Color is not just beautiful to look at. It can have an impact on how you feel too. In this article, let’s look at the psychology of color and which colors to use for your desired mood.

“The deepest and truest secrets of color effect are invisible even to the eye and are beheld by the heart alone”

Johannes Itten

Isn’t color just the most wonderful thing?  Doesn’t a place look that much nicer when you add a bit of color?

Have you ever thought about the psychology of color though?

The psychology of color

Color can really influence your mood. And as such you can use it as a tool to influence it. We tend to pick our clothes each morning for the mood that we are in.

If I am feeling particularly happy I will normally choose something colorful to wear. And if I”m feeling a bit down, I will probably want to hide a bit from the world and would go for something black.

But what if you did the complete opposite?

How to use the psychology of color?

Instead of choosing the color matching the mood that you are in, go for a color that will enforce the mood that you want to be in.

I know that this can be very hard to do. if you are feeling depressed, it’s not easy to appear happy or to wear happy colors. But if you are determined to not let that depressive mood get the best of you and rule your day, try to do it anyway.

 Go for something with yellow instead of the all-black outfit. It is very hard to keep feeling depressed or sad when you are wearing yellow. Just like it is very hard to feel depressed if you stand up straight and hold your head up high. You may like to check our guide on how to wear yellow.

Let’s look at what effect specific colors have on you, so you can pick the right color for the mood you want to be in.

For lots more ideas on how to wear color, check out our color guides!

Also, if you want to know which colors uniquely suit you, also check out our color palette guides. You will find a unique capsule wardrobe for each color type.

Get the details on springsummer, autumn, and winter.


Psychology of color: black |


Black is the color of authority and power, stability and strength. It is also the color associated with intelligence (think of the black robe you wear at graduation).

It’s a somber color sometimes associated with evil.

In the western hemisphere black is associated with grieving. Black is a serious color that evokes strong emotions; it is easy to overwhelm people with too much black.

Wear it to feel powerful or mysterious.

View all our tips on how to wear black over 40.


Psychology of color: white |


For most of the world this is the color associated with purity (wedding dresses); cleanliness (doctors in white coats) and neutrality. In some eastern parts of the world, white is associated with mourning. White is associated with creativity (white boards, blank slates).

Wear it for more mental clarity.

See all our best tips on how to wear white.


Psychology of color: gray |


Gray is mostly associated with the practical, timeless, middle-of-the-road, solid things in life. Too much gray leads to feeling mostly nothing; but a bit of gray will add that rock solid feeling.

Some shades of gray are associated with old age, death, taxes, depression or a lost sense of direction. Silver is an off-shoot of gray and often associated with giving a helping hand and strong character.

Wear it to feel more solid.

For more tips see our article on how to wear gray


Wearing a long dress as a vest |

Red is the color of energy. It’s associated with movement and excitement. People surrounded by red find their heart beating a little faster.

Red is the symbol of life and, for this reason, it’s the color worn by brides in China.

Red is used at holidays that are about love and giving (red roses, Valentines hearts, Christmas, etc.)

Wear red when you want to have lots of energy and confidence.

For more tips and inspiration see our article on how to wear red.


How to wear pink |


Pink is the true color of love . Pink is the most calming of all colors. Think of pink as the color of romance, love, and gentle feelings, to be in the pink is to be soothed.

Wear pink to feel more loving.

For more tips and inspiration, check our tips on how to wear pink.


Psychology of color: navy |


Blue is a a calm and restful color.  Seeing the color blue actually causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming. However, some shades (or too much blue) can send a cold and uncaring message. Over the ages blue has become associated with steadfastness, dependability, wisdom and loyalty (think of the many blue uniforms). People tend to be more productive in a blue room because they are calm and focused on the task at hand.

Blue is good to use when you want to calm yourself or be more intuitive.

For more tips and inspiration check our tips on how to wear pale blue and how to wear navy blue


Psychology of color: green |


The color of growth, nature, and money. A calming color also that’s very pleasing to the senses. Dark forest green is associated with terms like conservative, masculine and wealth.

Hospitals use light green rooms because they too are found to be calming to patients. It is also the color associated with envy, good luck, generosity and fertility. It is the traditional color of peace, harmony, comfortable nurturing, support and well paced energy.

Use green to feel more relaxed and ease your anxiety.  If offers a sense of renewal and harmony.

For more inspiration and tips see our article on how to wear green.


How to wear yellow |


Cheerful yellow is the color of the sun, associated with laughter, happiness and good times. A person surrounded by yellow feels optimistic because the brain actually releases more seratonin (feel good chemical in the brain) when around this color.

It is the color associated with optimism. It has the power to speed up our metabolism and bring out some creative thoughts. Some shades of yellow are associated with cowardice; but the more golden shades with the promise of better times.

Wear yellow to feel more optimistic, mentally stimulated and creative.

For more ideas and inspiration check out our article on how to wear yellow.


How to wear orange |


The most flamboyant color on the planet! It’s the color most associated with fun times, happy and energetic days, warmth and organic products. It is also associated with ambition. There is nothing even remotely calm associated with this color. Orange is associated with a new dawn in attitude.

Use orange to stimulate activity and socialization.

For more tips and inspiration, see our article on how to wear orange.


How to wear purple |


Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality.  It stimulates the brain activity used in problem solving. However, when overused it is associated with putting on airs and being artificial. Use purple most carefully to lend an air of mystery, wisdom, and respect.

Wear it to feel spiritual, calm and creative.

More inspiration and ideas in our article on how to wear purple.


Psychology of color: brown |


This color is most associated with reliability, stability, and friendship.  It’s the color of the earth itself. It is also associated with things being natural or organic. In India, however,  it is the color of mourning.

Use it when you want to feel wholesome and stable.

Think of color and the psychology of color as another tool you can use to influence how you feel. When used effectively it can really brighten up your day.

If you like to play more with color, you can also check out color lovers.

“Colour is a means of exerting a direct influence on the soul. Colour is a keyboard, the eyes, the hammers and the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another purposively to cause vibrations in the soul.”

Wassily Kandinsky

Have you ever considered the psychology of color? What effect do colors have on you?

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Psychology of color: how it can help bring you in the right mood!

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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