“Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.”
Did you ever feel drawn to a particular color, as though it were speaking to you in a “deep and mysterious language” as in the Gauguin quote above?
There’s more than what meets the eye…
Here’s the thing about color and fashion: sure, you want to wear something that flatters all your gorgeous features, but there’s more to choosing the right color than first meets the eye.
Some colors beckon to us; others seem to repel us. And some, we shrug our shoulders at and say “take it or leave it.” What resonates with us one day may not be very appealing the next.
So when it comes down to choosing a garment – whether that’s a Chanel suit or a chenille robe – I always recommend you not only seek out what flatters you, but also what color you’re most drawn to.
Join me as I explore the meaning and brief history behind colors. Then the next time you’re on the fence about which color to choose, you can refer back to the various meanings and see which seems like the best match for you!
Just a quick heads-up: this is a very, very l-o-n-g post, so I’ve made things easy for you in case you don’t have time to read the entire piece. Click on any link below to jump to the color of your choice:
- Ravish Me Red
- The Sweet Innocence of Pink
- The Citrusy Burst of Orange
- Lighthearted, Cheerful Yellow
- Blue, Your Strong and Steady Friend
- Prestigious Purple
- Nothing Refreshes Like Green
- White, A Timeless Classic
- For a Hint of Sophistication, Grey
- The Mysterious and Misunderstood Black
- Your Connection to Earth, Brown
Ravish Me Red
Fierce, intense and powerful, red is a force to be reckoned with. Maybe that’s why it’s used in street signs and otherwise used to indicate danger of some kind. If you’re a vixen who likes turning heads, red is sure to get you noticed!
Most people think of it as an energetic, stimulating color that’s associated with power, strength, passion, and of course…love (think: Valentine’s Day). However, some people associate true red with lust and think pink better represents love.
Because it’s a stimulating color, red can speed up your respiration rate and blood pressure, and is often used in marketing – think “Sign up now!” or “Buy today” buttons to encourage fast decisions. Restaurants have long known that red can also boost appetite and increase food cravings. Yummy!
For some, excess red can induce feelings of anger and agitation; too little red can make us cautious and fearful. In many Eastern cultures, red was a traditional color of good fortune.
Thinking about upping the va va voom factor with a red garment? It might be perfect for you if you want to symbolize confidence, enthusiasm, vigor, vibrancy, radiance, or courage. If too much red leaves you feeling over-stimulated but you’d still like to wear the color, choose something with a few pops of red instead.
The Sweet Innocence of Pink
Ahhh, sweet pink…the color of sugary delish cake frosting, granny’s favorite garden roses…of sugar and spice and everything nice. Hands down, we’ve found pink is the #1 go-to favorite color in chenille robes. Put two identical robes with matching patterns and design side-by-side, and the pink one will be gone first, every time.
So, as you probably already knew, pink has strong connotations with romance, femininity, charm and grace, love, friendship, and serenity. If red is pumping with action and fiery desire, pink is gracefully ambling along, bringing gentleness and love to the atmosphere.
I suppose it’s not a mystery why so many of you choose pink for your robes (us too!). Just think of phrases like “in the pink,” indicating healthiness. How many times have you heard “everything’s rosy” to suggest that things are going well? Plus, pink represents that inner sweetness – the child within.
It’s comforting, warm, and inviting. Pink can help banish feelings of aggression, evoke feelings of nostalgia, and make you feel like you’re being wrapped in a big hug. Excess pink is thought to induce immaturity or childlike behavior, and very large amounts of pink can even make you feel physically weak.
The Citrusy Burst of Orange
When I think of orange, just the word makes me feel a citrusy-tangy burst of energy. Indeed orange is frequently associated with enthusiasm, happiness, encouragement and happiness. Orange is a “social” color that joins together the deep vigor of red with the lighthearted cheer of yellow.
A well-known appetite stimulant, you’ll see orange in some restaurants where it’s used to promote good appetites and lively conversation. It’s more subtle than red, but it certainly gets the job done. Of course, if weight loss is your goal, this is one color you don’t want in your kitchen 😉
Are you inspired to wear an orange garment? You might be feeling extroverted and independent – or maybe you want to embrace the freedom of being yourself while opening up to new ideas.
Orange is warm and inviting, but too much of this zesty color can awaken self-centered qualities. If you’re feeling a dip in motivation and self-esteem, a little burst of this friendly color might be just what you need.
Lighthearted, Cheerful Yellow
Hello, Sunshine! Filled with happiness, hope and joy, yellow actually has dual meanings. While its good side often represents positivity, clarity, and focus, dingier varieties of yellow can represent decay or caution. In fact, too much yellow can make you feel unsettled – even babies cry more in yellow rooms.
Believe it or not, yellow can make you feel more mentally focused, to the point of being analytical and even critical. Yellow is associated with non-emotional aspects, so think of it as being associated with the “head” and not the “heart.” Yellow, especially when it’s bright, grabs attention and is considered a spontaneous, unstable color.
For ages, people have chosen yellow gemstones to increase clarity, enhance concentration, and alleviate negative energies such as nervous tension, panic, or sheer exhaustion. Yellow is the color of courage in Japan.
Are you drawn to yellow? If you want to wear it in a garment, you may wish to tap into its cheerful side, stimulating your mind and bringing a lightheartedness into your day. Need an infusion of joy or a burst of confidence? Yellow might be your color today.
Blue, Your Strong & Steady Friend
The color of sea and sky, blue is symbolic of calm, peace and tranquility. Whereas red is thought to outwardly represent vigor and confidence, blue is associated with inner security and poise. In contrast to stimulating red, blue is thought to be an appetite suppressant.
Other words that come to mind for the color blue: wisdom, truth, trust, intellect, depth, understanding, integrity, stability and cleanliness. Darker blues tend towards power and seriousness and are popular in corporate America. Lighter blues are linked with relaxation, softness and health, and are often used in settings that focus on mind and body, like salon/spas.
Are you planning to grab a blue garment to wear today? Blue can be your strong and steady guide or a lightweight, airy friend. While a brilliant blue can turn up the drama, softer shades can help bring a stabilizing calm to your atmosphere.
An excess of this color can leave you “feeling blue” as the saying goes, bringing about feelings of melancholy or sadness. A lack of blue in your life might leave you feeling timid or stubborn. As with everything in life, it’s all about balance.
Author Jennifer Bourn sums up this regal color purple perfectly, “Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red.” Purple isn’t a particularly common color in nature (or in chenille!), so it’s sometimes associated with that which is considered sacred or spiritual. It’s long been associated with prestige, royalty, luxury, and wealth.
Purple is for you if you need a boost of spirits or you want to soothe your frayed nerves. It’s also perfect for enhancing your inner creativity. Interestingly, the lavender plant with its delicate smelling sprigs is strongly linked with peace, calm, and relaxation. It has long been used to calm anxiety and promote a sense of stability. And maybe, purple might help awaken your inner child – it’s said that 3 in 4 children choose it over all other colors!
Most people find that lighter shades of purple evoke feelings of romanticism and a touch of nostalgia, while darker shades or an excess of purple in general may feel gloomy or even negative. This isn’t surprising, given that the color itself is a blend of a strong warm (red) and a strong cool (blue) color.
Did you know? Lavender is often dubbed the “mature” or grown-up pink.
Nothing Refreshes Like Green
It’s no surprise that the color of spring and nature in general – green – is oft associated with growth, renewal, and rebirth. Green is also the color of the heart chakra, and is thought to bring balance to the heart as well as the emotions. People associate this color with all sorts of things, from money to safety to healing and stability.
Green brings together the sunny optimism of the color yellow, along with the stable calm of blue. So it’s no surprise that it can help with anxiety and depression. It’s often indicative of safety, health, adventure and harmony.
Excessive green can make some people feel sluggish and moody, and it’s also important to keep in mind that different variations of green carry a variety of meanings. Darker greens are sometimes linked with greed and jealousy – just think of the phrase “green with envy.” Green is also connected with newness – for instance some people call a newbie or novice a “greenhorn.”
Thinking of choosing a garment with predominant greens? It might be a good choice if you’re striving for balance, need a boost of optimism, or want to symbolize new growth.
White, A Timeless Classic
Clean, pure, airy and cool, white exudes simplicity. It represents fresh new beginnings, as well as clarity and renewal. Other words that often come to mind when people think of white include angelic/heavenly, faith, sincerity, innocence and perfection.
While many of us often think of white as being the go-to color of choice for weddings, in other cultures white is related to death and mourning. Interestingly, though white can be associated with death in some cultures, death itself represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.
But what about too much of a good thing? Excessive white can give an overly cold and sterile appearance, and ultra bright white can cause headaches in some.
Legends say that the famed reclusive poet Emily Dickinson took to wearing all white. Though there is no concrete evidence to confirm this, Mabel Loomis Todd, who served as editor of posthumously published editions of Dickinson’s work said this: “She dresses wholly in white, & her mind is said to be perfectly wonderful.”
Is white the right choice for you? People with cool skin tones often look best in clean true whites, while those with warm tones do best in off-whites and ivories. And if you’re looking for a garment to symbolize a new beginning, it might just be the color for you!
For a Hint of Sophistication, Grey
Of mist and fog, gray (or grey, if you wish) is an in-between color. Neither black nor white, grey is cool and emotionless. It evokes a range of interesting associations, from dingy, cold and dull to timeless, sophisticated and formal.
This neutral color has been known to provoke unsettling feelings – yet it’s also practical, mature, and sensible. It might sound like grey has a lot of negative connotations, but in reality, it’s the perfect color to create a sense of stability and calm. It lacks the stimulating, energizing energy of reds and oranges, yet it can be the perfect match in corporate environments especially where conservative, formal dress is valued.
Too much grey can feel isolating, but you can change this by adding pops of other colors to liven things up. This isn’t a color that’s found very often in chenille, but we did have a robe that was a winter ice grey with burgundy accents. It was one of the most elegant pieces we ever had in our entire collection of vintage chenille robes.
Grey doesn’t seek attention because its stable conservative nature doesn’t need to. Dress it up with berry shades for a touch of sophistication. Grey also brings out icy blue or blue-grey eyes. Lighter variations of grey are thought to be more feminine; darker greys tend towards greater levels of masculinity.
Mysterious & Misunderstood Black
Often misunderstood, black is a mysterious color associated as much with elegance and prestige as it is with death and the unknown. Black is the absence of color; it’s powerful and formal and strong. For some, it can bring about strong emotions and feelings of grief, gloom, or emptiness.
How often have you heard that black makes you look slimmer? You may also know that black pairs well with bright colors and can create an aggressive color scheme when worn with reds or oranges.
Black is not seen very often at all in chenille, though it can be found in small doses in accents or corded belt ties. However, if you want an all-black robe, you can easily buy new chenille sold by the yard at large fabric stores or at online marketplaces like Etsy.
If you’re drawn to black, you may enjoy the mystery it represents. Maybe the elegant sophistication appeals to you, or its quiet confidence. Who knows, perhaps that inner rebel in you is encouraging you to go against the grain and rock an all-black outfit today.
Since black is my own go-to color, I’ll give you my take. Black gets a bad rap. Many of us in creative/artistic fields choose black not because it “hides,” but because it enhances. Think about how a large statement necklace or an artsy pair of dangle earrings stand out against a black outfit.
This same jewelry might easily overpower an outfit in a different color or pattern. But with black, you can make the right accessories pop, while bringing attention to your beautiful silhouette. When it comes to black, I urge everyone to “Judge not by appearances…” 🙂
Brown, Your Connection to Earth
Earthy and inviting, brown represents wholesomeness, approachability, simplicity and reliability. It’s often associated with the fall and winter seasons, and has connotations with home, healing, security, and steadfastness. Perhaps given its connection to earth and nature, it’s not surprising that so many original hippie dresses from the 1970s era often featured brown floral prints.
Browns can bring a grounding warmth, a sense of connectedness to soil, wood, and Mother Earth herself. Some people think brown can make you feel as though you belong, and it’s also thought to create an insulating effect, keeping you safe from outer stresses.
Brown has a quiet confidence, and it’s never over-the-top, excessive or showy. Dark brown pants paired with an ivory cardigan set can look just as classy as the same outfit would with black pants.
Some people strongly associate browns and other earthtones with the 1970s through early 80s era and consider it dated and dull. But give brown a chance – dress it up with a classic blouse or go carefree and casual in an earthy – mama maxi skirt.
When it comes to chenille, brown is available but not nearly as common as some other colors. Our favorite shades are warm and cozy cappuccinos and deep dark decadent chocolates, which also look great with bright pops of jubilant chenille flowers.
Which color suits your personality?
Well, there you have it…a rundown of the most common colors and their associated meanings. While this list is certainly not all-inclusive, hopefully it’s a helpful guide.
As you’ve likely noticed, practically every color has dual meanings. Red can be passionate and invigorating or aggressive and angry. Black is associated with darkness and gloom, but it can also be the go-to color for classic sophistication.
When you’re trying to pick a color, I say pick the one that resonates most with you. Sure it’s fun to read about all the different associations each color has.
It’s important to remember that your own unique energy will combine with whatever color you’re wearing on any given day. This affects not only how you perceive yourself and your appearance, but how others perceive you as well.
Energy is powerful and it is unspoken, and that, many times, is more important than any stereotypical connotation a color holds. If you feel your inner energy of power manifesting every time you put on a blue dress – it doesn’t matter that the dress is blue and not fire engine red. What matters is that YOU feel powerful wearing it – and it’s that essence, that energy, that you’re going to bring into the world at that moment.
In the end, only one person can decide which color is the best choice to reflect your unique personality and to awaken your highest qualities – you!
Charlotte Jane is an avid collector of antique and vintage linens and other textiles, with a particular fondness for vintage chenille bedspreads. Her purpose? To infuse beauty into every corner of our magnificent Mother Earth – and to encourage others to do the same. She believes we all have creative gifts and that by allowing this inner creativity to guide us, we deepen our connection with other Souls – and our understanding of our own unique Paths….