In case you hadn’t noticed white is “in” this year. We’ve seen it everywhere from the runway to the Royals. It’s been worn by religious figures to representatives of both sides of the US political arena. It’s been suggested that white is the color of purity and signifies loftiness. This implies that the wearer exists on an elevated plane. Think, Mother Teresa.
But traditionally, we don’t think of white as a power color. We tend to reserve that concept for saturated hues like scarlet red. In reality, even red is not a color that screams “I’m in charge.” People who analyze the psychological effect of colors explain that different shades of red convey a great deal of energy. That ranges from very saturated scarlets to subtle corals.
That kind of energy is compelling and attractive. But these are not qualities that equate with being competent and worthy of our attention and admiration.
A power color has to have a specific vibrancy. This includes the vast range of blues including cobalt, azure, turquoise, lapis, navy, and peacock. They apparently contain visual frequencies that confer boldness on the person wearing it.
Of course, as with any color, it has to be the right shade of blue for the individual person. But in general, blue signifies trust (as in “true blue”) credibility, wisdom, and confidence. There’s depth in the various shades of blue that draw us in rather than overwhelming us.
So how did the color white suddenly become this year’s power color?
Well, the colors we see in fashion every year are largely determined by a private cabal called the “Trend Setters.” This group, working in cahoots with the Pantone people and the design houses, employ some arcane metrics to determine what colors have been popular in the past and what the next “logical” group of colors should be. And we’re stuck with whatever they come up with that year.
But frankly, we oldsters tend to look great in white so this year we’re in luck. That’s because for a lot of us, more the saturated colors in our palette are sometimes a little overpowering to our current skin tones. White is becoming a part of our new coloring anyway. This is witnessed by our changing eyebrows and hair color. So, the white that we associate with aging adds a quality of refinement to our persona.
Of course, as with any color, we have to pick the right shade of white for our skin tone. Those lucky women who whose striking coloring – jet black hair and very pale skin, or very dark skin – can wear bright white beautifully. Those of us with more sallow or warmer toned complexions have to lean in the direction of ivory. But wearing an all-white outfit is a great attention getter.
Personally, I love white as a fashion statement. There’s something subversive about it, particularly when worn by older people. It does give us a kind of power, the kind that comes with age and wisdom. And it gives us license to be fairly outrageous in our behavior… and get away with it!
Do you wear white? Do you have a favorite white garment? Other than white, what is your favorite color? Please join the conversation below.