Saturday, 30 November 2013

Colouring In

The other day someone asked if I had a favourite colour.
“Blue,” I said.
 “What shade of blue?”
“I don’t know. The whole spectrum.”
“Hmm, most people like something specific – like dark blue.”
“Well I like everything from navy to duck-egg. Why limit yourself ?” My answer was apparently rather amusing.
It’s interesting that we use colour as one of the ways to categorise people. It features in a long list of questions on favourites - animals, music, books, cities, food and whatever else takes the interrogator’s fancy. These quick-fire queries are exercised to establish certain tastes and interests. But how much do they actually give away? What if I'd answered red or green or lilac? Would it have conveyed a radically different message? Had I been asked at another point, my answer might have been different. Today my mustard-coloured jumper means that I’m feeling the warm favour of yellow. Tomorrow it might be something else.
I find the psychology of colour fascinating: the ways in which it is used to associate, mark out, denote, symbolize; the manner in which our perception of colour is as much a product of culture as it is personal taste; how we use and manipulate colour to be anything from ornamental to political. Colour belongs to any number of realms from room décor to national flags to company logos. It can mean serious business. Brands and advertisers carefully target their audiences with specific shades or combinations. You can even take a course at LCF on ‘Colour Psychology for Branding and Communication’.
Recently debate has focused on the gendered implication of colour, particularly for children. Look down any toy aisle or along any rail of clothes and note the differences. Sweet pink and lilac contrasts with rough-and-tumble blue or orange. One is pretty where the other is practical. Toolkits can only be presented to girls if cast in purple-toned plastic. Luckily campaigns such as Let Toys be Toys are busy challenging the stereotypes, yet it remains a disquieting instance of the ways in which colour can reinforce societal norms.
Colour brings with it all sorts of other predictable connotations. Red links to anger and lust, green to jealousy or the environment. Black has an extraordinary number of different overtones - gothic, sexy, smart, business-like, funereal, beatnik.
When pondering colour my thoughts immediately swung to clothing. Although there are still strong links between shade and mood or character, be it the slight hint of vamp in a red dress or earth-loving hippy chic of a long, green skirt, often it can instead be dependent on aesthetic. The choice to combine an electric blue pencil skirt with a beanie hat and heels in matching tones is a decision to stand out. In the realms of the wardrobe, the psychology of colour applies more to the careful creation of a visual appearance. It is part of the myriad number of choices available to construct our daily image. 

These photos were taken several months ago when the weather was still warm enough for bare legs. Everything I'm wearing is second hand charity-shopped, with the shoes bought on eBay and dyed bright blue by my ingenious mum. The matching Chanel nail polish added the perfect accent. 

I wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to all those who took the time to vote for me in the Hospital Club 100 award. I'm completely delighted to say that I made the final ten for the writing and publishing category! (And 10 x 10 categories makes up the '100' of the Hospital Club 100). Massive appreciation to all you amazing people who made it happen, and to the Hospital Club and Guardian Culture Pros for putting it together. You can see me and my lovely friend Alex here and my award here. I also featured in The Guardian when it was announced last week. I was particularly thrilled that All Walks Beyond the Catwalk made the final 10 in the Fashion category too. 


Closet Fashionista said...

I love that shade of blue on you! And I agree, my favorite color is purple, but I love all shades (except the really light ones, ha ha)
We always had to pay attention to color in my graphic design classes because each evokes something different.

Natalie Suarez said...


sonia said...

That's my favorite color, too. It has been since grade school! Amazing outfit.

daisychain said...

you look amazing you wonderful girl! xo

Maisie W said...

What a beautiful outfit!
I especially love the silhouette of the second image.
A friend of mine researched the psychology of colour for an art project- I agree, it is a very interesting subject.
M :)

Helen Le Caplain said...

Oh that colour looks gorgeous on you - I love me some cobalt blue too - it's such a striking colour :)

Erm can you mum give us some tips for such a great DIY dye job on the shoes?! :D

Fashion art and other fancies said...

Colour, yes. In art colours mingle together like friends at a cocktail party;-)

Emalina said...

You're right to love blue, it suits you so beautifully dear Roz. Pairing it with that grey top allows the cobalt to really pop. You look gorgeous, and well done your ingenious Mum for that amazing shoe dye job!
I have real difficulty deciding on a favourite colour - perhaps it's pink in the summer, red in the winter. But then I'm mad about blue and green too...


I agree, and I'm all for defying the stereotypes when it comes to colour. Colour is to be appreciated for and by everyone and anyone. I remmber one of my profesors telling me that my favourite colour (blue) was a male colour. I still adore it today, but I love all colours really. :) You look stunning. Cobalt is a marvellous colour--always very lovely paired with grey as well. xx/Madison

Candy Pop said...

My favourite colour is turquoise. I also love blue. The colours of the sky and the sea. And why Greece is my favourite holiday destination.

Lovely to meet you last week, and congratulations on making it to the final 10. Happy Oxmas!

Anonymous said...

That blue is so stunning.

Kate - Enter our new giveaway!

Melanie said...

Oh dear, you're going to have to get a bigger mantlepiece (for your awards). Congratulations. What stellar company you are in.
It's interesting that people ask about favourite colours, not patterns. What if one were to say Paisley? Plaid? Polka-dots?
You are stunning in blue. I'm sure the pencil skirt/beanie combo will be everywhere now. Your mum is a genius re. the shoes.

Violeta Dumitru said...

Beautiful look! Royal blue is my favorite colour!

hiPop said...

Amazing, amazing color combo!


Vix said...

I love blue - all shades! You look glorious in electric blue. x

Ivana Džidić said...

It is surely true that we associate colours with a number of things. Just today my nephew (a todler) gave me pink legos- this is your pink axe. So, axes can be used by boys and girls alike, but still it is better that girls use pink ones. Interesting reasoning, children are really the most fascinating source of information because absorb rapidly and in some ways even mirror the data presented to them in daily life...and even trying to avoid the stereotype by choosing a different colour then expected (punks, rock, emo and so on...) is in some way only reinforcing the certain beliefs that we do put in colours.

Clothing and colour coordination is another fascinating subject. Sometimes it gives me great satisfaction to match the colours and sometimes just the opposite. There are moment when I like nothing more than an outfit with colours that do not match at all....and what is matching what in terms of colours anyway? there is another debate.

But to get back to the outfit, I really love it. Midi skirts are one of my favourite items of clothing and that shade of blue is just gorgeous!

Willow said...

Never have I seen a beanie styled so elegantly than in these pictures here. That second last shot is my favourite, it looks like it should be taking up two pages in a fashion magazine, gorgeous! What a great job your mum did on those shoes.

The psychology of colour is indeed very fascinating, as was this article. I often often find my mood to reflect the colour I'm wearing. I loved your response "Why limit yourself?" there are so many colours, shades and colour combinations to be enjoyed.

Congratulations on your (well deserved) award, that is wonderful to hear.

his little lady said...

This blue color is so beautiful on you! You are gorgeous girl!
xo TJ

Izzy DM said...

(Think my comment didn't save? Sorry if it appears twice!)

Again, has to be a short comment as am underwater at the moment, but I wanted to say I couldn't be prouder of you if you were my own little sister. Go Roz!!

And that's (one of) my favorite shades of blue. (I've never liked being pigeon-holed either, having to commit to one color for life.) I've noticed it photographs peculiarly well, looks beautiful here!

Fashionistable said...

Blue would be the colour I would say too. But you are right why limit yourself to one particular hue. Having said that I do love the shade you are wearing in your pictures.
Congratulations again on your win. Xxxx

Anonymous said...

It's funny how we have to limit ourselves to one colour, don't we? I have different colours for different parts of life - I love looking at red shades but not to wear, and tend to opt for blues and purples when it comes to home decor...

With regards to gender stereotyping, have you seen the little graphic floating around on Twitter? It's like a little flow chart that explains if a toy is suitable for boys or girls - very amusing.

lauren said...

I love the pop of bright blue and the classic silhouette! Really stunning.

Agnes in Wonderland said...

Love the electric color of the skirt!

Leslie Lim said...

Wow. Wonderful outfit. I love it, so gorgeous.

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