Love-heart red, raspberry, geranium, scarlet, vermillion or just plain old true red - it can be a deeply polarising colour! Perceived by some as dangerous, aggressive, or even racy, it is just as likely to be viewed by others as romantic, passionate, lucky, warm, dynamic, and energetic. So, let us take a moment to explore red and some of its many facets.
Red grabs your attention. It’s proven to quicken the heart rate and raise blood pressure. It’s the colour of blood, the life force coursing through our veins; it’s a ravishing red wedding sari or lucky Chinese New Year wallet. Yet it is a colour people often say they cannot wear or are wary of even trying.
Red is often used in advertising as it creates a sense of urgency; red foods promote immunity, and red is regularly used in food branding because it stimulates appetite. People who wear a lot of red appear confident, in charge and full of vitality.
A reluctance to wear red frequently stems from having chosen the wrong shade. People with warm, yellow based complexions suit yellowy/orangey reds such as poppy, tomato or geranium; while cool, blue based skins are best suited by blue based and deeper reds such as scarlet, crimson and raspberry. A face-to-face colour analysis consultation will establish which specific tones perfectly suit your skin. Primary red, or ‘universal’ true red, however, suits everyone as it has neither blue nor yellow saturations within it.
Because of its attention-grabbing qualities, wearing a lot of red can feel overwhelming and as if you have put yourself in the spotlight. Wearing red as a pop of colour, however, is an excellent compromise as it gives you that shot of energy you need without the feeling that it is wearing you. A red lipstick, red nails, or red accessories such as a scarf, tie, belt, or pair of shoes can really lift an outfit. This works particularly well if the other colours you are wearing are neutrals such as black, blue, brown, white, or beige. The tip here is to make sure that if you are wearing a cool red it is paired with cool neutrals, a charcoal suit, perhaps. Warm reds, on the other hand, look best worn with warm neutrals, such as brown trousers and a cream top. A small pop of universal true red or a red in your perfect shade will illuminate your face and tie your whole look together.
Lipstick or lip gloss in any shade always gives greater focus to your words, and a statement red lipstick may be all you need as a finishing touch to a special occasion outfit or as a confidence boost for an interview or on a zoom call.
So, as we near Valentine’s Day, where we will see red in all its forms to signify love, passion and deep affection for our partners, think about red and how you might incorporate it into your life and clothes. Roses are red and violets are blue. Ubiquitous red is surely for you.
Linda Sujeewon House of Colour Reading
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