Ever since I was a young boy, I have loved colours. It was probably because I enjoyed drawing, and my mother’s wardrobe of saris, salwars and blouses seemed to match my coloured pencils. At that age, I remember feeling completely comfortable wearing whatever my mother selected for me — although it helped that she had good taste.
- Somewhere along the way, perhaps by adolescence, while my clothing was still fashionable and comfortable, the colours seemed to slowly disappear. I can look back and be certain that it had to do with my insecurity at that age. I wanted to fit in, look cool, and most importantly not stick out — but for some reason, I always did. The dramatic part of me realised this and then quickly found a way to own that feeling and be confident. What resulted was a rediscovery of colour — and myself. The navys, greys, blacks and browns were part of my wardrobe, but I also had orange, red, yellow and turquoise. I realised that in a swarm of people trying to be like one another, standing out wasn’t such a bad thing.
- Beyond individuality, colour did something else for me. It helped me to be the many parts of myself that I was. I was a music junkie, listening to everything from pop to alternative rock. I was a preppie, trying for admission at Ivy League colleges and playing chess. I was the environmentalist, trying to save the world. I was the performer, singing and dancing, trying to stay one step ahead of the game. Colour gave each part of my personality an identity.
- I can’t stress enough how important it is to own what you are wearing, and not let the clothes dictate who you are. If I wore a magenta cardigan and khakis, I could still listen to Nirvana. If I dressed in a brown plaid shirt with ripped jeans, I could still attend an orchestra recital. It’s important that, as we assemble a wardrobe and dress the different parts of us, we don’t lose ourselves in the process.
- A good reason to explore colour therapy is to see how each colour can impact our day. Beyond style, it can bring us closer to nature (green), bring us calmness (blue), help us be invisible (black), be creative (orange), be generous (pink), be powerful (red), be unique (purple), be happy (yellow) or feel refreshed (white). Using colours to set the mood also helps us cohesively put together our style. This is important because the older we get, the less likely we are to experiment, and the more comfortable we become in our skins, the less comfortable we are with new colours.
- India has such a rich history of colour that it’s no surprise our comfort levels are much higher for wearing them. But I’ve seen things change — dare I say we are becoming conservative again? Perhaps in a sea of colours — something so brightly displayed at weddings — men have gone back to classic colours and are leaving the brightness for special events.
- It could be argued that the reason why weddings are so festive (and people are in such a good mood) is that there is a sea of colour on display. If there’s even 1 per cent of truth to this, isn’t it worth exploring the potential for colour to impact our day-to-day life? I had a bright, red Prada trenchcoat that I used to wear all over New York City. I remember on those dark and dreary days, when the sun was absent, wearing that coat brightened my day beyond my imagination. I also saw that I got far more smiles from strangers than I would have had I been sporting a classic Burberry. It might seem insignificant, but that red jacket not only brought me style and joy, it also impacted others who came across me.
- While we should never dress for others, we must realise the power of the message we can send through colours. They can not only help you to become who you are, but can also become a part of your style evolution.