Does the Color of Your Clothing Affect Your State Of Mind?

Here’s how to determine what to wear according to the colors of the rainbow.

(Victoria Chudinova /

Can the color of your clothes affect your mood? The psychology of colors might not be a hard science, but according to Your Mental Health Pal, mental health and general personality are affected by what you wear: The hues that you don have the ability to make you feel calm and may even soothe the chaos of your life.

There are three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue; and three secondary colors: orange, green, and violet. Together, they make the colors of the rainbow that always appear in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Additional tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary with a secondary color, to produce, for example, aqua or vermillion. 

Choosing your colors
Colors are often referred to as cool or warm, vibrant or muted. Some stylists suggest that skin tone determines the colors that you should wear. According to Fashionbeans, gray, brown, blue, green, and purple look best on skin with cool undertones, while bright or light colors go best with skin with warm undertones. Bold, bright colors look best on skin with neutral undertones. 

Selfridges personal shopper and stylist Daniel Rhone, disagrees. “Personally, I don’t subscribe to a color chart that dictates how you should dress based on your skin tone,” Rhone told Fashionbeans. “Style is, and always has been, about self-expression, and I always advise my clients that if there is a color you like, go and wear it with confidence. That said, it’s worth being mindful of colors that work together.”

The colors of the rainbow
So, what should you know about colors and their ability to affect your mood?

The color red is often associated with anger, love, passion, and power, explains a blog on The Good Trade. These contradictory emotions can also play out when you wear this color. Red will make you feel bold and give a powerful first impression. And it also signifies a love interest. Interestingly, in India, bridal dresses are red.

“In our culture, [red] means new beginnings, passion, and prosperity. Red also represents the Hindu goddess Durga, who symbolizes new beginnings and feminine power,” Ritika Shamdasani, co-founder of the fashion label Sani, told Brides.

Orange is often associated with fall when leaves turn and pumpkins take center stage. This color can be vibrant and can be conspicuous. Wear it when you want to feel happy and energized, or when you’re engaged in physical activity, The Good Trade reports.

The color of the sun suggests that yellow is associated with brightness, warmth, and energy, and with spring and summer. It is the one color that is often shunned in fashion because it can make your skin look sallow. Science of People reports that yellow is unstable and can project weakness or excessive energy at the office. Interestingly, a recent campaign from high-profile black women actors and singers has brought yellow back with a vengeance. 

Green is associated with luck as in a four-leaf clover, or envy but also with nature and safety, says The Good Trade. Green may be the ideal color associated with meeting new people or starting a new project. It is also an approachable color so wear it when you want to feel grounded or renewed.

Though blue is often associated with being sad, blue also represents stability, productivity, and calm, according to The Good Trade. Wear blue for confidence and for lessening anxiety in high-stress situations. Count on blue to calm you down.

Traditionally one of the most costly colors to produce, purple is often associated with wealth, royalty, mystery, and imagination. The first shade of purple was created by harvesting mucus from the shell of a Bolinus brandaris sea snail, according to Hunter Lab, heating it in an alkaline solution, then exposing the cloth dipped in this solution to sunlight. Wear purple when you want to stand out, feel unique, or make a statement. Purple conjures mystery and the fantastical The Good Trade reports.

Additional colors
The first color associated with life on earth is pink, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Researchers drilling for oil shale deposits found bright pink pigments in 1.1 billion-year-old rock fossils. These days, pink is intimately associated with girls and femininity, though in the early 20th century, pink was considered a strong color and reserved for boys, The Good Trade reports. Think romance, kindness, and nurturing. Wear pink if you want to connect with someone. Pink can be playful and bring depth to your interactions.

Regarding black and white, there is a notion that white is not a color but rather a combination of all colors, Adobe reports. White is sometimes regarded as "colorless" despite being a combination of all colors, for example, in the context of painting, white is the surface of the canvas that is left unpainted. The absence of all light radiation creates black which is also seen as "colorless." Similarly, black is considered to be the sum of all colors when different pigments are combined to create a dark stain.

Black is associated with mystery and elegance while white is often thought of as peaceful, innocent, and empty, explains The Good Trade. Wearing black makes you feel strong and assertive while wearing white conveys newness and purity. Wear them separately or combined.

Dressing for success
With colors, you take our cue from nature, and as you dress for work or an outing, or another special occasion, you plan your outfits carefully to convey our thoughts and feelings to the people we’ll interact with.

“As virtual worlds become a more prominent part of our daily lives, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real. Invoking the forces of nature galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength,” Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains on their Website.

When it comes to dressing for success—or luck or intimacy or boldness—clothes do make the man or woman!

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