Boost Your Mood With Color

Boost Your Mood With Color

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Seeing red. Feeling blue. Green with envy. There’s no denying that colors are inextricably linked with mood. Slip on a tailored LBD and you instantly feel chic and sexy or pop open a sunny yellow umbrella on a gloomy day and some of that sunniness will undoubtedly rub off on you.

There are several reasons why colors are able to influence how we feel. “We react on multiple levels of association with colors—there are social or culture levels as well as personal relationships with particular colors,” explains Leslie Harrington, executive director of The Color Association of The United States, which forecasts color trends. “You also have an innate reaction to color. For example, when you look at red, it does increase your heart rate. It is a stimulating color. This goes back to caveman days of fire and danger and alarm.”

QUIZ: What’s Your Mood?

You also have learned certain associations with color, such as red making your heart race since it’s linked with fire trucks and ambulances (in other words, alarm) or yellow having positive association simply because it was the color of your beloved grandmother’s kitchen. “As you get older, you become much more conscious of those learned reactions than the innate ones,” adds Harrington.Jeannie Mai, who hosts “How Do I Look?” on the Style Network and who recently paired up with Yoplait Light to encourage women to make simple swaps (from giving your clothes a boost of color to swapping out unhealthy eating habits), is a firm believer in the ability of clothes to boost your mood. She calls it “wearapy.” “Therapists treat people with mood disorders,” she says. “I use clothing and texture to enhance people’s moods and their lives. On a bleak day it would be so easy to throw on a pair of jeans and a slouchy sweater, but I throw on something from spring—a green mini skirt, fun fringe booties and a sweater with evening jewelry. That makes an impression on everyone around me, but it also makes me feel cute. And when you feel cute, you feel better. You can channel the different moods you want with different colors.”

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Feel like changing your frame of mind for the better? Play around with these colors when picking out your clothes, makeup and accessories

:Seeing RedRed is the hot, crazy girl of colors, evoking powerful emotions such as fear, anger and passion. “Red would be one of the most complicated colors,” says Harrington. Unlike, say, yellow, which is sunny whether it’s a pale or bright version of the shade, the mood red conveys changes dramatically when you lighten it (sweet and innocent pink) or darken it (sophisticated burgundy).

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Although research shows that the best way for a single gal to attract a guy’s attention is to wear red, you may be garnering attention you don’t necessarily want. “There’s a reason they call it the red light district,” notes Harrington. Adds Andrew Elliot, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Rochester: “We link red to passion because red is the color we exhibit on our skin when sexually interested—a red flush or blush.”Rather than having your outfit scream “sex kitten” (unless that’s what you’re going for), the best way to rock this passion-producing color and get into a sexier frame of mind is by carrying a red clutch, donning a bright red polish on your nails (try Essie Well Red) or lining your lips in the right red. “Red lips can be your best accessory, especially if you’re wearing all black,” says Harrington. “You have to be confident to do it and have the right shade of red for your skintone.”

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