It’s the question on the mind of fashion lovers around the world – can orange really be the new black? According to fashion psychologists, it already is.
After spending the majority of the last year moping around in loungewear and PJs, many have emerged ready to experiment with their fashion this winter, and as it turns out, brands are here to support it.
Bold colours made a healthy appearance on catwalks for next year’s spring/summer collections, with the presence of bright and neon hues up 273 percent compared to last season.
The pandemic and its multitude of lockdowns may have taken a toll on our mental health, but in some ways, added time for self-reflection has had its benefits.
Fashion psychologist Dr Dawnn Karen has pointed out that time spent looking inward has found us trusting our own judgement more, and that also pertains to our style choices.
‘People are dressing for their best life,’ Dr Karen said. Opting for funky layers, pattern clashes, and bright colours, many have already abandoned what others think looks good and are instead following their own fashion compass.
‘They are receiving that internal validation. We are no longer looking towards others, we are looking towards ourselves,’ she continued.
As always, Gen-Z has played a pioneering role in driving this trend. Darker colours, once an emblem of all things mystique and chic, now appear boring and old-fashioned against the wardrobes of the younger population.
Psychologists in the business of fashion believe that we are starting to ‘dress ourselves happy’, harnessing the power of bright colours and mix-and-matched designs to shake off the last two years and offset coming cloudy days – or moods.
There is a ton of research that supports the power colour has on our day to day lives.
Just like a yellow room can induce feelings of anxiousness while neutral colours provide feelings of cosiness, many colour specialists agree that the shades we wear have significant impacts on our mood, behaviours, and stress levels.
For example, bright blue is ‘almost always associated with blue skies’ which correlates to calmness and time spend outside – perhaps a summer holiday or a childhood memory of playing on a sunny day.
Reds, oranges, and yellows can boost moods as they are attention grabbing, signifying enthusiasm, optimism, and energy.
Still not convinced? There’s a reason doctors wear white coats. Bright white is associated with cleanliness, balance, and neutrality. Check out the chart below to see the meanings associated with each shade on the colour wheel.
Clearly, artists, designers, and marketing teams understand that colour is a powerful tool of communication. Our style choices signal a lot about who we are – and that includes the hues that we choose to step out in each morning.
If you need any more evidence, several celebrities have already jumped onto the trend of bringing colours this season.
Amidst her highly publicised divorce from Kanye West, Kim Kardashian popped out in a series of hot pink, head to toe Balenciaga getups – a drastic change from the muted palettes of the Yeezy collections she wore throughout her marriage.
Kid Cudi, after recently announcing he is ‘happier than ever’ after being open about his ongoing mental health struggles, has made the switch from his typical dark jeans and leather jacket combo to donning neon-pink hair and bright green cardigans.
And while I’m certainly privy to an all-black-everything attire, it’s always fun to mix it up a bit. If slipping into a colourful coat can power me through the next few months of cold, grey days – I’m all for it.
I’m Jessica (She/Her), a writer at Thred. I moved to London to complete a master’s degree in Media and Communications after spending two years working in fashion PR in Amsterdam. Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn and drop me some ideas/feedback via email.
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