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The Psychology of Colour – Part 1: What does your favourite colour say about you?

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We all have a favourite colour, one that, as soon as we wear an item of clothing we feel uplifted, more confident, and generally happy within ourselves. Psychologists have long known that individual colours can have dramatic affects on our moods, emotions and feelings, but did you know that by wearing a certain colour you are also communicating these signals to others?

My colour analysis service shows you exactly which shades suit you, and by understanding the psychology of colour, you can then decide what colour you should wear, and when. In the next few blog posts, we will explore three main colours and what they represent in terms of psychology and meaning.

In this blog we are looking at the spectrum of red, orange and yellow.

RED

Red is the colour of blood, it encourages action, increases confidence and stimulates energy. It is also a very sensual and inherently exciting colour, it focuses attention on a particular element (think of red lips). By wearing red you are communicating to others that you are sexy, thrilling and a dynamic ‘go-getter’ type of person. You like to make a statement and want to stand out in a crowd. Red does have harmful connotations; it is the signal for danger, and ‘being in the red’ in the financial world is a sign of a negative direction.

When to wear red

Studies have shown that men find women wearing red on a first date to be their most favourite colour. This is because biologically, animals that are fertile in the wild will have increased estrogen levels that cause their blood vessels to open up, and this leads to redness on certain parts of their body, such as the face and chest. We have evolved but still regard redness as a sign of sexual fertility.

When not to wear red

Women should not wear red if they work within top management employment and they want to be taken seriously, as red is an extremely sexual colour and they could be sending the wrong messages to their colleagues.

ORANGE

The bright colour of orange is associated with youth, fun, frivolity, and abundance. It is also considered to be an appetite stimulant. Orange makes us think of excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth, and is often used, as red is, to draw our attention to signs, such as amber traffic lights and in advertising. In ancient times, orange was thought to have healing properties and increase energy levels. Orange wearers are fun-loving, free spirits who are interested in everything around them. Negative orange properties include immaturity and lack of authority.

When to wear orange

As orange has a very high energy, it drives creativity and imagination, so if you have a project that requires some ‘out of the box’ thinking, wearing orange can be extremely beneficial. No surprise then that is it a favourite colour for artists and musicians. As orange is quite a playful colour, if you are working with children it can encourage your fun side. Be careful of wearing too much however.

When not to wear orange

The budget airline Easyjet found to their cost that passengers were not accepting the airline staff as authority figures, so much so that the staff asked for the colour orange to be minimised on their uniforms. If you have to deal in an authoritative manner, make sure you leave your orange clothes at home that day.

YELLOW

The sunny colour yellow represents happiness, optimism, expression and laughter. It is associated with creativity and can aid memory and organisation (ever wondered why order/legal pads are often coloured yellow?) People that wear yellow are typically fun loving and can lift your spirits, but too much yellow can be tiring, both to the wearer and others, as it is a difficult colour for the eye to process.

When to wear yellow

Yellow is a difficult colour to wear but as it is an uplifting colour it can brighten your mood on a dreary day. So wear it if you need an instant boost or if you need to be particularly in control and organised for that day.

When not to wear yellow

Studies have shown that for men, the least attractive colour a lady can wear on a first date is yellow, with a massive 39% naming it their worst choice. Yellow is also associated with the emotion of fear, so if you have to face a particularly dreaded task, leave your yellow clothes in the wardrobe. Remember, you may have a favourite colour, but to find out whether it suits you or not, book in for an ‘Avec Colours’ consultation. This is a service that provides you with your own personal colour palette, so that you can easily identify the shades that work in harmony with your natural characteristics. Next time on The Psychology of Colour:   We look at the cool end of the spectrum and focus on green, blue and purple.