The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

Color is critical to creating attractiveness or unattractiveness. In today’s society, both genders use color to enhance their visual and aesthetic appearance. The use of color has become an important expression of who we are, how we feel, and what we believe.

From the Renaissance period, the color of clothing became more important. These defined those who could wear certain colors, the amount of color allowed, and when the color could be worn. The color developed deep symbolic meaning indicating the individuals’ cultural learning, place in the social hierarchy, and economic status.

The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

Color is a critical cue for sexual signaling

But what the preferred colors actually are in humans, is difficult to predict. Human vision and perception contribute to how a color appears to the individual. Perception is unique to each individual and is constantly changing due to the influence of a range of variables. No two people see color or experience its effects in the same way, so color provokes different responses according to various situations. The use of color is important in improving one’s aesthetic character.

Many studies have been carried out on color preference phenomena, in which the aim was towards determining population preferences. Jastrow carried out one of the earlier documented studies of color preferences, in 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


Roberts, Owen & Havlicek investigated attractiveness

Judgments of both sexes by contrasting attributions based on six different colors. Likewise, they took digital photographs of ten male and ten female participants while wearing t-shirts of six different colors: red, black, blue, green, yellow, and white. Analyses confirmed significant effects of color in both comparisons. Raters awarded the highest scores to images in which targets wore red or black. They found that clothing color affects ratings of attractiveness.

Frank & Gilovich showed that an individual’s behavior can be influenced by the color of their clothing only

Finally, in their experiment, they manipulated the color of the subjects’ uniforms (black or white). Results showed that subjects who wore black uniforms were more aggressive than their white counterparts. Adams & Osgood concluded that black is seen, in almost all cultures, as the color of evil and death. Vrij conducted two experiments to investigate the impact of black clothing on impression formation. Offenders and suspects made a more aggressive impression when they wore black clothing than when they wore light clothing. Moreover, the offender dressed in black evoked the most irritation, and the suspect dressed in black made the guiltiest impression. Of course, it would be premature and hasty to conclude that black clothing would evoke negative impressions in all circumstances.

The psychological impact of clothing color is noticeable also in animals

Putman quantified the effects of four T-shirt colors on flight initiation distances (FID) and on the ease of capture in western fence lizards. The research was based on the assumption that animals will have the greatest tolerance to the color of a T-shirt that is their sexually appealing color. Quantitatively, the two blue T-shirts (dark blue and blue) resemble more to the lizards’ throat and abdominal patches. The reduced escape occurred most often under the dark blue treatment, facilitated easy capture of lizards, and suggests that they might have a preferential bias toward this color.

The color, style, and texture of personal aesthetics express a position with respect to gender, ethnicity, race, class, nationality, religion, sexuality, and age. People use color to express their social identity, hierarchy, emotions, political leanings, personal identity, and aesthetic tastes.


The Meaning of Colors in Clothing Psychology

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