Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fashion Focus: The Psychology of Wearing Color

 by Jackie Walker

In the past my career as a buyer had me searching the markets for the color of the season. Then there was only one hemline and one special color that was the focus of fashion. Today there may be more lengths and colors yet the true personal choice lies within the feelings of the woman wearing the cloth.

The Comfort of Color

Yes it is true that emotions play a big part in a woman’s shopping experience. Through the years I have found that women fall into two categories. They are either what I call “Neutral/Neutrals” or “Color Oriented.” The Neutral/Neutrals wear only black, black, and more black Neutral/Neutrals also wear navy, maybe denim or khaki, and some more black. The Color Oriented women fill their “Crayola” closets with brights. Each never strays from these fashion equations. Some women say to me that they love color in their homes and yet not on their body. Others will have stark minimalism in their abodes and yet color their bodies with constant sunshine. I have found that it is all about the comfort of living within your clothes.

Mary’s Story

My client Mary bemoaned to me during our “Closetology” session that she wanted to modernize her image. She had gone out and purchased bright suits to wear for her executive career. Recently she had worn one of those suits and walked to the front of the room to deliver a very important speech. Speaking was second nature to her and yet this experience was different. She seemed to feel out of sync and kept losing concentration. Why did this happen? She concluded that wearing this bright suit was out of place with her comfort zone. The color made her feel as if there were visual noise between her and the audience. She was complimented many times prior to the speech on her attire and yet it didn’t matter what anyone said. What was important was what she felt. A week later Mary called to say that she had just delivered another speech wearing her beige silk suit and was a complete success.

Your Story

What colors do you love? Make a date with yourself. Walk into your closet and ask yourself these ten questions.

1. What are my favorite pieces?
2. Why are these my favorite pieces?
3. What are the colors of these pieces?
4. Do you see a pattern in your selections?
5. Which pieces have given you inner confidence?
6. Which pieces are hanging there with tickets still attached?
7. What colors are those pieces?
8. Why haven’t you worn these pieces?
9. Did you buy them for fashion or for you?
10.  Are you a Neutral/Neutral or a Color Oriented woman?

This exercise will help you to purchase items that will be in harmony with you not some trend report. Today there are so many choices that we as women can be more of who we are and that leads to more self-expression. It’s all wonderful when it’s you!

Tip: If you are a Neutral/Neutral and want to add a color punch to your palette do it with a layering piece, wonderful tops, or in your accessory world, shoes or handbags.

Tip:  If you are a Color Oriented woman have fun with all your choices. Be very careful to balance the color choices so the clothes are not wearing you.

One More Tale

On another occasion Bobbi wanted me to take her shopping. As we entered the department store, she cautioned me with these words, “Don’t let me buy any more black suits, pants, or anything.” Color was everywhere for the spring season. Every magazine guided us to display ourselves in these amazing choices. Three hours later as we reviewed the options that Bobbi loved she looked at me and said “You can’t have too many black pants, suits or tops can you?”

Celebrate Yourself

Create your very own personal fashion trend by knowing who you are on the inside and dressing for it on the outside. This will truly bring the harmony of positive emotional dressing into your life.

Jackie Walker is the author of the best-selling book I Don't Have a Thing to Wear: The Psychology of Your Closet.

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