Tag Archives: colors

Importance of Contrasting Colors

With winter fast approaching, the bright spring/summer colors are neatly stored away in the closet. On the streets, it’s rare to see the same bright colors. Instead the streets are covered with darker shades of navy, brown, black and gray. If you’re conforming to the colors of the season, you’re simply wearing “street camouflage”. The darker hues of the season while safe, prevent you from making a statement. And if you’re here reading this, then you’re most likely looking for ways to be noticed fashionably.

Breaking the habit of wearing seasonal colors is a rather difficult one. It’s a vicious cycle that rears its ugly head year after year. And if you have trouble dealing with change, taking the step towards brighter colors might be even harder. But this isn’t a call to completely remove seasonal colors from your wardrobe. Those colors should always remain as a staple in every fall/winter ensemble. What I’m suggesting is to mix some bright spring/summer like colors.

via Imaxtree
via Imaxtree

So how do you go about adding some color to your setups? Start by turning to your accessories. You can quickly add some bright colors by choosing them when picking out your hats, pocket squares, ties, and socks. So instead of matching your beanie with your shirt or jacket, try a color that adds a bit of contrast to the rest of the outfit. Always being in plain sight, a bright colored hat is more than likely to get noticed first.

via GQ
via GQ

With a wide range of colors, patterns and designs, choosing a bright colored tie or bow is another simple way to add a splash of color. Forget about matching it to your pocket square or jacket, and your “street camouflage” of an outfit will thank you for your boldness. Also, try patterns that you’ve never thought to include like paisley, gingham or chambray.

via Malfordoflondon
via Malfordoflondon

Much like ties, you have a large collection of patterns, colors and designs when picking a pocket square. It is also a cheap and cheerful way to add some “pazazz” to your attire. Just fold it, insert it into your front pocket and watch as eyes from passersby gravitate towards your left chest.

via the Dapper Duo
via the Dapper Duo

It seems like slacks are getting shorter every season and as they start climbing past your ankles, it leaves that area of your legs exposed to nature. So to prevent that polar vortex from finding its way up through your tapered and shortened slacks, you can easily cover it with colorful socks. Another point of emphasis when others are checking out your style starts below the ankles. So, spice it up with bright colored patterns and styles.

Be careful! As a general rule, you want to keep your outfits simple and minimalistic. So choose only one brightly colored accessory per setup. Adding too many colors with multiple different accessories will just make your ensemble busy and distracting. You want to wow others by staying clean without trying too hard.

 

Colors and Cultures – What Has Psychology and Marketing Done to Us?

via www.whydontyoutrythis.com
via www.whydontyoutrythis.com

In a follow up to a previous article “The vibe that we give off with the colors we wear” there came a realization that culture plays a very important role in how we perceive the world. Within that culture are the marketing geniuses that want to make us associate their own colors with certain feelings. Coca-Cola for example wants us to associate their red and white colors and their trademarked logo with happiness. Hence their brand image and slogan “open happiness.” Each color in each culture means something completely different, so how does culture affect what we wear? How about also thinking about where we were brought up in terms of communities and affiliations. Certain colors are group colors and have symbolic meanings themselves which are ever so noticeable by specific accessories.

via flexdreams.deviantart.com
via flexdreams.deviantart.com

Let’s take the color red as an example. In the U.S. or Western culture it is a sign for love, passion and danger. While in some Eastern cultures that same red color symbolized happiness, prosperity and is used as the color of a bride’s main dress. White has a very different effect in cultures throughout the world. Here in Western culture it symbolizes purity and cleanliness. However, on the opposite side of the globe it is a symbol of death, mourning and sadness. While in most countries and cultures it’s still a symbol for purity, that isn’t the case everywhere so by you wearing it, can have a negative effect on a complete stranger.

Marketing does play an extremely significant role in how we associate colors in society. Multi-national corporations specifically study this science when choosing their logo colors, and their slogans to ensure that they always have an advantage and effect on the consumer. McDonald’s is a prime example. They specifically use red and yellow in their logo designs. Among other multi-national fast food chains like Burger-King who use red and yellow as well. The reason for that is for the majority and also where they were first founded before going global red and yellow represent two specific attributes. Red stimulates the appetite while yellow stimulates cheerfulness and enthusiasm. They go hand in hand, one makes you hungry while the other makes you happy, all in one place. That’s our society, marketing at its finest.

Culture does play a huge part in how we perceive colors and life in general, however apparently the multi-billion dollar marketing industry paired with psychological tactics can train us in ways we don’t even realize until it’s too late. Did you ever use a Kleenex after sneezing, or how about grabbing a Bounty to clean up the mess? Yeah, we substitute company names for the proper grammatical terms, a psychologically conditioned marketing and branding strategy. The only way out is to disassociate yourself from the current culture – move to a tropical or deserted island. What colors come to mind then? Well those are also mental associations that you developed over time.

 

Photo via Linghao

Plaid: Royal Stewart Tartan

Plaid seems to become an especially appropriate pattern, not just for the holidays.  Albeit, something about the mix of colors crossing over a dominant background seems particularly festive.  Tartans came into being as the descendants of regional patterns marking out the various locales of ancient Scotland.  Over time, they grew associated with the Scottish clans, to the point that most of the major clans had one or several tartans to its name.  The Royal Stewart Tartan, as its name suggests, was the tartan of the House of Stewart, and reached significant heights as a symbol of power in unison with its famous bearers.

The House of Stewart rose to prominence at the end of the 13th Century, when it secured peace with England through a marriage union with the House of Tudor, thus claiming an inheritance with the English throne.  The line produced a number of kings, many that ruled both England and Scotland; however, the Stewarts also presided over the famous interruption in the English monarchy, when the Republicans under Oliver Cromwell tried and beheaded King Charles I.  The House became extinct in 1807, but it left its legacy upon Great Britain- and ensured the popularity of its personal tartan.

The Royal Stewart tartan is extremely popular, especially around Christmastime, and it’s not hard to see why.  With a red background overlaid by wefts and warps of black, white, blue, and dark green, it has the colors of the Christmas season, from red bows to dark trees to twinkling blue lights. Nonetheless,  there are few bold and confident fashionmisters who are not afraid to wear them any time of the year.  It can work as both an accessory and a main piece, as a scarf or a pair of pants or sometimes even a sport coat.  As it is a very bold pattern, its companion pieces should be paired down, so look for pants in brown or gray, shirts in white or light blue, coats in gray or black.  This royal regalia speaks loudly enough on its own- it doesn’t need to be amplified.

Fair Isle Sweaters

Certain items of clothing rise imperceptibly through the public consciousness, taking hold of our sartorial awareness so subtly that we do not notice them until they are suddenly everywhere.  Then there are pieces whose popularity can be traced to a single moment in time, to a place and a person that defined the item and bestowed it upon the rest of us prepackaged.  The Fair Isle sweater is undeniably the latter.  Its place in the menswear canon is due almost wholly to its popularity with one of history’s most famous clotheshorses: King Edward VIII of England, who has gone down in history as the Prince of Wales.  All through his life, the Prince was a stylistic adventurer, eschewing the staid conventions of the upper class and embracing a wardrobe built around comfort, boldness, and sporting character.

The Prince made a sensation out of the Fair Isle sweater, whose name comes from its origin on  Fair Isle, one of the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland.  The people of Fair Isle have long sense perfected a knitting technique in which different colors of wool are woven together to form rows of patterns, with no more than two colors per row, and no more than five colors in the entire garment.  Technically, a Fair Isle sweater employs only the traditional patterns of knitting from Fair Isle itself.  However, the great popularity of the Fair Isle style of knitting has made a trademark of the name, and today sweaters from all over the world of menswear are dubbed ‘Fair Isle,’ whatever their origins or design.

If you wish to have the genuine article, however, you must seek out a sweater with the brilliant colors and wild patterns of traditional Fair Isle knitting.  If you can find one from Fair Isle itself, so much the better.  For a more fashion-forward look, seek out a sweater in unorthodox patterns and colors, and pair it with a ground of gray pants and a tweed sport coat.  The Prince would applaud your daring.