Color in Fashion: How the Colors You Wear Affect You

(And how to use the power of color to change your life.)

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Color in Fashion: How the Colors You Wear Affect You

Wondering how color in fashion affects your mood? The colors we choose to surround ourselves affect us more than we think. As a society, we associate colors with so many different things – they have meanings beyond simple visual stimulation.

Some studies even suggest that we feel colors more than we see them.

You probably know that interior designers use color to create different moods in different rooms – to inspire, energize, or calm. Why not apply that concept to your clothes? Channel some of the power of color into your outfits and see what happens.

Here’s a rundown of all the most popular colors, what they signify, and how you can use them to your advantage in your outfits.

Red

Red fashion style

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Want to get someone’s attention? Red is your color! The color red empowers and draws attention to the wearer. It’s also strongly associated with romance and passion, making it a perfect date-night color. But be careful – it’s also been said that red stimulates the appetite and makes us hungry for junk food, so wear with caution if you’re trying to eat healthier.

Orange

Orange dresses, two piece, mini dress

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Like red, orange draws attention and energy, but unlike intense red, it’s a little more soothing. While orange is a difficult color for some skin tones to pull off, orange will help put you in a positive, energetic mood if you have the coloring to work it.

Yellow

Yellow dress, yellow crop dress

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Sunny shades of yellow are the perfect thing to cheer you up on a bad day, so if you’re feeling down, wearing yellow could help perk you back up.

Yellow is also associated with intelligence and inspiration, so wearing something yellow on the day of your big exam might help you come up with some extra answers.

Green

Green Romper, Green Midi Dress, Green Tank, Green Button-Down

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Shades of green are calm and soothing and associated with nature and the outdoors which represent a perfect addition to our color in fashion list. That’s why green is such a popular spring shade. Green is also refreshing and has been found to reduce stress in those who look at it.

Green can be another tricky color to pull off, so be sure to experiment until you feel comfortable!

If you’re feeling really overwhelmed during finals week, add green to your outfit and you might feel more relaxed.

Blue

Blue Off-Shoulder Dress, Blue Midi Dress, Blue Mini Dress, Blue Jeans

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Blue is a color that can be both peaceful and calming as well as cold and standoffish. If you’re feeling really stressed out, the color blue can help you feel more relaxed.

If you’re sad, however, you might want to steer away – the color blue can subconsciously make you feel more “blue.” Studies also show that blue can make you more creative, so if you want to channel some genius for your art project, wearing blue might be able to help. It can’t hurt, right?

Purple

Purple Bodysuit, Purple Midi Dress, Purple Magenta Mini Dress, Purple Lavender Mini Dress

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Regal and sophisticated, purple is associated with creativity and luxury. Like red, purple is a very stimulating color that can boost your energy level when you see it.

It’s also a color that’s sometimes associated with spirituality and intuition, so if you’re having trouble making a decision, wear purple and see what comes to you.

Pink

Pink Floral Midi Dress, Pink One-Shoulder Dress, Pink Bodycon Midi Dress, Pink Cami Top

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Of course, we all know pink as the true girly girl’s favorite color, but it’s also associated with romance and happiness. Pink is very calming, so don’t wear it if you need tons of energy. A must include in your list of color in fashion.

Because of its romance association, pink is a good choice for a date. You can also wear it anytime you’re a little bummed out for a boost. Of course, if you personally hate pink, then that won’t work for you.

White

White Maxi Dress, White Bodysuit,
White Mini Dress, White Two-Piece Set

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Missing summer on a cold day? Wear white! It reflects light and reminds us of sunnier days. It’s also associated with peace, innocence, simplicity, and cleanliness.

In Japan, white carnations mean death – who knew? Wear white when you want to bring out any other colors you’re wearing – it livens up anything you pair with it.

Black

Black Maxi Dress, Black Bodysuit, Black Mini Dress, Black Blazer

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If you’re going for a promotion at work or interviewing for a new job, you might want to wear black – it signifies power, seriousness, authority, and responsibility, all qualities your boss is likely looking for.

Outside the office, black is also a color that will give you some rocker-chick edge. If you’re shy but want to feel like a badass one day, some black nail polish should do the trick!

What do you think?

These are just some ideas for new ways to think about color in your wardrobe – obviously, they aren’t steadfast guidelines that you should plan your outfits around every day.

What do the colors above mean to you? Does your mood affect the colors you wear? What do you think about the correlation between colors and mood? Leave a comment and let us all know your thoughts.

For more color in fashion tips and ideas, you might want to consider the related post below –

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2009; it was completely updated and revamped in 2022 with new photos, outfit sets, and information.

30 thoughts on “Color in Fashion: How the Colors You Wear Affect You”

  1. I love wearing green, but I realised that I don’t have many red things. I think this is a great post and is inspiring me to wear other colours.

    Reply
  2. Hi! I love all the post – its so true about colours and mood! I was wondering if I could have some advice. I’m wearing a yellow dress to prom but I have no idea what colour accessories to wear. Shoes are my biggest issue – both style and colour. I’ve looked at white and silver but they seem a bit tacky. I live in the UK and my prom is in June – any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you 😛

    btw – this is the dress http://www.monsoon.co.uk/content/ebiz/monsoon/invt/45030736/45030736_F_m1.jpg

    Reply
  3. Hi Zephyr, I’m curious to hear what you think about brown — that’s my usual staple neutral (the way most people wear black, and some wear gray) and I’m totally addicted. It’s so soft and vaguely hippie! But lately people have been mentioning that it doesn’t seem so professional. Should I not be wearing it to interviews/work? What kind of emotions/image does it connote? I’m so curious, the answers could have a big effect on my whole wardrobe!

    Reply
  4. Aaaaarghhh! I was interested in this subject and saw here it’s for chicks! I don’t own dresses or handbags, I’m alpha male, not transexual! Haaaahaahah!

    Reply
  5. Thanks for such informative article on colors. I always feel that I would pick colors by what my mood is. And I could see my mood and the color associated in this article. Good information about colors. Generally I would choose dark colors when I am kind of low energy and I pick bright and light colors when I am full of energy. I am not sure, If I choose a bright and light color on my down day would help me anyway?

    Reply
  6. I personalty like MyCloset ( app) by Mamoru Tokashiki. to manage my closet. From now own I will manage my closet by the color : ) Will get my mood on the go : )))) Great article! Thank you.

    Reply
  7. viva – ooh lovely dress, I’m sure I’ve seen pix of Kate Moss in something similar – if you have similar colouring then you could look up what she wore with it. If you have dark skin then you could go for a stronger contrast eg turquoise coloured accessories, shoes etc.

    Silver might work if it was chrome and a bit spiky or studded, to add a sort of tougher contrast edge to the very floaty dress.

    I’d always say use fewer rather than too many accessories – one stunning one is great eg a fabulous choker but no bracelets & just one cocktail ring.

    Actually even if you are paler I’m liking the bright turquoise blue idea. More high-fashion than plain black accessories, unless you go for a haute goth-y look for the rest of the accessories e.g. jet choker, black strappy very high platform sandals (e.g. the Louboutin copies), black cocktail ring, black feathered bag or feathered shoulder cape. Black nail polish (short nails) and heavy black smoky or winged eyeliner, probably pale/nude mouth.

    Hope that’s a few useful ideas! would love to see you post a polyvore set of what you decide on!

    Reply
  8. Great post! Thanks!

    I’d love to see a post about working in retail. I am really hoping to get a job in retail this summer and would appreciate any advice you might be able to offer. I have no experience in working retail but I am eager to learn! Interviewing tips (what to say and wear), who to contact (and how often!) after turning in the application, and how to an excellent job once hired would be incredibly helpful. I would appreciate any advice! 🙂

    Reply

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