For some of us, red is the right go-to look any time of the year, not just at the holiday season. In fact, red anything — our interiors, our linens, our cars, our food — heats up our desire and revs our engines!
Red energizes me (pass the vernis so I may paint my nails)… red relaxes me (my linens are red and they ease me into dream)… red encourages my curiosity, my concentration, my hunger.
But hunger for what? Do you really need to ask?
For everything that is possible. For dreams of the impossible.
Red suggests celebration, sensuality, sexuality. Red is regal, rambunctious, rebellious!
Red to Bed?
Where do we gloriously and unapologetically love our red?
A bold lip, hot shoes, a confident tie, a sultry scarf!
Red pillows tossed on the bed? Red towels dangling from racks? Red rugs underfoot? (I’m crazy about them all, and not just in December.)
Redheads… Must we really elaborate on their fiery reputation?
As much as I am always drawn to the Little Black Dress (or more specifically, that look, which I achieve via separates), I gravitate toward red coats, red skirts, red shoes, and red gloves (in winter). A spark of red, even if I am attired in my signature noir, brightens my mood no matter the occasion.
Our (Psychological) Color Preferences
Granted, our responses to color vary tremendously. Some love neon hues, others go for a range of jewel tones, and some incline toward pastels. We may choose to dress in certain tones but surround ourselves with others in our homes and workplaces. But nearly everyone I know has clear color preferences. (Do you know yours?)
I love blues; I adore reds.
Psychological associations with color are a source of fascination, and the symbolic and cultural associations or red, no less so, as moralistic and Judeo-Christian religious traditions include linking red to God, to fire, and more, frequently viewing red as:
… a symbol of guilt, sin and anger, often as connected with blood or sex…
Doesn’t the color red also bring to mind passion? Anger? The need to stop? However seductive, doesn’t red indicate danger?
Don’t we paint our hazard and warning signs in shades of red? And what about our expressions like red-faced or red-handed? The (same) source above tells us:
… the phrase “caught red-handed”… [means] either caught in an act of crime or caught with the blood of murder still on one’s hands.
Scientific American provides a different view of the color red and its impact.
… the hue’s significance has a biological basis. Many humans get red in the face from increased blood flow when they are angry. A similar process activates a flush of embarrassment or a more flirtatious blush. Seeing red also triggers some surprising behaviors. For instance, drivers blocked in traffic by a red car react faster and more aggressively than drivers barred by vehicles of other colors.
Red Shoes Fight Blues!
Surely, I don’t need to remind you of the magic in renowned red soles. (Be still my hedonistic heart… some day, a crimson-clothed Santa just may deliver me a pair…)
This morning, I find myself remembering my mother, and I picture her in a sunny bedroom, in a yellow dress, an ardent admirer of white marguerites with yolk-colored centers arranged in a pottery vase. I recall the mantel decorated in December, and the simplicity of paperwhites. My mother’s garden was wild and complex; blue thistles and a pandemonium of poppies shared their place with daisies and delphinium.
Seasonal Memories in a Soft Light
This morning, I looked out my window and saw the light reflecting on the deep red leaves of a Japanese maple planted in my yard years ago. It’s one of a pair that has weathered storms and stayed strong, its leaves brilliant and bold as autumn unfolds.
For now, I take pleasure in the festivity and confidence of this seasonal performance, and my cares fade to the background.
Do colors trigger your emotions? Do you surround yourself in your favorite colors? Any thoughts on red?
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