Thursday, 29 September 2016

Red Makes My Heart Race

I read somewhere that our emotional response to the colour red can actually be measured in a quickening heart rate.  I don't know if this is true or not but I do find red very powerful.  I love red, both warm and cool versions of it, but I find I can't wear it often as it somehow really does require extra energy of me.  Perhaps it's the way others respond to someone wearing red or perhaps it is purely my own psychology in that I feel wearing red makes me responsible for some sort of powerful action.  It's not a still colour.

My son has favoured red his entire life, and I can still recall him selecting red items over other colours before he could talk, and yet I've noticed he does not wear it either.  It has always been his declared favourite colour and he will surround himself with it.   He still owns the red quilt I bought for his bed and it's understood by all family members that he is always the red game piece.   When he was eight, he selected a deep raspberry coloured glasses case that could arguably have been called pink rather than red, but in comparison to all the other colours on offer it seemed red.  I held my breath, waiting for him to get teased at school for being a boy with a pink item but that didn't happen and by now I know he is someone who will always be true to himself anyhow.  He is better at that than I am and in that case he is my role model.

But I was talking about red.  I had always wanted red shoes, envied them on other women for years but worried that they weren't practical, that coloured shoes as opposed to neutral would be difficult to wear.  Well, yes and no.  It depends on how much colour you wear in your clothing, how willing you are to mix colours and to what degree you want to own clothing and accessories that go beyond your minimal needs.  I struggle psychologically with having abundance, although I doubt I will ever be a true minimalist.  So I tried red shoes.   I loved them and yet I found they were difficult too.  My mother makes them work wonderfully and even carries a red handbag.  She tends to wear a lot of navy blue, teal and plum and has a classic look to her style although has gotten much more casual over the decades.  My style is earthier and I love wearing taupes, browns and greys.  Wearing red shoes I feel a bit more like Dorothy, with feet that are the focus of my outfit.  Of the two red shoes I owned, one pair were not comfortable on my feet so they went in the consignment box and another pair that I loved but found myself just not wearing, I gave to my mother.  I haven't given up on red shoes yet, but for me they did prove a little a tricky.

Perhaps  I will admire red shoes on other women and find different ways to enjoy red myself.  I am not even certain yet which red is the best one for me to wear.

My favourite red has always been this muted brown-red.  Something I've tended to feel the need to apologise for, as though it's not really red, not true and bold the way red should be.  I summon up my son's voice saying to me, 'That's silly.'

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A tee shirt and jeans, though not distressed like this, is my daily at home look.  I would love a tee shirt in this soft, warm red.

I can't stop staring at the photo below.  The red is definitely arresting.  It makes sense that red is for stop signs and for danger.  It gets your attention.

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And so you might say, well then I want to wear red.  I want to get attention.   Looking at the background of this photo, the soft greys and browns, the red mug and apple stand out because they are so much more saturated.   The practically jump out of the photo at you.  If your personal colouring is soft and muted, like the wall and bench, wearing a dress coloured like that mug will certainly make you stand out in a crowd, but it will be the dress that stands out, and not you.  It will not be your face people look at or remember.  The red of the leaves is more faded, less pigmented and blended into other colours for an overall softer look.  It harmonises with the wall, branches and bench.  If you cover the mug and apple with a thumb and look at the photo it is more harmonised and the eye doesn't rest anywhere in particular.  You may feel you do not want to look so harmonised, you don't want to be bland, but do you really want your dress to be the star of the show?  In this photo the mug and the apple are the stars and that makes it a great photo.  Because I am muted like the wall and the bench, wearing red that saturated not only overtakes me visually but I can feel the weight of it.  I can feel how heavy it is to carry it.

Here is another muted red I love.  This one is perhaps best described as a muted, deep brick pink.  It's warm, as are the tiles in the background, but not heavily heated.  I love this colour!

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Here is another browned and muted red.  It's a bit pink also and could belong to either the Soft Summer or Soft Autumn palettes.

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I'm clearly drawn to the pink-brown types of reds.  Here is another from the same source as above.  The source is a blog dedicated to the Dressing Your Truth Type 2 category, with which I identify.  The colour direction for type 2 is muted, though it tends to skew towards the Soft Summer palette more than Soft Autumn, I think some people interpret it as Soft Autumn also.  Perhaps there are just more Soft Summers than Soft Autumns.  I don't know.


I find myself very attracted to dark warm reds, basically I am quite attracted to the Dark Autumn palette.  I know from experience that these colours overpower me and make me look very pale. Perhaps I could wear it for a very glamorous event with lots of makeup but I have approximately zero such situations in my life.

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Soft, warm, faded red paint.  This is a red that makes me relax a little.  It's warm and confident, it has the wisdom of time.

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The blog this photo is from is a visual treat of Swedish romantic country living and no hint of minimalism.


I would love to try wearing a warmer red, though it will still need a softened, muted quality to it.   The door above and this dress are similar colours, but the shine of the dress fabric gives it more depth which begins to overwhelm me.  Is it just me or does the shine help it to read more as a warm red, whereas the door begins to look like a reddish brown?

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I find it difficult not to be attracted to the deeper reds.  I think this is because once red is muted it seems just as close to dark orange or pink as it does to red.

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My favourite red is cordovan, according to this source, and is part of the Dark Autumn palette.

My mother favours the pink reds, such as this Sangria.  While I find it pretty it doesn't give me the same emotional response as cordovan.  I think that if a colour expert told me I am to wear sangria and not cordovan I would have to drown my sorrows in some burgundy liquid.

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The Soft Autumn palette I love seems to have a bit of both, actually, which could be good news for me!  The more important factor is being muted.

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I keep reading tomato red as one of the right reds for soft autumn but usually tomato red is a rather vibrant orange-red and this just didn't seem quite right for a muted palette.  Colour names are tricky because they mean different things to different people.  Then I found this colour palette, with a tomato red that looks quite approachable to me.  See how muted it is compared to the colour they call 'Real Red'.


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Moore Swooning on my part....Here is a palette of colours I would wear.  Not overtly warm but definitely not a pink-red. This is a muted brick red shown with cooler, muted tones of greyed brown and green which I would definitely wear.


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I always love faded linen, and here it is in a faded brick red.  That is a very weird splotchy bit at the front.  It looks like she was wearing this dress while staining her wooden furniture. 

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A little cooler but bricky enough to satisfy me, is this red, easily one of my top favourites.

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I tend to use a lot of red in my home.  To me, red is the right colour for rugs.

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And wooden furniture....


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And front doors.

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    And I know red is also right for shoes, I just haven't made it work for me yet.                                                 






                                                     

1 comment:

  1. Muted brick reds and maroons I can get on board with! Bizarrely I don't look horrible in the right shade of red lipstick (though I have never found one that is perfect either), but like you wearing it feels...conspicous. When I was younger I often wore darker, bolder lipstick - maybe it was age/the 90's, nowadays anything beyond a muted brown pink feels outlandish somehow. I do enjoy the faded, colonial red in the interiors, reminds me of New England :-)

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