“What colors should I wear?” : Factors affecting Colour Trends for your clothes

Colour is everywhere, affecting our moods, our fashion sensibilities, even our appetites. It is the first thing you notice when you look at something. So when it comes to selecting clothes, color plays a very big role.

The same garment that looks beautiful on one person can look hideous on another.  One of the major factors that result in this difference in visual perception is the colour of the garment. Hence designers are particularly concerned about the best use of colours in their creations.Colour is in the center stage of fashion.

what colour do i wear

When there is  question of "Which colour is best for me?" no single answer can say it all. There are a million colours and a million interpretations to those colours. How can you restrict yourself to a specific paradigm, when there are so many different factors affecting your choice of colours.

For individuals, a knowledge of different colours and identifying the perfect colours for them can have a lasting effect on their whole outlook  and image in the outside world - whatever be the trend /fashion of the moment. Check out this post on the mixing and matching of colours to find the right colour combination for your clothes as per the colour wheel.

Color Trends - Factors affecting your choices

There are some major factors that affect our colour choices. But they do not work in isolation from each other; our choices are a combination of all of these. But most of the time one of these factors outweigh others in our final choice of colour

Age and gender of the wearer

Your 5 year old kid would not like a shirt in a colour preferred by his 70 year old grandfather. When selecting a shirt for your kid you would be going for yellows, minty greens etc instead of cream or grey or blue your dad may prefer.

Pinks, peach, lavender, soft yellows are preferred universally for kids clothes; but as they go older they may look for brighter purple, reds etc. The older seems to prefer more mature and earthy colours like tan, terracotta, blue etc

As you age,changes in the skin and the color of the hair are also to be taken into consideration when selecting colour.

Stereotyping colour preferences based on gender will raise the hackles of my equality advocating daughter, raising the sexist banner on me but  they do exist. I bet my husband would stare blank if asked to prefer between teal and seafoam green, whereas I know their difference in my sleep. He knows plum as a fruit, not as a colour.

But both men and women  have their strong colour preferences; sometimes in the opposite sides of the colour spectrum, sometimes uncannily similar.

In a study it was found that blue is a universally liked colour. But have you seen a man actively choosing a candy pink purse , though I would in a jiffy.  Men seem to prefer blue and women shades of red in a comparative study that I read recently

You may get lost in the world of colour names - understandably so because there are so many hues and shades. I have a post identifying the colour names for your convenience - so that everytime you see a colour you can confidently identify it " A reference guide of 100+ color names in fashion".

Physical attributes of the wearer

Factors like Size of the person, hair colour, skin tone,and eye colour  can also influence colour selection

 Hair colour


If you have blonde hair / golden hair, usually this is accompanied with fair skin and blue eyes.

Hair with blue undertones (such as platinum or ash blond, auburn red, and snow-white and jet black). These combinations are good with cool colours like pastel pinks, beige, pale green, light blues, and purples

Hair with golden undertones (such as honey or strawberry blond, rust red, brown or brownish black, or creamy white) - Warm colors or colors with orange or yellow undertones work well.

If you have black or brown hair go for rich and vivid colours.

Grey hair looks good with cool colours like Navy blue and midnight blue.  

 Skin colour

If you have fair skin you will look better in cool colours like blue and green; soft and pastel colours like soft yellow, peach, lavender, mint green, alabaster;  neutral colours like ivory ; jewel tones like coral, are all good with fair skin.

If you have darker skin with a warm tinge you will look better in warm colours like  red, orange and yellow ; earth tones   like  green, orange, olive, blue, navy, emerald, burgundy, ruby; plum white and pink can also suit dark skinned.

Warm colors have a golden / orange or yellow undertone; cool colors a blue undertone

Light skinned people look better in silver colors and dark-skinned in gold colors; though there are exceptions to this rule.

fashion colours

 Eye colour

Blue, gray or green eyes - if you have any of these eye colours you will gravitate towards cool colours. If you have brown, hazel or amber eyes you would prefer to have warm colors in your wardrobe

If you have beautiful eyes and you want to emphasize this, use a darker shade of the eye colour near your face ( as a shawl, wrap, or hat) 

 Body size

If you are on the petite side and you want to look slightly larger in stature, you would prefer to wear white or light coloured clothes than a slimming black or navy blue.

Warm colours make the object look bigger than cool colours. Bright  shades of a colour makes you look bigger than dark deep shades of the same colour. Dark and dull colours do recede the figure.So a bright red will make you look far bigger than you will look in a darker shade of red.

Neutral colours like white , black , off-white are good at neutralizing lines and projections. So if you have anything to hide like an unsightly bulge at the love handles, soft lines in neutrals should be chosen than a bright red.

colour trends

Wearing black is slimming. But if you are overweight covering your body in folds of black from top to toe may make you look bigger than otherwise.Check out this post on 30+ dressing tips to look slim for more details.


If you are going to an evening party with plenty of artificial lighting you can wear very bright colours and still not look garish.Artificial lighting at these venues can soften bright colours and make the colour look glamorous.

For a business function, brown is a dependable colour whereas pink may make you seem somewhat frivolous in that setting.

For  afternoon functions in the broad daylight, you can opt for soft colours which are not too bright.

So choosing colours according to the occasion is important as well. Not adhering to this can land you in trouble at times. In the West black colour worn at funerals but in the East, white is the predominant colour at funerals.

For a creative pitch a navy blue colour suit may project the label of being not creative enough whereas red can give the vibe of an extremely creative energy

Time of wearing the colour

On sunny days you are better off wearing light cool colours to keep your cool. Black is not the best colour for sun. In fact white is the best colour for sunny summer days.

For winter I would say warm colours fare better. Choose browns and reds. you will feel less blue.

Fashion trends and celebrity craze

This is more of a factor than you know.  Going after fashion trends after analysing yourself is better than following blindly.

Find celebrities that match your bodyshape and skin and other attributes, notice what they wear and follow them. They have stylists who knows their job and following them would do you more good than say, me wearing Jennifer Lawrence's clothes, just because I love her.

Visual effects of colors

what colour should i wear

Colours can have different reactions from people, depending on their associations with it. But generally, the colour theory and its offshoots have categorized colour and given them different attributes, which are universally agreed upon.

Basically colour is divided into three categories: Warm, cool and neutral colours

Warm colours are red, orange, yellow and all the colours in between. Red is the warmest colour. These are high energy colours. It is said that these colours stimulates a special chemical called dopamin in our body which makes us feel good. Warm colors  are considered advancing, stimulating, and exciting. They make objects or shapes appear larger or more important.

Cool colours are blue and green violet and colours in between. Blue is the coolest colour. They are considered receding, quieting, and reserved. These colors make shapes and areas appear smaller and less important.

Neutral colours are black, white, grey and the colours in between.Most of use prefer neutral colours for their elegance but sometimes they can be energy draining. The negative energy given by these colours have to be relieved with some splashes of colour.

Explanations of different colours and why you should wear them.

white dress


White is a classic colour, favourite of one and all, the symbol of purity and innocense. Designers use white a lot because most everyone prefers this colour one way or the other. Lacy sheer white to brocade white with double tones, white clothes and accessories are always in demand.

The hassle of maintaining the purity of white colour wear after wear do not deter white lovers from investing in more and more clothes of this colour. Check out this post on maintining , washing and caring for white clothes, so that the white colour is maintained.

Because of its quality of making  an object look bigger, white is not the most easiest coloir to work with but if played right this colour can be an asset in your wardrobe. Another disadvantage of white is that it can make you look washed out, without a relief.Pairing it right with other colours can make this colour an asset to your wardrobe

off white

   Offwhite, cream, beige and fawn

These belong to the natural colour group, ie they are associated with the colours of natural fabrics like straw, hessian , hemp , canvas etc. The raw look of these colours are preferred by many. There are people who prefer to wear only these colours. If not careful, these colours in their entirety can make you look quite boring. But generally these colours are becoming for most people.


Pink is a feminine colour. It can give out a feeling of cheerfulness, liveliness. One disadvantage of wearing pink is that you can be judged frivolous or at least not serious enough in a formal environment. Fuscia pink is a vibrant colour giving out a lot of energy vibes.


Yellow is a cheerful, lively and fun colour, the colour of sunshine. It is a good colour to treat ourself out of depressing moods as it denotes optimism. The mood elevating property of yellow is to be used cautiously though as sometimes bright yellow colour can be quite jarring and over stimulating.

Yellow is thought of as a suitable colour for kids. A soft yellow can be good for kids, cheering them up and stimulating their minds. It can also be good for raising self esteem in them.


This is another energizing colour. It is a colour that is very inviting and exudes warmth. It is also associated with joy and festivities.


Black is a slimming colour which wins it many brownie points. It is a slightly depressing colour when worn on its own , and can sometimes overwhelm the wearer but the elegant and powerful look of black makes it still an all time  favourite colour, when done right. If you have sallow skin, avoid black colour, because it may make you look wan.


This is a colour which gives a feel of the futuristic. Using this colour wholly for clothes can make you look like someone from the space but a hint of silver can be a good thing.



A calming colour, green is used for its natural feel. Think leaves, plants, shrubs, vines etc. Everything related to the natural landscape can have that effect on you.

The bright green can give out amazing energy and make you feel young. Lime green is such a vibrant energetic colour wheras a pale green is a very soothing colour.Pantone.com says green is a colour of harmony and balance and of well being. Do you want more recommendation.?


Red is the colour of power. If you want to stand out in the crowd this is the colour for you. Ever wondered why the speaker in the podium wearing red is quite an attention grabber. People look at you and take note of what you say, be it in a more negative or positive way - they do.

If you are the introvert you would skip red because it will bring all attention to you. Red can also be overstimulating, so if you want peace and quite skip red

Check out the post on more tips on getting the Red colour look right.

colour trends


Violet is a calming colour.

choose colors


Blue is a universally liked colour - a colour that denotes honesty, calmness, trustworthiness. There are many shades of blue and they  mean many different things. A light blue like sky blue is very calming and a cobalt blue very energizing and a dark midnight blue may look dull and dark.

Navy blue is a formal colour. This traditional colour can make you look authoritative and trustworthy. It can also make you give an intellectual aura.

The problem with dark blue is that it can be a little boring and make you look less creative than maybe you are inside; but it is a safe colour and a favourite of many.




This is a colour which proclaims dependability. A chocolate brown suit can make you seem trustworthy and likable. People warm up to you more when you wear brown.

Lucky colors & Star signs

Do you believe in luck? If you do, you may wish to check out colours that bring on luck according to your star signs

Star SignLucky Colour
TaurusPink, Baby Blue
CancerBlue, White
VirgoGreen, Brown
LibraPink, Light green
SagittariusPurple, Dark blue
CapriconDark green, Black, Brown
PiscesLight Green


The mind is a curious thing and even if brown suits me the best I choose pink every time I go to buy something. My desire triumphs over my logical brain.

Ultimately it is your personallity that determines the colours you wear. Personality is the sum of everything we have described and more.

Personality over rides most of the above factors and decides the colour of clothes you buy. So after factoring everything, narrow down on the colours you personally prefer to wear and do your own thing

Read more: Infographic @ Kissmetrics.com

Fashion Makeover, Brenda Kinsel, Chronicle books.





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