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Colour Psychology

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Valentine’s day, the one day in the year dedicated to romance and passion. Whether you’re #couplegoals or #singleAF on Thursday, countless women across the globe will be dressing to impress in hopes of grabbing the attention of that special someone.

In order to achieve that goal, psychology has taught us that when getting dressed it is all but essential that you add a splash of red to your ensemble. What role does this hue have in our love-lives? Colour Psychology reveals all!

All Red Everything

In testing the impact of colour on attraction, American Psychologists observed men having conversations with women wearing different coloured shirts. The researchers found that men asked women more personal and intimate questions when they were wearing a red shirt opposed to women wearing green shirts. Similarly, men sat closer to women in red opposed to blue shirts.

In Taiwan, researchers found that when women carry red-coloured products such as laptops men rated them significantly higher in terms of attractiveness and sex appeal. The impact of red is the same for women too! A study conducted on 42 females and 22 males found that when participants were asked to attend an interview about dating, exposure to the colour red caused participants to walk faster. Interestingly, exposure to the colour red decreased the speed they walked to attend an interview about intelligence – I guess it’s true that love makes you a bit foolish.

Makeup enthusiasts will be interested to know that psychologists in France have discovered that waitresses wearing red lipstick earn more tips more so than women wearing pink, brown or no lipstick at all. 

Red lipstick is often seen a as a handbag staple and to make sure you’re picking the best of the best, we’ve asked beauty writer Alysha Yates to trawl through her impressive make-up stash and give us the low-down on some of her red-lipstick must haves.

Uncensored, Fenty Beauty

fashion psychology
Image Source: harveynichols.com

Fenty’s Uncensored Stunna lip paint is undeniable. I love effortlessly sweeping the curved cushion wand along my lip line, filling in the middle and watching as bright red satin dries, transforming into velvet ruby matte perfection. 

The rich red pigment certainly pops so be prepared for stares and compliments all day long when wearing Uncensored on a night out as you steal the show. If you want unwaveringly raw pigment matched with a comfortable, unmovable matte texture, Uncensored is the way forward.

Ruby Woo, MAC

Fashion Psychology

If there ever were a lipstick hall of fame, Ruby Woo would stand self-assured as one of the most iconic red shades of its time. Retro matte, ruby rich and unmatched by it’s subtle blue undertone, Ruby Woo is the ultimate red shade to bring boldness to a puckered-up pout. Ruby rich, it’s colour makes me feel confident, classic and sexy all at once. No word of lie, I’d wear Ruby Woo everyday if I could, but that wouldn’t be fair to my lipstick collection. Now, every other day? I could settle for that!

90210hhh, Too Faced

Fashion Psychology

Frosty February evenings calls for 90210hhh and it’s candy apple red tone. This is one of my favourite crème based lipsticks hands down because it makes me feel festively classic. 90210hhh is ideal for the winter because of it’s ability to hydrate even the most chapped of lips, as well as to provide long lasting, powerful pigment.

Rouge Tuxedo No. 45, YSL

Fashion Psychology

This ultra-luxe lip shine looks and smells like the inside of a watermelon. I typically wear Rouge Tuxedo in the summer because it’s weightless, sheer shine is perfect for hot summer days when you wish you were naked and want to throw next to nothing on.

Irrepressible, Estee Lauder

Fashion Psychology

Irrepressible is what you wear on date night. Do not pick anything other! I fall in love with it’s alluring, sultry red brown undertone every time I pop the lipstick cap. It’s matte but not drying in the slightest and it’s deep plum dark hue is seductively dangerous for those whose eyes it meets. Wear Irrepressible and that’s what you’ll be.

Dance With Me, MAC

Fashion Psychology

No matter what you do on a night out, Dance With Me perseveres. This liquid lip potion is berry, burgundy and beautiful and dries retro matte like no other. Apply just before leaving home. It’s lick proof, sick proof, kiss proof, bitch proof, bite proof, fight proof, sweat proof, wet proof, smudge proof, hug proof and grease proof. Wear Dance With Me on the dance floor. No caution needed.

Did we miss out your favourite Red Lipstick? Share your recommendations in the comment section!

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. 

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)

colour psychology orange puffa psychology of fashion shakaila
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.

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?

 

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.

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.