"Color is an incredible fashion tool that's often taken for granted," says style expert Andy Paige, author of "Style on a Shoestring." "We are all naturally attracted to color," she says, "and it stimulates emotional, physical and even behavioral responses.
Every fashion decision we make has a color connection that sends a message to others and reflects our personality."
Indeed, there is a whole array of "science" behind how we interpret certain colors and wear them in our wardrobes, according to Paige. "A stunning purple blouse reflects a passionate visionary. To-die-for red shoes communicate energy, determination and charisma.
"Your chocolate-brown suit tells your boss you are stable, earthy and reliable. The beautiful turquoise scarf you never wear could be telling the world you are motivated, active and dynamic, and the fantastic yellow handbag that you were so attracted to before you opted to go with the black instead would have declared you optimistic, playful and enthusiastic."
So, how do you electrify your personality and your wardrobe with color? Here are a few tips from Paige:
— Deliberately use colorful pieces as your style statements. If you are a girl who is most comfortable swaddled in black (is she talking about moi?), show your adventurous side with a chartreuse handbag, bold jade earrings or a stack of colorful bangles. If you live in a gray fog and frolic in tones of stone, charcoal and slate, make your unique style statement with a fuchsia wrap, sea-green coat or cognac boots.
— Pale colors rarely do anything for your skin tone; they are usually perceived as a little mousy. Saturated colors look more expensive and can elevate the look of a very inexpensive garment. Choose richer colors like peacock blue, fuchsia, pumpkin, emerald green and deep purple (one of this season's most popular colors) to send a strong, confident message.
— Keep your anchor pieces dark, neutral and adornment-free. Then use colorful tops and accessories to highlight your upper half and de-emphasize your lower half, naturally making you look taller and leaner. This is also known as fashion color blocking — strategically using light and dark colors to minimize figure flaws and showcase the good stuff.
— And what colors do most men like to see women wear? Paige says that men prefer solid colors compared to patterns. Men are most attracted to a woman in a sugary coral tone. Red is another color many men equate with a confident woman. Women are most attracted to guys who wear blue, she notes. And if you want to avoid the color that most "repels" every one of us ... be sure to leave that "puke green" color behind on the racks!
— One more tip: Use complementary colors with your tops and accessories. In this case, opposites do attract: pair cool "water" tones (blues, greens, purples and lavenders) with "warm" tones (reds, yellows, oranges and pinks). When your top is a cool tone, choose warm-toned accessories. And when your top is a warm tone, choose cool-toned accessories. Think turquoise earrings with a red top and gray pants. Or try a yellow handbag with a blue, floral print dress. Your mama will be so proud!
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.