Set The Tone With Color

Colors are emotional. They can express, reflect and affect your moods. You can use color to express how you feel, change your disposition, or influence the way others feel in your presence.

Color can embolden a shy person, calm an anxious person, or excite a quite crowd. Here are some general themes associated with each color so you can choose colors to help yourself and others navigate sticky situations or enjoy experiences more fully. Tips for incorporating color into your outfits are included at the end.

The Colors

Red increases heart and respiration rate. It’s aggressive, grabs attention, intensifies emotions and stimulates conflict. Wearing red with black or white intensifies the harshness of the color and makes it more aggressive, dominant, and demanding (this combination is great for sports). To make red friendlier, pair it with brown or gray or wear it in a feminine fabric and style.

Burgundy embodies security, safety and gives the impression of richness, elegance, and luxury. The color itself is very safe, so traditional combinations such as black, gold, or cream, can easily become boring. To keep your look fresh, choose updated styles or pair it with brown, gray or white.

Rosy Pink feels innocent and dreamy and stimulates trust and acceptance. The color itself is soft, so pairing it with cream and gray or choosing feminine prints and ruffly styles will make it feel even more delicate. To maintain strength in the look, pair it with black or brown, choose tailored styles, or choose high-tech fabrics.

Coral embodies vitality and stimulates exuberance and courage. The color is bright, so mixing it with high-contrast colors like white, black, brown or other bright colors will intensify the exuberant quality. To calm it down, mix it with cream, beige, gray, or olive or choose feminine fabrics and styles.

Orange literally says rescue and safety and stimulates optimism, confidence, and tolerance. Wearing it with brown or black turns it into a Halloween costume. Pairing it with white, gray, tan, navy or denim makes it work for real life.

Peach feels peaceful and inviting and stimulates relaxation. Maintain the soothing feeling by pairing it with tan, gray or other soft colors. To toughen it up, wear it with brown, black, or choose tailored or masculine styles. Make peach luxurious by mixing it with gold and choosing sensuous fabrics.

Yellow is welcoming and energizing and stimulates communication, wisdom, and intellectual clarity. Wearing it with black can turn it into a bumble bee costume. Pairing it with white makes it crisp while gray, tan, brown or denim calm it down.

Green is the easiest color for the eye to see. It feels restful and renewing and stimulates harmony and healing. Bring out the natural feeling by pairing it with brown, beige, or gray. Bright colors and white bring out green’s renewing qualities.

Forest Green is conventional and evokes prudence and traditional values. Traditional pairings such as black, gold, or cream, can easily make you vanish into the background. To keep your look modern and visible, choose updated styles or pair it with brown, gray or white.

Teal is refreshing and effervescent and stimulates rejuvenation. Mixing it with white or bright colors or choosing high-tech fabrics magnifies teal’s ebullient qualities. Pairing it with softer colors brings out its exotic, care-free and soothing character.

Dark Blue is dignified and strong and inspires reliability, trust, and faith. Classic pairings like white or cream or masculine styles feel authoritative. Unexpected pairs such as brown, gray, or other colors and feminine styles feel lighter and more spiritual.

Light Blue reduces blood pressure and is soothing and steadfast. It encourages integrity, patience and contentment. Light blue is a neutral and can be mixed with any color. Pairing it with black, brown or other dark colors encourages a feeling of integrity. Mixing it with gray, tan, or other light colors brings out it’s restful and cooling qualities.

Purple is magical, joyful, and regal and stimulates intuition and loyalty. Mixing it with neutral colors brings out the strength while mixing it with other colors brings out the joyful and magical nature of the color.

Magenta is energetic and daring and stimulates action. Mix it with brown, tan, or gray to mellow the impact, mix it with black, white, or other bright colors to pump up the intensity.

A Note About Neutrals

Brown is a warm and friendly alternative to black. Use brown to create a modern, natural, or relaxed look.

Gray a soft alternative to black. Use gray to create a modern or soothing atmosphere.
Tan works well in warmer seasons. Use tan to soften a color or make an outfit more casual or classic.

White is crisp and clean. Wear white to intensify a color or make an outfit more exuberant.

Cream is soft and classic. Wear cream to make an outfit more feminine or conservative.

Black is the most common neutral color. Wear it to intensify an emotion or create a formal, harsh or judgmental impression. Black can be softened by feminine styles or soft fabrics.

Wearing & Mixing Color

The colors you wear will affect you and the people around you. When you wear big blocks of color, such as a suit or dress, you will have a major effect on your mood and dominate the mood of your group. Small accents of color, like accessories or jewelry, will have a more subtle effect.
Here are some other ways to intensify or soften the effect of a color:

– Soften a color by wearing it with gray, tan, or brown.
– Strengthen a color by wearing it with black, white, or cream.
– For a creative and spontaneous impression, mix several colors with several neutrals. Bright or contrasting colors will intensify the impression.
– For a safe and traditional impression, wear one color with one neutral.
– For a warm and friendly feel, wear fabrics with a texture that feel good to the touch.
– For a gentle and laid-back feel, wear feminine styles and flowy fabrics
– For a severe and formal feel, wear tailored styles or shiny fabrics

Let me know what you tried and what worked for you! Contact Sarah at (713) 686-8587 or

© Sarah Shah, Imagine Unlimited 2008, All Rights Reserved

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