shades of ivory or off-white, or, for darker skinned or olive-skinned women, cream. Black fabric can be shaded with blue, brown or green tones that can look very different from each other in certain light. Greys can be warm (with brown or yellow tones) or cool (with blue or violet tones), so be sure to select your grey clothing carefully, because this color can be either very flattering, bringing out rosy cheeks or blue eyes, or very dulling (making you look sallow and sick). Remember, you can wear almost any color clothing if you place some item near your face in a flattering color, even a piece of jewelry or hair ornament.

Some women also color-coordinate their make-up to their clothing and this can also make a difference–for example, you might wear a brown shade of lipstick with an olive green top, but that same lipstick color with a black sweater may look washed out, so you switch to a berry shade. There is one color that literally looks good on all women regardless of their skin tone, and that is, believe it or not, pink. But not all pinks are created equal, and there is a wide range of colors in this family, so choose the one that works for you. Brunettes look good in most pinks, but ivory-skinned gals need to be careful with peach tones that have too much yellow in them–if you have blue or green eyes, you should stick with “blue” tones like lavender and rose. Blondes can wear paler pinks but hot magenta might be too overwhelming. Olive or brown-skinned women can wear rose and peach or all hues, but pale pink might wash you out, and blue-toned pinks might not be as flattering as warmer colors.What if you want to wear a color that just doesn’t work on you? Try including these colors in accessories, like bags, shoes or belts. Bright patches of color can really perk up a neutral toned outfit, so go ahead and wear that red belt or those purple boots!

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