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Colour Psychology

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CNNs Colorscope Orange: The color of warmth and comfort

The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ Founder Shakaila Forbes-Bell was interviewed for CNN’s Colorscope -an award-winning series exploring our perception of color and its use across cultures, one shade at a time. It’s latest featured surrounded Fashions current IT-Colour ‘Safety Orange’, the focus of our current Colour Psychology Style Edit.

…. It is also considered a transitional color because it is associated with the change in season. Fashion psychologist and blogger Shakaila Forbes-Bell said the color has gained a lot of interest in recent years. “We see safety orange, as it is titled, up and down the catwalks for spring and summer 2018 especially in the New York shows like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Rihanna’s Fenty Puma,” she said.  Forbes-Bell said it’s not surprising that orange is having a revival.

Source: CNN

Read the full feature here. 

Colour Psychology Style Edit: Orange – Cultural Differences and Style

How often do we think about cultural differences when it comes to choosing your wardrobe? What may be ‘fashion-forward’ in one culture can be nonsensical and even out-right offensive in another. This week, we’ve seen how a political fashion choice got pop-sensation Katy Perry denied entry into China and subsequently booted from performing at the 2017 Victoria Secret fashion show. Whilst freedom of speech and correspondingly freedom of dress is a cornerstone of American politics, in other countries, certain choices can be career-damaging. No matter which side of the political fence you choose to sit, Perry’s outlandish and often times thought provoking dress sense is certainly ‘on-brand’. However, many would argue that adopting a ‘culturally aware’ sense of style is essential in our ever-growing multicultural society.

Colour is a key component in our styling choices and is also one that is drenched in cultural significance. In the 2005 paper ‘Are you selling the right colour? A Cross-Cultural Review of Colour as A Marketing Cue’, Mubeen M. Aslam notes that colour “influences consumer perceptions and preferences, purchase and consumption behaviour, and helps companies (re) position or differentiate from the competition. However, the notion of colour universality is fraught with risk. Sometimes companies fail simply because of inappropriate choice of product or package colours”.

colour psychology orange the psychology of fashion shakaila
Suit: Missguided Top: Levis
Suit: Missguided Top: Levis, Shoes: New Look

In the field of psychology, the modern doctrine of ‘Individual Differences’ discusses the importance of acknowledging both sociological and environmental factors that cause people to respond differently to certain stimuli. This Colour Psychology style edit is all about this seasons IT colour – orange and in conducting my research I was enthralled by the sheer magnitude of differences that exist between cultures and how one hue could be interpreted so broadly.  

For example, in Japanese and Chinese cultures, orange is associated with courage, happiness, love, and good health (Huffington Post). In the Netherlands, orange is the colour of the Dutch Royal family and therefore signifies wealth and prestige (Shutterstock). In Indian cultures, orange is considered to be a lucky, auspicious and sacred colour (Empowered By Colour)

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Jacket: Puffa, Dress & Boots: Missguided
colour psychology orange puffa psychology of fashion shakaila
Jacket: Puffa, Dress & Boots: Missguided

Luckily, orange can be considered as a positive colour in many cultures for varying different reasons. But what if I was to wear this orange suit from Misguided or this orange jacket from Puffa in a country that deemed the colour to be distasteful? Given that our clothes often speak for us before we get a chance to utter a single word, are culturally specific colour interpretations something we should start to take more seriously? Does Individual Differences have a place in styling?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Colour Psychology Style: Orange Look One

Introducing Orange, the next colour in our Colour Psychology Style series. Hailed as the new ‘Millennial Pink’, ‘Safety Orange’ was seen up and down the catwalks for Spring Summer 18 especially within the New York shows like Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Fenty Puma.

Dress: Missguided Shoes: ALDO

Many Psychologists believe that our emotional responses to colours stem from our learned experiences with them. However, it is also believed that the characteristics of colours evoke physiological responses. As you may know, colours are categorised according to wavelengths. Studies have shown that long wave-length colours like orange induce feelings of high arousal (Goldstein, 1942) which activates the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) in the brain leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, mobility and readiness to respond.

The aptly titled ‘Safety Orange’ most certainly gets its name from the use of the colour orange in uniforms worn by people working in potentially hazardous environments. In a study testing the visibility of safety clothing on the protection of personnel in highway construction, results indicated that participants detected another person significantly faster and from a father distance if they were wearing orange (more specifically red-orange) clothing (Turner, Simmons & Graham, 1997)

Whist it may not be your intention to emulate the style of construction workers, this research suggests that the colour orange literally has the power to stop people in their tracks. It’s a show-stopping hue that you should definitely add to your wardrobe for those moments when you intend on making a splash and want all eyes on you.

In fact, when I was shooting this entire orange edit I did get a host of lovely compliments from passing-by pedestrians that I am sincerely attributing to the attention-grabbing effect of the colour. This burnt-orange Kimono Sleeve Shift Dress from Missguided was one of my favourite pieces to shoot as it is true to size and has a subtle cowl neck front which I appreciate as any lower (which seems to be the norm these days) I felt, would have compromised the overall look. All-round, 10/10.

Do you have many orange pieces in your wardrobe? What are your general impressions of the colour?

 

Who What Wear: We Asked A Fashion Psychologist The One Question Everyone Wants To Know

The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ was featured in Who What Wear discussing the power of colour psychology 

While we are firm believers that you should dress first and foremost for yourself, it’s fascinating to see if there is some science behind the outfits that get you noticed. So we spoke to two fashion psychologists, Shakaila Forbes-Bell from Psychology of Fashion and Dawnn Karen, and both agreed that there is one colour that is scientifically proven to be more attractive, and it might even get you more swipes on Tinder. As expected, this colour is red.

Marie Claire UK: These Are The Colours You Need To Wear To Be Successful In Life

The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ founder Shakaila Forbes-Bell was published in Marie Claire UK and listed the four hues that you need to add to your wardrobe according to colour psychology!
 
Think about it: how long does it take you to plan your outfit for a job interview or an important business meeting? Half an hour? An hour? Two? The point is, you probably spend as long planning what to wear as the actual meeting itself.

Because like it or not, you’ll often be judged by what you wear. Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Founder & Editor-In-Chief The Psychology of Fashion, explains it takes a fraction of a second to form an impression: 0.1 seconds to be exact.
‘You can’t possibly reel off your likes, your dislikes, your hopes and dreams in 0.1 seconds – so what happens? Your clothes speak for you. Clothing style serves as an implicit perceptual cue, influential in the execution of a wealth of social transactions,’ she says.

And while style is important, it all comes down to one thing: which colour you wear. Shakaila says, ‘colour of our clothes have a significant impact in eliciting certain psychosocial behaviours’.
With that in mind, she shares the colours you can wear to make sure that your first impression is the right one.