Most of us would hate to live in a world that is only black and white and shades of grey. We need colours that are pure, strong, rich, muted, soft, cool and warm to give our lives the richness and diversity we enjoy. Without black, white and grey, all the colour variations we enjoy would not be possible.
Black and white are usually considered to be non-colours although black is the absence of colour and white is made up of all the colours. Grey, of course, is the mixing of black with white.
Every colour has both positive and negative emotions and perceptions attached to it and black, white and grey are no exception.
Here is my short guide to help you use the western world's view of black, white and grey to add richness and diversity to your life.
Black: Safe or Mysterious?
Black is generally called a non-colour but if you look at your wardrobe carefully you will see lots of variations in the shades of black. It is the colour of night and nothing is more magical than moonlight reflected on water in a black, star-less sky. Black is the colour of mystery. Have you ever stared into a black inky sea? It is also the colour of fear of dark nights and black holes.
Black is a fall-back colour when you cannot find anything else to wear. All black hides your personality and can repel the happy people you want to attract.
Make it more interesting by wearing black clothes that have pattern or texture in or on them. Black is a wonderful neutral background for adding accessories in colours and styles that bring out your gentle, playful or funky personality.
Black is a serviceable colour when worn below the waist. Just try to make the black you wear above the waist more interesting.
White: As Clean as Copy Paper
We associate white with the positive aspects of purity and cleanliness as in a glass of water or a pristine waterfall. White also represents poise and confidence. It is the traditional colour of brides and the fail-safe colour of men's business shirts. White dominates summer clothing because it repels the heat and looks fabulous on fair-skinned, tanned men and women. This is why there are many Blanc du Nil shops around the Mediterranean. These are shops that sell only white clothing.
On its negative side, white is often perceived as insipid or boring. Too much white can be cold and isolating - think trendy white designer rooms you would never want to live in. People who wear a lot of white can be seen as cautious or self-sufficient and not open to receiving help from others.
When added to other colours white provides a crisp, clean contrast as in a white top with contrasting belt or in stripes, spots and contrasting white collars or cuffs. White repels light: so it can make your body look larger. For those of you with warmer complexions and colouring, pure white is too harsh. Creams and softer white colours are more flattering.
Grey: A Bit Ambiguous
Grey is a shadow colour associated with the god, Mercury, who moved easily between heaven, earth and the underworld.
Grey brings out our pre-conceived attitudes. People often only see the negative side of grey with bleak fogs, threatening storms and images of boring, austere, colourless old fogeys. Wearing grey can have a positive side as it helps you to be open to new influences and then helps you form enlightened opinions on new things i.e. using the grey matter of your mind.
Grey is a wonderful neutral especially for skirts, pants and jeans as it is softer than black and often includes black in its stripes or fine checks. Grey mixed with silver, black or white can create a striking or a gentle combination. As a hair colour, grey refers to black and white, silver or pure white hair. Wear red, pink or aqua to create a wonderful contrast to highlight grey hair.
Go now and play with black, white and grey. Look, think and feel how you can use these colours to add more richness and diversity to your life.