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Why is colour important?

December 6, 2010

Colour has been explored in almost every field of study from mythology, anthropology and architecture, to science, medicine and psychology.  Colour has also been symbolic through time.  Historical records have shown that Egyptians placed value on the sun colours, while in China, the Emperor reserved the colour gold for personal use.  The Romans experimented with the “Pompeii reds” and the Greeks lavished their robes and designs with emerald greens and peacock blues. Colour influences our lives in a dramatic way: it can direct or divert the eyes, delight, or dignify. A flattering colour can enhance your mood and make you feel great. In the same way, the wrong colour can make you feel irritable all day long.

Not everyone is born with an ‘eye’ for colour. However you can learn to use colour so that it works for you and sends the messages that you want to communicate.

Colour Definitions

One of the simplest ways to classify people into different groups of colour is to use two main categories; warm or cool and four sub- categories: light, medium, dark and contrasting.

Your main category is determined by the undertone of your skin, hair and eye colours.  Your sub-category is determined by the value (intensity) of your skin, hair and eye colours.

It is often useful to have your colours determined by a professional, as this could save you quite a bit of money in the future. Once you know what suits you, you will not be tempted to buy any more clothing in the wrong colours.

How to use Colour to flatter your Figure

Your most flattering, beautiful colours can be used to divert the eye to areas you wish to emphasize and away from those problem areas.  If your face is your asset, you should wear a bright colour which intensifies your skin and eye colour, next to your face.  Nobody would even pay attention to large hips, or a beer belly.

A rule of thumb to remember about colour: Dark colours distract the eye and minimize, while light or bright colours draw attention and maximize.  Neutral, subdued colours hide figure flaws.

A few tips on how to lose 10kg in 30 seconds / to look taller and slimmer

  • Simply wear the same colour / shades of the same colour (that is, a suit/top and bottom) from head to toe.  Create interest by wearing different textures.  You could also choose a shirt in a brighter / lighter shade. Now you’ve created a VERTICAL Line – slimming.  This will also emphasise your face;
  • You look TALLER when you wear a LIGHT colour from head to toe.  Also try to match hose / socks and shoes to hemline colours;
  • You will also look TALLER when you repeat the same colour TONES in top and bottom. For example medium top and medium bottom;
  • Vice versa: You minimize your UPPER TORSO when you wear a DARKER TOP and LIGHTER BOTTOM;
  • You will appear shorter / heavier when you wear a different colour in your skirt/slacks, hose / socks and shoes.

Colour Balance

The right amount of colour in the right place equals COLOUR BALANCE.  Your jacket, blouse / shirt, skirt even earrings add a certain percentage of colour to your overall clothing statement.

Avoid wearing a 50:50 colour ratio. Why? It cuts your body in half visually and therefore creates an unflattering horizontal line. For example, ladies black twin set, red skirt, black shoes and hose.  More flattering: black jersey, red camisole, red skirt and black accessories or: black jersey, black top, red and black skirt, black shoes and neutral hose.

Guys usually wear a 50:50 colour ratio (for example: green shirt, black pants).  To make this look more flattering, add a tie which combines shades of green/black.

The Spiritual Meanings of Colour

According to Howard and Dorothy Sun (Colour your Life), understanding colour opens new dimensions to our spiritual awareness.

“Colour can transform our environment and increase our productivity. It can enhance our social life, and improve our state of health. It can be used to develop our self- awareness and make us more fully alive and more colourful human beings” (p 7 Colour your Life)

Each energy chakra in the body is associated with a specific colour. The correct use of colour in your environment and in your wardrobe could literally be used to help heal yourself and balance your chakras. Consult Howard and Dorothy Sun’s fascinating book “Colour your Life” for much more information on this topic.


Suzaan was born in Cape Town and has been working as an Image and EQ Consultant in Cape Town and Johannesburg since 1998. She uses a combination of modalities, such as Psychology and Spirituality, to inspire, effect positive change, and bring about psychological adaptability and spiritual growth in her clients. Suzaan has an Honours Degree in Psychology (University of Port Elizabeth), but firmly supports a holistic healing approach targeting body, mind and

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