The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

So, you have a closet full of clothes and can’t decide what to wear? Color psychology to the rescue!

Instead of thinking about outfits in terms of style, have you ever thought that color might be more effective? Even as far back as 1974, researchers have found that colors can greatly affect our moods and the way other people respond to us. Amazingly, researchers Keith Jacobs and Frank Hustmyer discovered colors can even change our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

color ties cover The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Here are the best colors to wear for every mood, situation, and activity:

Be Sexy: Red

Red is the color of passion and gets blood pumping. Women can wear this to get their date’s heart racing and feel their own sensuality. The amount of the color you wear should be directly proportionate to how much passion you want to be felt. For example, if you really want a hot night, wear a red dress and red heels – yowser! If you aren’t sure how the date will be, or perhaps someone has tricked you into a blind date, throw on a red scarf; you can always tuck it into your purse if the date goes sour.

purple coat The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Classy: Purple

Plum, maroon, lavender, or any shade of purple are the colors of luxury, sumptuousness, and comfort. Of course, we thought of everything here at Plum Deluxe when choosing our name and color – we are all about luxury! Purple also reminds people of royalty, and it’s the color of magic. If you are going to a fancy-shmancy party or on a date with a high roller, grab that purple coat and call it a night.

yellow shirt resized The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Positive: Yellow

Yellow is the happiest of all the colors and usually stimulates joy. It is the color of sunlight and reminds us of all of our favorite childhood memories: yellow picnic baskets, yellow slides, and yellow French fries. If you want to be cheerful or keep up your positive feelings, wear a yellow or gold shirt or dress.

orange skirt The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Energetic: Orange

Orange is a color of stimulation and enthusiasm and is a nice mix of red’s passion and yellow’s joy. Research has found that orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an energizing effect, and stimulates brain activity. This is why it is great to wear on hikes or to the gym. Find an orange sports bra or some orange sneakers, and you will be bursting with energy for your workout.

blue The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Smart: Blue

Blue is the most stable color and reminds us of wisdom and loyalty. This is because blue reminds us of the sky, which is a constant force in our lives – thank goodness the sky never falls! If you are going to a job interview or a big meeting, blue will make you feel wise and can calm and relax your nerves.

black dress The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Powerful: Black

Researchers examined statistics from more than 52,000 National Hockey League games and found that teams were penalized more for aggression while wearing black jerseys. This is because black is the most powerful and mysterious color. If you need to be taken seriously as a leader or at an event, black is a great color to wear. Suits with a pop of one of the colors above are also a great choice because you show power with a splash of personality.

green dress The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Be Youthful: Green

Green is the color of nature and therefore is refreshing and reduces anxiety. It is also the easiest on the eyes. If you want to be seen as youthful, green is a lively, but fresh, color. Remember, you do not have to wear all green, but could wear a green accent like a green headband and purse with a black dress.

grey The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

Blend In: Grey

You know when you have those days that are just blah. Maybe it’s that time of the month, or you are feeling like you might be coming down with something. If you want to take it easy and blend in a bit, grey is the color for you. This is because grey inspires people to be more passive and is a lower energy color. So save it for a rainy day; literally, save it for those rainy days that you just want to stay home.

Choosing the color of your clothes should not be taken lightly as colors do affect our moods and how others perceive us. However, colors are not the only thing that affect us; one can still be efficient in a grey suit or work out well in a black outfit. But, when given the choice, picking a color that will work with you, and not against you, can only help.

Citations:
Jacobs, Keith W. and Frank G. Hustmyer Jr. (1974), “Effects of Four Psychological Primary Colors on GSR, Heart Rate and Respiration Rate,” Perceptual and Motor Skills, 38, 763-66.
Color Wheel Pro. Accessed: October 31, 2012. http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/
University of Hawaii at Hilo; The Psychology of Color; Kalyan N. Meola; 2005
“Effects of Office Interior Color on Worker’s Mood and Productivity.” Nancy K Wallek, Carol M. Lewis, and Ann S. Robbins. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1988, 66, 123-128.
Birren, F. (1978). Color & Human Response. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Inc.
Mahnke, F. (1996). Color, environment and human response. New York: Wiley.
Mahnke, R. & Mahnke, F. (1993). Color and Light 1993. New York: John
Wiley & Sons.
Webster, G., Urland, G., & Correll, J. (2011). Can Uniform Color Color Aggression? Quasi-Experimental Evidence From Professional Ice Hockey Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3 (3), 274-281 DOI: 10.1177/1948550611418535

Photo Credits: clarita,  Rob Lee, ckaroli, AnnaVirginia, avlxyz, University of Salford, Troy B Thompson

  

The Psychology of Color: How to Choose What to Wear

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