Color is an extremely powerful force in our lives.
Color affects our mood. It affects how food tastes to us. It affects how and what we buy. The color of the pills we take can even affect the efficacy of the medication within. That is what a powerful psychological effect color has over us.
Not only is color a potent communication tool, but it’s also a nuanced one. We are capable of perceiving a huge number of colors, each one arousing a slightly different feeling in us.
Perhaps you can’t articulate why a certain shade of apricot feels good to you, but a slightly yellower shade does not. Somewhere deep within your mind, a combination of biology, culture, and context makes that decision before you are even aware of it.
It creates a visceral, physical response that you experience as emotion.
Color is a language
Designers and artists use color as a language to tell a visual story. Because of it’s variety and emotional impact, it’s an extremely effective tool.
You can do the same thing. By developing a palette, you create an outward expression of the moods, feelings, and reactions that you want to convey. And those feelings are unique to who you are, because no one experiences color in exactly the same way you do.
[image: The White Pepper]
There are a lot of systems out there for finding out which colors suit you, the most well-known being the Color Me Beautiful system of seasons that advises specific palettes depending on your coloring.
If these systems are helpful for you, I think that’s great! I know some people swear by this, and I’m sure it’s very helpful.
But for my part, I think color is too subjective and emotional to leave to anyone else’s preferences. I don’t care what supposedly suits me as much as I care how I feel in and around a color. Because color has so much power over our moods, I’d rather create those moods for myself.
[image: The Designers Co-op]
Your color story
Today, I want to focus on your feelings about color.
Undoubtedly, there are colors that you feel naturally drawn to. Some colors just make you happy, some feel exciting, others make you feel calm and peaceful.
What we’re going to do today is start collecting those colors. Don’t worry about how to incorporate them into your wardrobe yet. We’re going to get to that next week. For now, just think about what you love and what you wear.
- Review the words you came up with, along with your style moodboard or inspiration. Begin pulling out the colors you associate with these words and images. To do this, you can list the color in text form (“ballet pink,” “scarlet red,” etc.) or use a color picking tool like the palette in Photoshop. Or, see the resources section below for more color tools you can try.
- Look over your closet and the colors you wear. Add these into your collection of colors.
Look over your fabric stash too. What colors do you see most represented? Often these are the colors you are most drawn to (for me, it’s a lot of neutrals, pinks, and blues).
My Favorite Colors
Here is the palette I came up with, as an example. It includes colors that I love to death (shades of warm pink and oceanic blues) and colors I feel really good wearing (black, ivory, wine, camel) along with other colors I’m just drawn to. You can see these colors popping up in the images here from my core style board.
I ended up with 20 colors, which I think is a good number for me. You can do more or fewer if you like. This is really just another chance to play and explore your own tastes.
Next week, we’re going to organize these colors and figure out how to make them wearable.
There are a lot of interesting tools out there you can use to start thinking about color.
- Kuler is a web-based tool from Adobe that helps you create palettes. Playing around with the color wheel is fun and can help get you going.
- COLOURLovers is another great site for creating and playing with palettes.
- Color Collective is a gorgeous blog with tons of palette inspiration.
- Why not take a trip to the hardware store and pick out some paint chips? Then you’ll have something physical to hold onto as well.
What colors make you feel really good when you wear them?
For me, it’s black, tan, and shades of muted and warm pink. I love a good coral.