Following on from my last two blogs about colour, in this one we will talk about the neutral colours of black, white and brown. You may not think these colours require much in-depth discussion, but consider just how much of your wardrobe is made up of black garments? Black is a very powerful colour to wear, as is white, and you are sending a very strong statement when you wear either of them.
So let’s start with black.
Black, often the colour of angst-ridden teenagers all over the world, is an empowering colour. It can be elegant, sophisticated, stylish and classic. Many people use black as their basic ‘go to’ colour as it goes with every other colour in the spectrum.
Black also has negative connotations; it is associated with death and mourning and depression. The colour black is also used to depict evil characters or evil traits, such as the black dog (depression again) or the Black Plague. If you wear a lot of black you are saying that you are authoritative, you are not easily manipulated and that you appreciate style and elegance.
When to wear black
Black is a classic colour for clothing, as it has slimming properties and instantly adds an air of class. Black is used for many of our authority figures, such as the police and high court judges. You should therefore wear black if you need to convey a professional front. Or if you want to send out signals of sophistication. Also sombre occasions that require respect will benefit from a black outfit.
When not to wear black
Black can be quite an oppressive and menacing colour, particularly if used all over. As black naturally lends itself to professional or sombre tasks, if you need to convey a sense of lightness and fun then steer clear from black.
White is an innocent colour, depicting virginal like qualities. It was no surprise that Hugh Grant’s then girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley chose to wear a white dress after his scandalous arrest for solicitation in Los Angeles. Liz was practically screaming ‘I am the innocent and wronged party here’. Imagine if she’d worn a scarlet red dress? She would have given off an entirely different vibe.
White is associated with purity, hence it is the colour of choice for many first time brides. It is also the colour of peace and surrender. Foreign correspondent Martin Bell always wore white on his reports as he reasoned that ‘no one would fire as it was obvious he wasn’t the enemy’.
When to wear white
White wearers give off an empathetic feel, they convey an approachable and innocent air. Occasions when white would be the best colour to wear are therefore in times when you want to appear clean, pristine, and spotlessly pure.
When not to wear white
White can also be a very cold colour, and indicate an air of sterility. So if you have to perform a task in which your natural warmth needs to shine through, ditch the cold white shirt and pop on something from the warmer spectrum of reds, oranges and yellows.
People that wear brown are classed as down-to-earth, grounded, wholesome and reliable and supportive. Browns are associated with the natural world and are often worn by people who work mainly in the care community. When you wear brown you are giving out a message that you can be trusted, you are innovative and you are a creative type of person.
When to wear brown
Wear brown if you instantly want to create an air of trust and empathy. Like black, brown can be a very serious colour, but unlike black, brown is very approachable. So wear brown if you need to give off a sense of authority, but want your staff to feel they can still talk to you.
When not to wear brown
Brown is a traditional colour, it is safe and sheltering and inclusive. Therefore, if you want to wow an audience, or blow their minds with a new concept, wearing brown won’t blow their socks off. Keep browns for when you need to create stability and trust.
Remember, you may love a certain colour, but does it love you?
To find out, why not book in for an ‘Avec Colours’ service. 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.