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How to Choose Colours to Wear to Suit Your Mood

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport
How to Choose Colours to Wear to Suit Your Mood

Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrob e and I were asked a question about how we chose our outfits - what our processes are - and the first one that came up for us was about basing an outfit around a colour. In this video we share our thought processes - and they are quite different from each other!

How do you decide what to wear each day?

If you have to wear a uniform that takes many of the decisions out of the process, but for many of us, there are myriad pieces of input that go into this daily decision.

The most common are:

These are the things we all deal with each day, but then, what are the other aspects of choosing an outfit that you may think about?

Using Colour as the Inspiration for Your Day's Outfit

How Imogen Chooses Colours for Her Outfits

For me, colour is one aspect that is important. If I'm needing to be taken more seriously I'll choose a darker colour like navy blue which says that I'm trustworthy. Doing a personal colour analysis I may choose a white top or something more neutral so as not to be distracting for my client in the mirror when looking at colours. If I'm seeing a client and want to be seen as friendly or approachable a blue or teal is a frequent choice.

Very often, if there is no particular occasion or activity that I need to dress for and I can wear any colour, I will dress based on asking myself the question:

What colour do I feel today?

I need to take into consideration how the energy of the colour has an influence on my mood and feelings.

  • Do I want my colour to pep me up or calm me down?
  • Do I want the colour to help me maintain my energy levels, for example when I'm working with extraverts who can easily dominate and when I need to ensure I'm heard and don't disappear into the background?
  • Do I need to feel more stimulated?
  • Do I want to feel creative?

Colour has a mental, cerebral feeling for me. My choice comes down to a mental feeling about how the colour will make me feel or help me communicate that day.

For example, hot pink to me is vibrant and alive, happy and exciting, full of energy. When I want to feel that way, it's a great colour to choose. I call hot pink my happy colour.

How Jill Chooses Colours for Her Outfits

Jill thinks about using colour in a different way from me. For her, colours feel more tactile and is a sensate thing, colours have a physical feeling for her, like she's wrapped up in a colour.

She looks for colours that help her achieve a mood that she is either feeling or wants to be feeling, such as optimistic and positive yellow (it feels buttery and enveloping), a juicy and fun orange (like being inside a glass of freshly squeezed juice), or a vibrant and bouncy green (Jill feels that green has a sense of movement for her).

It's both a physical feeling of being inside a colour, and emotional feeling too for Jill.

Colours that don't appeal to Jill, for example, she won't wear purples and it's because they feel too serene and not earthy enough for her, purple puts a lid on her natural vibrancy and also feels purple is too airy in an ungrounded and unappealing way for her. Black is heavy and feels like bitumen, it's weighty and so unappealing to Jill.

I can't imagine colour feeling physical in the way Jill does. It's fascinating how differently we perceive the way colour "feels" for us.

How Do Colours Make You Feel?

How do you decide which colour to wear on any given day?

  • Do certain colours give you a sensation?
  • Do they make you feel a certain way?
  • Do they put you in different moods?
  • How does a colour make you think?
Colour My World - Introduction to the Psychology of Colour

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