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Psychology Of Color

( Originally Published 1924 )

Jeritza, luminous, scintillating, all in white, floating out upon an absolutely bare stage on a flood of light, prepares us for her melody of song which without effort sings itself to us. On the stage, col-ors are deliberately chosen to play on the emotions of the audience. If this psychology were better understood in our daily life, colors could become conducive to happiness rather than to discord.

Many women might relate a story of the meta-morphosis of moods in herself and others brought about by the donning of colorful gowns. One may feel Hamlet-like melancholy in sable black, especially if it is unrelieved by any touch of color. Grays may be as depressing as a dense London fog. Brown may force the spirit to the imaginary Atlas-task of carrying about the world.

What is the antidote for depression? Joy ! Color !

Red, of varying tones, from flesh to deep wines, may recreate an enjoyment of life in the crest-fallen. But red is a stimulating color and may be carried to extreme. How subtly an approaching enemy could be vanquished by one's greeting him—or her--in a bright red costume ! A headache or even an attack of nerves might be induced by the violent hue.

Geranium pink may change a girl's career. It may give her courage, faith, and belief in the world and joy in her endeavor.

Pink, which is etherealized red, represents youth and daintiness. It is the true color of love. The touch of red gives spirit and vitality, and its whiteness gives innocence and youth. "If Juliet were alive today, she would wear only pink," says a certain theatrical costume designer.

Blue, so like the sky with its vastness, may calm the restless to repose. A blue frock would increase spiritual emotions and induce the recalcitrant one to attend the Sunday morning church service ! Blue is the color of respectability. One might be frivolous in a pink frock, but in a blue one—demureness is the mood. Blue is an anodyne and will help the wearer who is tense and suffering from the strain of overwork.

Yellow, in a sea of which the Japanese swim and so are a happy people, will bring sunshine and joy. Its gaiety is irresistible.

Orange, with its combined influence of red and yellow, may stimulate a group of sad and sorrowful ones to song and mirth. A feeling of kindliness and expansiveness is created by orange, so much so that it is called the spending color. It loosens both the heart strings and the purse strings. Perhaps that is why the Delilahs of history were Titian or orange blondes.

Green, a mixture of the yellow of happiness and blue of poise, may give sanity to a rebellious mood. Green, with the coolness of blue and the gaiety of yellow, keeps us on the alert. Experiments with it have shown that it has a mystifying reaction, and, therefore, that it keeps people interested.

Purple is a regal shade, composed of red, which means power, and the blue which means control—power under control. We can readily understand why it is the color chosen for kings, and that "Born to the Purple" means a princely character. The color expresses dignity and formality; it speaks of conquered sleeping passions and of suffering gallantly borne. Colors are better than words to obtain effects, so purple, when blue predominates, is imperious; it will say, "Go." If there is more red with a hint of Burgundy, there will be warmth, generosity, and responsiveness, which indicate cordiality.

Light colors seem to belong to youth, dark colors to age, and rich colors to maturity.

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