Contemplating colours. What is there to explore about Brown?

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July 2015 News


What can I say about this?  As a summer it is no longer my favourite colour, much preferring the prettier shades of pink, however, I clearly remember a phase in my childhood when brown was the ‘in colour’ for me.  AND with a husband who is an autumn, surrounded by friends and family of all seasons, I can clearly see browns working well, weaving that luxurious, subtle harmonious flow of neutrals – just not on me!

As the colour of rustic homeliness, I read a recommendation somewhere to wear brown when ‘first meeting the mother-in-law’, on the basis that it’s a non-threatening colour and her son would be in safe hands!  I guess if you want to portray that image, then it’s good advice!

When we settle into our sofas and relax into our armchairs at the end of a long day, we need to feel safe, secure and restful.  The pace of life is such these days that ‘grounding’ is required for its restorative powers.  As I pass through friends’ homes, I recognise a proliferation of warm toned colour themes with accents being set off by the neutral of brown in its various forms: beige, tan, chocolate, mahogany, mole, oatmeal and stone. Interestingly, regardless of what the inhabitant’s seasons are, there is still a propensity to furnishing in warm shades. 

I’ve noticed that when I’m in need of restorative time, I move towards my browns which start at Rose Brown and verge into plums/purples; when I’m in action, inspired and engaged with work, life and business, I tend to wear more blues, reds and greens.

On the basis that everyone has every colour available to them, we each need to identify which shade of the colour works best for us and, if looking for a specific colour such as brown, which shade is yours?  Is it dark brown, chocolate, moving into burnished burgundy/dark red or chestnut?  Winters particularly, need to make sure their ‘brown’ goes no warmer than the beautiful, luxurious mole, but be warned everyone else, mole won’t look luxurious on many others.  If Brown isn’t great at 75% or 50%, try accenting with piping or patterns to incorporate the colour and contrast without dominating the outfit….and you.

I wonder whether Winston Churchill was a Winter, as a result of this statement:

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.” — Winston Churchill.

Remembering of course that every 5 years, “Brown is the new Black” and referring to Almonds, Chocolate, Nutmeg, Beer and Coffee, whoever you are.

As Brown as a berry - alluding to our never ending search to be tanned.  From Elizabeth I when pale, sallow skin was a sign of being able to afford a life indoors.

Browned Off – WWII phrase signifying ‘fed up’ or ‘bored stiff’.
To Be Done Brown – To be deceived, taken in.
Brown Badger – Swot type of undergraduate, derived from the brown attaché case which students used to carry their books!
Brownie Points - A hypothetical social currency, which can be acquired by doing good deeds or earning favour in the eyes of another.
Brown Shirts – Hitler’s Nazi Party, so called from the colour of their shirts.