Can the colour you wear really affect your mood? We spoke to Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, to find out
If you’ve ever experienced the instant pick-me-up of a vibrant sweater or punchy lipstick, you’ll know that the colours we wear can have a big impact on the way we feel.
“The way we dress is a powerful form of non-verbal communication, meaning there’s no easier way to make a statement – or affect our mood – than through clothing,” says Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.
Pink, for example, conveys a sense of fun, although darker shades such as magenta are more assertive, says Karen. Fuchsia pink is therefore a brilliant way to demonstrate confidence without looking like you take yourself too seriously. Try wearing head-to-toe for an unforgettable date-night look.
Not just a hot trend for spring/summer 2018, yellow has a reputation for being the happiest colour in the palette. “Smiley face stickers are always yellow,” observes Karen. “It’s a colour that radiates hope and optimism.”
Tap into the sunshine state of mind with a not-so-mellow yellow dress. A loose silhouette complements the carefree feel, while open-toe sandals signal the start of summer. Weather not cooperating? Punchy yellow accessories guarantee instant happiness, ideal for warming up cool-blue denim days.
Put your wardrobe on red alert; no shade has more impact than this power player. As Karen puts it, “It’s an emotionally charged colour – the phrase ‘to see red’ refers to blood rushing to the head, after all." If you want to get noticed, this is the colour to wear – it’s impossible to be overlooked when wearing red.
A head-to-toe look is the ultimate eye-catching outfit, ideal for making an entrance at a crowded party; less so for going incognito on Monday morning. That said, a sharp red blazer can be an assertive choice for the office when a killer presentation is called for, as can a red lip and nails combo for a subtle flash of confidence.
At the opposite end of the spectrum we have blue, a colour to wear when staying calm is a priority. “With its associations of the sky, sea and mountains, blue has been said to have the physiological effects of lowering heart rate and respiration – making it a wise choice for wearing to a job interview, or to any stressful situations where your heart is likely to be racing.”
Furthermore, blue has connotations of confidence and dependability, making it perfect for the office. Amplify the appeal for weekend with relaxed silhouettes and striking details such as bardot necklines and ruffled hemlines. Think cool, calm and collected, but effortlessly chic, too.
Green represents the power of nature and therefore is a signifier of energy, harmony and balance. “It’s a great colour to wear when you’re on your own or going on a peaceful walk to benefit from the positive effects of this grounding and nurturing shade,” Karen explains.
Similarly, wearing green is a fast-track to feeling more centred, even if you live in a hectic urban environment. Style a preppy striped shirt with tailored teal trousers for a city-chic look and magnify the grounding effect of the colour with green suede sandals – including a sturdy block heel, of course.
Editor: Dulcie Emerson / Creative director: Nicola Rose / Photographer: Jonty Davies / Stylist: Louise Carmel Hall
Hair stylist: Ben Cooke / Make-up Artist: Mary Wiles / Models: Ymre Stiekema and daughter Elise at Viva