By Anna Akbari
The colors you wear send subtle signals out into the world. And while the idea that we should change colors with the seasons sounds both impractical and tedious, playing chameleon can highlight and draw out different aspects of our personalities. It’s also a way to strategically position ourselves through our wardrobe.
Here are five of the most important colors for spring, what they symbolize, and when to wear them:
Blue is the most popular “favorite color” for both sexes, and for good reason. Classic blue exudes dependability and reliability. It symbolizes wisdom, depth, and trustworthiness.
But not all blues are created equal. One of this season’s blues, aquamarine, is a calming stress reducer. Feng shui masters believe this light blue calms the body and mind by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
Another of this season’s blues, scuba blue, has more of a vibrant, playful vibe. It projects optimism and may give you the urge to run away to an exotic paradise.
When to wear it: Slip into blue when you need to project loyalty and productivity. It will help you look serious and conscientious, while still standing out. Perhaps more than any other color, blue is perfect for interviews. Consider a solid-hued blue frock or blazer when you need to dress to impress.
Not just for candy hearts and tulips, pink is a romantic, feminine color. Pink conjures images of blushed cheeks and lighthearted happiness; it’s youthful, fun, and exciting. It also projects passion, but not as aggressively as red.
Strawberry ice, this season’s variation on pink, is subtle and warming — it has a universal appeal, even for people who aren’t normally into pink.
When to wear it: Too much pink isn’t the right fit for most offices, but pink separates send a carefree image. With that in mind, wear it when you need to project a little playfulness, like during a team event or on a more casual day. It also warms the complexion, so use a strawberry ice blouse to awaken and perk up winter skin.
Green is second only to blue among “favorite colors.” Its associations are strong: wealth and safety, freshness and renewal. Green literally tells us to go and links us with nature. The comforting feeling that green induces can help alleviate depression, nervousness, and anxiety.
This season’s green, Lucite green, has a cool, retro feel. It’s lighter and less dense than a deep kelly or forest green. Minty and fresh, Lucite green is flexible and works with most skin tones.
When to wear it: Green is the new red. Make Lucite your go-to accent color to liven up neutrals or complement blues. This green gets noticed and has a universal appeal, while also distinguishing you from the masses. Wear a green necklace or scarf for an important presentation or whenever you need to stand out from the crowd.
Gray is a comfortable in-between — after all, it falls directly between black and white. A seasonless neutral, it’s classic, sleek, and refined. Designers think of gray as the perfect background color, as it enhances every other hue. Its conservative nature communicates formality and authority.
Glacier gray, this season’s gray, is a subtle neutral that’s more color enhancing than mood dampening.
When to wear it: Gray is better than black for spring and brightens light, warm-weather colors. It is the color of compromise, so consider gray as your fashion base, particularly when looking to negotiate. It plays nicely with other colors and partners well with more personality-rich hues.
White contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum — it’s what we see when our eyes sense light. It’s the symbol of innocence, new beginnings, and purity. It’s also the color of medicine — we associate a doctor’s white coat with hope, health, and cleanliness.
White also aids mental clarity, which prompted the ancient Greeks to wear white to bed to encourage pleasant dreams. There’s no study to prove this will work, but hey, why not?
When to wear it: The white flag is a symbol of truce, making white a color to wear when you need to radiate neutrality and openness. And even if it isn’t a special moment that demands a peace-keeping vibe, a white T-shirt or white jeans are the epitome of classic, sophisticated casual style this and every season.
Anna Akbari, PhD, is a sociologist, entrepreneur, and the “thinking person’s stylist.” She is the founder of Sociology of Style, which takes an intelligent look at image and culture-related issues and offers holistic image consulting and life coaching services. Find out more and follow her on Twitter.