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08 September, 2015

JUST COLOR ME PURPLE: WHAT COLOR DO YOU LIKE TO WEAR?

The power of color to influence our behaviors and attitudes has been established by science and magnified by literature. Color plays a tremendous role in all of our lives, and has since ancient times, been used as a way of communicating to the world around us. In particular, the color of clothing has long been an important way of conveying special messages.

Of course, everyone is welcome to determine and define the meaning of these colors for themselves, but over the years certain colors have certainly become associated with certain messages in and of themselves.

Many years ago I was interviewing an inspirational speaker of considerable note, when out of the blue she said "That is a prophetic tie that you are wearing!"  That comment took me aback for the moment and when the interview ended I took it upon myself to explore the meaning of purple which was the color of the tie I was wearing at the time.  In fact that particular tie was the favorite in my substantial collection.  Being a color-coordinated kind of guy, I even think that I was wearing a purple shirt.

Here is what subsequent study revealed about the color purple (note the religious significance):

In ancient times, purple was a color of nobility. As early as 1500 BC, royal and wealthy individuals regularly donned purple throughout the Mediterranean region. Purple was particularly valued by these individuals because of its rarity – the dye used to create it was painstakingly extracted from Murexes (or, rock snails). 
 
Within the Christian tradition, purple is the color of Advent, which is a set of weeks before Christmas where each week celebrates an aspect of the coming of Christ.
 
Purple and its tones have long been connected with spirituality, and given their short wavelength are associated strongly with meditation and introspection. Setting aside old stigmas of nobility, one might find it helpful to don purple in times of self-exploration.  I still wear purple sometimes, although it is not easy to find on clothing racks these days.  Not that I'm trying to demonstrate nobility or spirituality...I just like the color.

You may be wondering what color best suits you too, or what message you might be sending by wearing certain colors. Below, is an analysis of several other popular shades coupled with some historical context so you can determine which one is best suited for you.

meaning of color

The symbolism of blue, white, cream, red, green, and purple may serve to evoke a certain emotion, highlight the mood of a specific liturgical season, or simply denote a special occasion.


In Catholic and Protestant traditions, green has become a sort of default color for Sunday services during which no special ceremony is taking place and there is no holiday being observed. Pagans and Wiccans have traditionally worn green to symbolize a close connection to the earth.


Green is a fresh color, and (being in the center of the color spectrum) can create feelings of balance and harmony. It’s also a color associated strongly with rebirth and renewal, so if you’re looking for a bit of seasonal variety green might be the most appropriate choice to don as Winter thaws and Spring warms blossoms back to life.

Blue is not actually a common liturgical color in Christianity. It can symbolize the divine law and is very common in the Jewish faith. It was also a color worn by the lower class in Biblical times. One might note that while Jesus is most commonly depicted wearing white, several artists have clothed him in shades of blue (which may be more historically accurate).


Blue also isn’t terribly common in Wicca. It can symbolize peace and tranquility, like a still water or a clear sky. Seasonally, blue might best capture Summertime. Survey after survey has indicated that blue is the world’s favorite color. Take an informal sampling of the room you’re in right now and we’re sure you’ll find that blue is the most commonly beloved shade. Blue is seen as a highly intellectual and communicative color, in addition to its calming effects and association with peace. In times of stress or turmoil, you might be wise to turn to blue.

In many cultures and faiths, white symbolizes purity and rebirth. It captures the blank slate where the old life has been washed away and the believer is a blank canvas to begin his or her spiritual journey.


White, for the same reasons, is also used frequently for weddings. The couple is coming together to create a new entity for the first time. Some weddings prefer a richer color scheme such as including a cream color rather than bright white. The white and cream colored stoles can be used interchangeably depending on your preferences. White is a tremendously powerful and moving shade. While it can communicate messages of purity and cleanliness, be warned that it can also (particularly if used in excess) overwhelm and send a sometimes harsh sense of sterility.  Another needless warning  -- white gets dirty easily!  But I think that it is a great summer color -- fresh and cool.

The color of fire and blood, red is associated with passion and trials.  It is a strong color, one commonly tied to strength, physicality, and courage. In scientific studies, red has been proven to elevate the pulse of humans … a response likely descended from the fight-or-flight mechanism we would have evolved to activate at the sight of blood.


Above all else, red is a stimulating and exciting color. Wearing red would be a smart choice when your intent is to evoke passion and activity in those around you.


Colors can have tremendous effects over us, but perhaps the most surprising thing you’ll learn as you begin to study their power is not the certain emotions that particular shades evoke… but that colors can move us in such significant ways. For example, in the 80s, a jail dealing with frequent bouts of violence experimented by painting its walls in a particular pinkish hue (Baker-Miller Pink, or “Drunk Tank Pink”) and reportedly saw a total and immediate end to violence outbursts.


As humans, we are visual creatures; despite the intellectual heights we’ve reached, we are still largely products of our environments. Color, while seemingly superficial, should be a facet considered as you consider what to wear, what colors to paint your room, or even what products to purchase.

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