Meaning of Colors

Meaning of colors is important when considering clothing colors. It can be helpful and advantageous for a gentleman to understand the meaning of colors and thier emotions so that he can appoint his attire with situation appropriate color compliments.

Nearly all colors have a set of symbolic meanings or emotions associated with them. All of the colors we perceive are roots from three primary colors (red, blue and yellow).

Combined in various quantities, primary colors make up all other colors. Two primary colors combine to create a secondary color and adding another creates a tertiary color. Varied combinations and quantities create tints, shades and hughes of a primary, secondary or tertiary color.

The result is an entire spectrum of colors perceived by the human eye. Below, is a lenghty discussion regarding the meaning of colors and relevance for mens clothing. The meaning of colors discussed here will be limited to only primary, secondary and some tertiary colors. The tint's, shades and hughes are up to you for interpretation.

  • Red: The color red is bold and assertive. It communicates to us (stop, halt, alert, attention) through intentional symbolism and it also represents our most intense emotions.

    Red is associated with feelings of both anger and love. While on the surface they seem like two opposite emotions, they are in fact both intense emotions that share similar characteristics (the opposite of love and hatred is actually indifference).

    Red is symbolic of many meanings or emotions such as power, aggression, strength, speed, love, anger, leadership, masculinity, danger, heat, blood, fire, energy etc.

    Red used appropriately in men's business attire can represent strength & leadership. Have you ever heard the reference to the "red power tie" that is worn by a president or other authoritative figures...this is the most common effect of red used sparingly in a man's business attire.

  • Orange: Orange is less assertive and intense as red and is soothed by the presence of yellow.

    Orange creates more of a calming feel and can be interpreted to represent balance, warmth, attention, energy, enthusiasm, and playfulness.

    Orange highlights in clothing colors for men can suggest a "get it done" attitude with a hint of a warm, balanced and playful approach.

  • Yellow: Yellow is almost always associated with feeling bright and happy in context to the meaning of colors. Yellow can elevate someone's mood. Yellow represents happiness, optimism, intelligence, idealism and hope but used in some specific contexts might also suggest cowardice, fear, weakness and warning.

    With men's business attire the color yellow displayed by a bright yellow tie can suggest hints of hopefulness, idealism and encouragement while also indicating that the wearer is confident and courageous

  • Green: Green like other colors has different meanings depending on what context it is used in. Green is associated with feelings of envy or mistrust and can also represent prestige, wealth and luck. Green is very natural and easily emblematic of today's sustainability movement.

    Green symbolizes nature, spring, fertility, youth, environment, wealth, money, jealousy, deceit, greed and corruption. Clothing colors in a business setting, green can be used in the sustainability sense, in the western sense of the connotation of "go" or approved as well as suggestive meanings like "new" or "start" or "monetize"

  • Blue: Blue is a color that can connote depression or sadness. "why so blue" we might ask when inquiring about a persons gloomy state. Blue however can also invoke feelings of security, confidence and stability. Blue is a calming, cool and loyal color.

    When used in the business setting it is intended to elicit feelings of unwavering confidence and coolness. Not many business suits can best a well tailored quality navy blue business suit.

  • Purple: Purple is the color of royalty, nobility and wisdom. Purple can be mysterious and sometimes arrogant.

    Purple in men's dress might be perceived as somber in terms of mourning or on a whole different spectrum invoke daring, dreamy and exotic emotions. Although not a brilliant color, purple is very passionate and can be clothing color successfully applied to a manís wardrobe and create strong undertones because itís not an "in your face" color.

  • White: White is beautiful and simple. Virgin, clean, crisp and sterile, white is classic and timeless. White coordinates, compliments, accents, highlights and offsets. White can be used in men's dress in many ways, from the highest formality of "white" tie to the everyday crisp white dress shirt.

    White can pull or point with a smart accent like a white pocket square. A mans wardrobe is decidedly insufficient without a few crisp white dress shirts. They are the most versatile and most valuable components of his wardrobe from formal to casual. White is a must for men's attire.

  • Black: Black like white is also timeless and classic. It is the most formal of colors (or lack thereof). Black is strong and serious. It is associated with death and darkness.

    Used in a man's wardrobe black formalizes. Too formal for typical business suits black can be used without a tie to smartly bridge informal dress and business casual. Black is unquestionably a staple clothing color for men's dress. Slacks, suits (used appropriately), shoes and accessories should all consider black elements or highlights.

  • Grey: Grey is a mix of the two timeless and classic colors white and black and understandably is the color or elegance, experience and neutrality. Grey is by physical composition the color of ambiguity being somewhere in between the diametrically opposed colors of white and black. In men's attire, grey is mature, wise and conservative.

  • Brown: Brown is earthy, rich, natural, rustic and calm. The color brown can be emblematic of stability, tradition, history, depth and truth. Brown in a man's wardrobe is affluent, consistent, instinctive, sage and measured. In terms of business attire brown is almost as necessary as white and black. Brown is certainly a must and undoubtedly a staple for men's shoe color.

  • Pink: Pink, like red, is associated with love but it is softer and less intense. Pink is sympathetic, flirty, tranquilizing and modern. Traditionally feminine pink has found it's way into mens dress and has become a wonderful addition to a well dressed mans wardrobe. Pink used appropriately can make a man look contemporary with hints of femininity which in turn can also imply confidence and virility.

As you can see, color knowledge can play a useful role in clothing color selection. Understanding the meaning of colors and symbolism is a savvy way to make suggestive hints about yourself and/or the situation you represent. These can be the unspoken messages your sending while you make a sharp presentation or the subtle undertones your creating when meeting new people.

The meaning of colors can be intersting or in some uses important. Advertising, dining, manufacturing etc. all use the meaning of colors as a means to either attract to manipulate. You too can use the meaning of colors to your advantage with the clothing you wear!

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