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Does the colour we wear affect our mood?

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

colout and mood image

Does the colour we wear affect our mood?  According to a recent study of 2000 Brits it suggests it does!

  • Half of Brits say the colours they wear directly affect their moods
  • Four in ten say their mood can change if they put on a different colour
  • Black is the colour of choice for those feeling both stressed and angry
  • Nearly a fifth of Brits wear only black or neutral tones, with 40 per cent of our wardrobes taken up with black clothes
  • The majority of Brits (43 per cent) say that yellow is the colour to wear when feeling happy


According to respondents, a green outfit is a sign of intelligence, blue shows you’re reliable, white suggests you’re traditional, yellow says you’re happy and good humoured, while pink suggests immaturity and should be avoided both on a date or in a job interview.


More than half of those polled feel that the colours you choose to wear to different events can influence how successfully those events go.


And just under two thirds felt the colour you wear to an event or social situation will directly impact how you feel while attending.


Psychologist and colour expert Honey Langcaster-James on the study says  “It is clear that people believe they are judged on the basis of the colours they wear – and they also admit to judging others based on the colour of their clothing. Yet most people do not then ‘colour craft’ themselves successfully. Instead, Brits tend to stick to wearing dark or neutral tones. Understanding how to ‘colour craft’ and wear different colours for different occasions and circumstances can give you the edge and influence a range of outcomes in your life.”

The study found some interesting gender differences when it comes to using colour. Women reported being much more affected by colour and more likely to use it to their advantage than men. Women were also more likely to say that their mood changes when they put on a different colour and to say that wearing bright colours conveys a happier mood.

The study also reveals that a third of people make presumptions about other people’s mood based on the colours they are wearing that day.

What colours say about your mood

BLACK- anger, stress, shyness, overweight

RED – confidence, loudness, manic

Yellow top from John Lewis

(Yellow top from John Lewis )

YELLOW – happiness, joy

BLUE – calm, relaxed

WHITE – slim, tanned

GREY- tired

What colours say to others

… on a date

red pencil dress

(Red dress from John Lewis)

RED- loud, confident

GREEN – intelligent, approachable

BLUE- reliable, approachable

YELLOW- loud, happy

BLACK- sophisticated, conservative

PINK –immature, confident

WHITE- traditional, confident

…at a Job Interview


RED- ruthless, confident

GREEN – intelligent, quiet

Blue Baukjen dress

(Blue dress from Baukjen)

BLUE – intelligent, trustworthy

YELLOW –joyful, good-humoured

BLACK – intelligent, money-driven

PINK – immature, confident


General associations…


RED- passion, fire, danger

YELLOW- summer/sunshine, happiness

BLUE – sky, sea

green top 50plus

(Green top from House of Fraser)

GREEN – nature, vegetables

Top Colour Crafting Tips


Honey Lancaster James offers her tips for wearing colour:


  • Wear Yellow more often. Yellow was found to inspire positivity –  43 per cent of respondents said it’s a colour to wear when you feel happy, and 41per cent associated it with the joys of Spring. So for an instant mood boost, or to appear happy and youthful to others, add a splash of yellow. The survey also found that people will think you’re good-humoured when wearing yellow, making you more attractive to others.
  • Avoid Black. Despite the popularity of black for its slimming effects, the study found that it is also associated with stress and anger, so if you want to approach your boss for a pay rise, maybe wait for a day when he or she is wearing something more colourful! You should also avoid wearing this colour yourself if you don’t want to be seen as stressed, gloomy or angry.
  • Be careful with Grey. Wearing grey is most likely to leave you feeling tired or drained so avoid this colour unless you’re really feeling upbeat and positive. You can notice if your friends are feeling a little drained or exhausted by keeping watch for this colour and offering more support and friendship if someone you care about seems to be wearing this colour a lot.
  • Wear Red at appropriate times. If you want to appear confident, strong and powerful you could choose to wear red as the survey found it is associated with confidence and power. However, it is not a good colour choice if you want to seem approachable as it can also be associated with danger.
  • Wear White in moderation. Wear white if you’re feeling slim, fresh and healthy or if you want to show off a tan but psychologically, white was found to suggest that you’re traditional and conservative so you may want to choose a more dynamic colour if you want to make more of a statement.
  • Use Green and Blue to win at the game of life. If you want to make a good first impression, at a job interview for example, you could choose to wear green or blue. Green was found to be associated with intelligence and Blue was found to convey reliability.
  • Avoid wearing Pink. Wearing the colour pink was found to suggest immaturity so you would be better off avoiding this colour for anything where you want to make a good impression, for example on a date or at a job interview.



Interestingly, the study was commissioned by a company called Arla,  looking to choose the best colour for milk bottle tops. They chose yellow 🙂

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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