How the Colours You Wear Affect Your Mood


Today I was talking on the phone to someone in Queensland (a hotter part of Australia) about a new and exciting product just on the market (I’ll share that with you soon), and she said she’d send me one, did I want white or black?  Then she said, I assume black for you, not because she’s ever seen me, but because Melbourne is known as the black capital of Australia, where so many people wear black most of the time.

Yes I do wear black, as it is a colour that suits my cool colouring, but I also wear lots of other colours, a lot of the time.  I try to avoid black as an everyday staple, not just because I make a living from doing colour analysis, and I want to show people that it’s possible to not wear black!  But also because the colours we wear have an affect on how we feel and how others communicate with us and react to us.

If you think about it, businesses spend a lot of time and money deciding on what colour packaging to put their products into.  Look around the supermarket, you’ll see lots of packaging with red on it, as red stimulates us, raises our blood pressure and makes us hungry.  Did you know that women have been shown to react to Tiffany blue?  It makes us more excited.

Given this, why would we want to wear black all the time?  Black is the absence of colour, it’s the absorption of light, it reflects cold dark shadows on our face, and can drain us of life.  It’s also not the most slimming colour on the planet either (which is the reason so many give as why they choose it).

When I am choosing what to wear each day, after I’ve found out what the weather is going to be like, I make my choice first based on colour, what colour do I feel like today?  I notice that often during the dull, grey winter, I feel like red or hot pink.  During summer I like cooler blues, greens and teals on those really hot days, the thought of wearing red or black when it’s stinking hot makes me feel a little ill.

Given that colours are reflected light waves, I think that these vibrations affect us physically, they are in harmony with us, or dissonant.  When I’m doing a colour analysis, when I put unflattering colours on a client I feel physically ill in my stomach.  When the right colours are put on, I feel relaxed and calm.

Do you think much about the colours you wear?  Do you find different colours change how you feel?

What colour do you feel like today?


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  • Oh gosh, Imogen, I could go on for hours about the effect of colour, vibrations, mood etc. It's a favourite topic for sure. I love that the walls of a US jail were painted pale pink to prevent the men becoming super aggressive and that it worked. Same with weightlifters who cannot lift if they are looking at the colour pink.

    For me, any sea-colour makes me feel great, and in harmony with the world about me. I live for the sea and feel truly happy when I am close to it, in presence and in colour. White makes me feel sexy and glam, and navy blue professional and restrained!

    I am wearing regulation black and grey today so I'm neither glam nor at one with the world about me.

    Btw, for some reason, every word verification that I've had to type today has had the ending "ass." I hope there isn't a message there.

  • Ever since you did my colours for me, I'm much more aware of how the colours I'm wearing make me look and feel, and which ones I'm really comfortable with. I'm looking forward to winter because I love rich burgundies but can't wear those sorts of colours in summer … Actually, I still find summer difficult, because the weather makes me want to wear light colours, but I'm not comfortable in them.

  • Imogen, I am surprised that you can wear teal. I too am a winter, and teal and turquoise always make me look like I died and nobody told me! Just as orange, mustard, rust, etc., do.

    Gail D.

  • I love colour and want to wear more of it. I'm finding it so hard to buy say a skirt in anything but black or grey (one store assistant laughed at me when I asked for a skirt in any colour but black!). Beginning to think I might sign up for 'how to sew' lessons and make my own.

  • I'm always in dark brown, black, and olive green in the winter. For some reason those colors feel warmer to me- they make me think of small animals burrowed into the earth out of the cold, I think. But come summer, I'm hardly ever out of one of my white skirts and bright tops!

  • I'm totally with you Imogen. When deciding what to wear in the morning, the first thing I think of is what color or color combination I want to put on and style my outfit around that. I find that I prefer oranges & corals on cold, dreary winter days but when the sun comes out on a bright cloudless winter day I reach for black or charcoal. In the hot summer I tend towards white and bright Caribbean colors but nautical-crisp color combinations in spring & early summer.

  • A touch of bright colour is almost every day necesary to me. I wore black for many years. In clothes I was looking for cut and texture. Colour always atracted me but I had left it behind me. Now that I am cured and that you teached me I suit warm tones, I am amazed on how it is hard to find warm tones in the clothes industry. There is a vast majority of black, white, grey, blues… Ocidentals prefer cold tones. Before, if I had to choose between a cold and a warm tone dress, I'd choose the cold one.It felt safer. Not anymore. Today is warm end of the summer day and I am wearing off white with a turquoise ring and red sandals. My favorite face lift is a yellow or coral scarf.

  • While I do love a good black/white combo for it's graphic-ness, it's not what I gravitate toward. I tend to choose what I'm wearing based on equal parts color and silhouette. If I'm feeling in the mood to wear a full skirt and round toe pumps, that will trump color but only slightly. (and my full skirt isn't black!) If I'm feeling in the need of a pick-me-up, it's definitely my pink or red tops!

  • Totally. If I'm feeling down, it can go either way: I might climb into my grey dress and black cardi so as to pretend to be invisible, or I might put on hot pink just to see if it works 🙂

  • It's so weird, Im. I feel so grossed out by purple lately and can seem to stomach it. However, I like about two shades of softer lavendar. I don't feel so great in blues either! But I know I should look good in the softer, muted ones.

    Lately, I love the light yellow on me, goes great with my hair and makes me feel sunny. I adore reds and pinks and oranges, together whenever possible.

    I am such a high energy gal, I wonder why I don't gravitate more toward the cooling colors to tamper myself down in mood a bit.

  • I totally agree about the effect of colour on my mood. But mostly I actually find myself most affected by the colours *around* me- on the walls, in nature etc. I'm fascinated by the comment re painting walls pink in jail. I've also heard blue in the kitchen (esp in the fridge) helps people lose weight, and lots of yellow makes babies cry and couple fight more.

  • I should add, the colours I like around me are indeed the colours that suit me to wear (as I learned in my colour analysis with Imogen)

  • I find I wear black when I want to feel confident, powerful and bulletproof. Think Maleficent.

    Today I am wearing a dress with bold black and white geometric patterns. The combination makes me feel productive, creative and forward thinking.

    Red to me is a sexual color. I actually don’t wear red often, unless it is burgundy.

    I wear a lot of Grey because it is understated, and makes me feel like I can be taken seriously. Strong like steel. I have grey eyes, and I like that I am seen as a bit cold and aloof. It’s a bit of a protection like I can’t be treated as a doormat.

    That being said I’m also EXTREMELY seasonal. I wouldn’t be caught dead in Burgandy in the middle of July. That is a fall/winter color only!

  • A wonderful post. When I taught art, I noticed that younger students responded positively to me if I wore primary colors, red, blue and yellow, the ones they could name. Colors affect us strongly, both in our surroundings and in clothes, as you mentioned. It is no secret that fast food places use red and orange in their decor to speed along the customers! Red revs up our digestive juices, so one can gobble and go. It pays to observe colors and their influence on us in advertising, while shopping for anything in stores or online. People are paid well to use color to influence our choices.

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