While brainstorming blog post ideas during a weekly staff meeting last week, we all agreed, that winter brights can be a great antidote for the bleakness that the season brings. With this idea in mind, a few days later, I noticed a woman at my workout class wearing a bright red outfit. I couldn’t help but remark on how fantastic it was. She responded that her red workout look lifted her spirits during the grey winter weather. It was like a sign that my blog topic was right on target. Not only was it a pick-me-up for her, but it lifted my spirits, as well.
HOW COLOR SCIENTIFICALLY AFFECTS MOOD
In a past post about color, I talked about how color can affect mood. In that post, I wrote that colors have a symbiotic relationship with energy and matter. Every color has a different energy, frequency, and wavelength which is why each color can affect your moods differently. Color stimulates the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which functions under involuntary and subconscious control and regulates the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system which includes things like physiologic processes, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. The autonomic nervous system works to keep the body balanced and regulated.
Color can balance the autonomic nervous system by creating electrical impulses that activate photoreceptors in the brain. When you look at a color, those photoreceptors in the eyes send the message that is then directly sent to and identified by the retino-hypothalmic tract. The retino-hypothalmic is a fascinating tract and a masterful pacemaker for circadian rhythms that transmits information about environmental luminance levels through medial and lateral branches to four major terminal fields in the hypothalamus. This process is why scrolling through your Facebook feed to fall asleep has the opposite effect, and why blue light glasses are so popular. Next, The hypothalamus sends neurons to the spinal cord which fires neurons to the sympathetic trunk. These neurons initiate blood vessels to constrict or dilate which leads to either an increase or a decrease in heart rate. Fascinating, right? This is why there is a therapy called chromotherapy, or, simply, color therapy.
CAN BRIGHT COLORS HELP WITH SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
Well, I certainly can’t say one way or another but I did read this interesting article about the topic that discusses it further. In the article, Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director at the Pantone Institute said, “Just as sunshine can make us happier for the [aforementioned] reasons, we can help to induce that hopeful feeling by wearing something yellow,” Eiseman said, adding that when other people see someone in a bright color, they, too, might feel happier. “It’s interesting that it can start a chain reaction that creates a more positive energy for the person wearing the colors as well as those who observe the color.”
ADDING WINTER BRIGHTS TO YOUR LOOKS
I have added some winter brights to the looks in today’s post. In some looks, all it takes is a splash of color and in others, I have created some more colorful outfits. Sometimes, a pop of color is all you need.
This bright scarf from Kurt Geiger adds a pop to this neutral look showing that it doesn’t take much to give an outfit some brightness. The scarf is styled with this charcoal coat from Sandro, a pair of straight-leg jeans from Rag & Bone, and a cropped turtleneck sweater from Madewell. The look is finished with faux fur-lined grey Chelsea boots from TOMS, and soft purple gloves from BA&SH.
Layered over this blue and white check button-up by The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens, I added a bright orange wool and cashmere sweater from Nordstrom. I styled the look with a pair of slim straight pants from Spanx, navy heeled booties from Margaux, earrings from Karine Sultan, and added an additional pop using this yellow bag from Dooney & Bourke.
This bright pink blouse from Equipment adds a sophisticated pop to this look. I styled the top with faux leather pants from Alice + Olivia and finished the look with grey pumps from M.Gemi, a link necklace from Ettika, and bar earrings from Argento Vivo.
In this outfit, I created a unique color combination to add some brightness to this winter look. If a color combination like this seems challenging, a look like this could be created using the scarf and my road map stying technique. In this case, I found the scarf last and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked with the look of a cobalt coat from Maximilian, and a lavender sweater from Kettlewell that I paired with tweed check pants from Avenue Montaigne and burgundy loafers.
In this last look, I not only added this bright red blazer from J.Crew but I paired it with this colorful striped sweater from Boden to add even more color. The look is styled with a pair of basic black pants from Theory, hoop earrings from Nordstrom, and oxfords from The Office of Angela Scott.
A LITTLE OR A LOT, WINTER BRIGHTS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Certainly, winter brights won’t be the cure-all for the winter blues, but they can make a difference in how you feel. Whether you prefer a small pop or a large splash of color, try adding them to your wardrobe this winter.