Colour plays a key role in our lives from the earliest days when a newly born baby is lying in his nursery which is coloured in delicate shades of pink or blue to create a relaxing atmosphere as the baby becomes a child.

Everyone uses and experiences colour every day, often without realising it!  We often describe moods by such phrases as feeling blue or being in the pink. Memories from an early age are linked to certain colours and children soon become assertive as to which colours they like wearing and which ones they don’t! Magazines suggest which colours are ideal for our clothes and which are perfect for the different rooms in our homes.

The scientific explanation for colour is that the seven main colours of the spectrum are produced by light being refracted through a prism because light waves travel at varying speeds and frequencies – with red at the lower end of the spectrum with high wavelengths and lower frequency and violet at the higher end of the spectrum with lower wavelengths and higher frequency. The classic example of nature’s display of this beautiful spectrum is the rainbow and many experts believe that it is no accident that different shades of each main colour can be found in nature. The Ancient Egyptians and Chinese both realised that colours affected man mentally and spiritually and that whilst shades of red made people tense, in contrast blue had a very calming effect. Colours are often described as being either the ‘cool’ colours of the spectrum or ‘hot’ colours with green being the midway and ‘balancing’ colour in the spectrum that brings harmony. In some countries a person who has experienced a trauma is wrapped in a green silk shawl to help them regain their ‘inner balance’ and to feel better.

At one end of the spectrum is violet which internationally has a spiritual connection and is used within many religions. In Greece the colour violet is linked to Bishops. Violet has a calming effect and can be successfully used to ease sleeping problems and stress. Conversely, the strong colour of red at the other end of the spectrum is linked to temper and anger but can also be used positively to boost energy levels when a person is tired and lethargic, as well as to boost low blood pressure and poor circulation. The least popular colour of all is orange but is a warming colour that is ideal for creative people, whilst blue is regarded as a calming, relaxing and healing colour which is thought to encourage people to communicate.

Colour consultants believe that the colours we choose to wear on a particular day mirror the mood we are in – red for independence and single-mindedness and a boost for self-esteem, and yellow when we are feeling cheerful, optimistic and carefree. Blue is viewed as a ‘safe’ or comfortable colour that we all like when we want to relax – no wonder blue jeans are so popular!

Choosing which colours to wear when you are older can be a challenge but shouldn’t be! The best guide to the colour palette that works for you is your skin. The colours that you wore when you are younger will probably suit you now but it is worth opting for softer hues of that colour because hair, skin and eye colours all become more delicate when people get older. Take a little extra time when you are shopping and drape the colour you are thinking of buying over your shoulder and see whether it brightens or dulls your face. Really bright colours, such as, scarlet can just overwhelm everything, but a softer rosy pink or burgundy could really work. Importantly don’t avoid colour, because interestingly few women can wear really pale colours that successfully.

Black and white are two really useful colours to have in the wardrobe, but very few people can wear these successfully close to their face. The best way to get around this (and for any other colour that doesn’t ‘suit’ you) is to wear them on the bottom half or if you have to wear a top that colour, wear a scarf in a colour that does suit you at the neck.

Enjoy looking at the new seasonal fashions and decide what is ‘age appropriate’ for you. Dress appropriately for your age and invest in a few good classic clothes that you can ‘ring the changes’ with using scarves. Be careful not to wear too many colours, one colour throughout always looks smart and keep things simple and avoid wearing scarves and loads of jewellery or someone might ask you if you work in a fairground with a crystal ball! Remember that wearing the correct shades of colour is the most important factor, with attractive outfits close behind. Regular maintenance is a key phrase and includes regular haircuts and keeping nails and skin as best as you can. Colour your world carefully, both yourself and your home, and you will receive many compliments…

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