Your look in lockdown: Reasons to wear more colour

Give your mood and self-confidence a boost by wearing brighter clothes

 

Summer’s coming, so it’s time to ditch black for colours to brighten the mood in isolation and stay upbeat.

One woman who carries colour off with impressive personal style is Taryn de Vere in Donegal. An artist, writer and mother of five, she never wears black – or brown, unless it’s vintage – choosing a different colour and outfit every day making all who see her smile. De Vere has been known to wear a red ballgown to Lidl (“got a few looks, all right”) and once dressed up as a 1920s flapper going to the local post office. Queried why by the postmistress, she replied: “Because I was coming in to see you. So now she expects me to be over the top. She gets a kick out of it,” says deVere.

“My attitude to colour is enmeshed with my view of clothing and fashion – why not have fun with it?” she asks.

I use as many combinations as I can, though I don’t wear beige – it would kill me – and white only sparingly because it’s not vibrant

“I have two modes – schlepping around in my PJs or being completely over the top. So every outing becomes very important – going to Lidl, the bottle bank or changing the gas cylinders. Colour is hugely important to how I feel and to how others relate to me and is an instant personal boost. I get a lot of comments that I love like ‘Are you going to a wedding?’”

She will never wear the same outfit twice. “I get bored. If I wear red today, I won’t wear it tomorrow, but I love mixing things up. Sometimes I will wear top to toe in one colour, like green, and another day mix it up. I use as many combinations as I can though I don’t wear beige – it would kill me – and white only sparingly because it’s not vibrant.”

So where did this love of colour come from? “I came out of an abusive relationship, a dark place in my life and actively decided to dress up every time I wanted to improve my mood. I found that colour was affecting my mood. The bright shades just made me feel better.”

Red fitted blazer, €179.99, by Danzica. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Red fitted blazer, €179.99, by Danzica. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Belted coat in fuschia, €237.99, by Leila. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Belted coat in fuchsia, €237.99, by Leila. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson

Pink and red are her favourite colours and that pink and red combination was also one that image consultant Aoife Dunican put together in an outfit for her Instagram feed recently “because I needed something to cheer myself up”, she says.

A colour specialist, she advises that “when we want to feel more confident and energetic, we should wear red; blue, the colour of communication and trust, is used for calming down. It’s an important therapeutic colour.”

A disciple of Jules Standish, author of the bestselling How Not to Wear Black, Dunican argues that every colour has a shade that suits every skin tone. “Green is a great shade to wear if you have been through a rough time while yellow is a happy, joyful colour and a real transition shade from winter to spring.”

Former Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman in her new book asserts that “it’s hard to wear pink and be miserable; it’s a useful colour to wear for tricky meetings.”

In the current vogue for Zoom, Dunican maintains that the colour orange “is great for family Zooms and networking. It means you are open for conversation. A colour tee or a summer dress is a great way to get into it. In Zoom calls, you are seen more from the chest than the waist up, so bringing colour right up to the neckline can look polished and strong,” she says. “It’s better than a V-neck and if you have a work call, adding a jacket straight off will add confidence. For interviews, the best combination of colours might be red and blue – a red dress and a navy-blue jacket. Red for confidence and navy for communication and trust.”

Mint green print shirt, €75, by Tullia, worn with high-waisted jeans, €34.99. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Mint green print shirt, €75, by Tullia, worn with high-waisted jeans, €34.99. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Blue double breasted coat, €224.99, by Emma Marella; blouse, €89.99, by Discord. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Blue double breasted coat, €224.99, by Emma Marella; blouse, €89.99, by Discord. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Navy and ivory colourblock dress tied with blue silk, €164.99. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson
Navy and ivory colourblock dress tied with blue silk, €164.99. Photograph: Alex Hutchinson

Maria Macklin, an award-winning House of Colour consultant, suggests that working from home, wearing a power colour “can set the stage for you to challenge your brain and have a productive day – different colours give different energy. The colour you wear can impact your self-confidence.”

Dunican agrees. “I do think that people need to make a little more effort for themselves than anyone else – it can just be a tinted moisturiser or a lipstick – the bottom line is not to be in PJs all day. A bit of effort at home does change our mindset; even a small effort can set our intentions for the days – a nice coloured top, a summer dress.”

By way of illustration, here are some outfits in colours that include pink, red, blue and green along with an easygoing sweater for everyday casual wear, indoor or outdoor, in confinement or out on that 2km walk. And also how one bright blue scarf can make the difference to a black and white ensemble.

All clothes and accessories available online from meadowsandbyrne.com. Styling by Sinead Keenan

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