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Archive for the ‘Improve Your Image With Color’ Category

Prediction for the New Year

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

As this year draws to a close, our final rainbow color, Violet, is reflected in December’s frosty view. The days grow shorter and daylight is precious. The long shadows on the snowy ground appear to cast a violet hue. Soft, tranquil, still.

 clock faceViolet, found on the lowest arc of the rainbow, is the color comprised of the shortest wavelengths of light that our eyes can see. Ultra-violet is the term for the wavelengths of light beyond our view.

Is it coincidence that the Color of the Year for 2014 announced this very month happens to be Radiant Orchid? You’re already seeing the hue in spring clothing and decorative home décor. This close cousin of Violet will grow in popularity, I predict.

Why? You see, Violet or Radiant Orchid, are colors associated with enlightenment. In Eastern belief, the Chakras, or power centers of the body are assigned a gradation of color, much like the rainbow. The highest color at the top of the head, Violet, is associated with the sixth sense.

The popularity of colors often reflects what is happening in the culture as well as the collective psyche of our planet. The color experts that predict the yearly colors and Pantone, the company that made the Radiant Orchid choice, have an uncanny way of knowing what we are or will be thinking about.

In the coming year I believe we are all ready for a more enlightened way of seeing our lives and responding to the needs of our planet. Uncommon Violet may be just what we need to see, to capture our attention and look at things in a new way.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”   Mark Twain

As Bright as This Day in May

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The clearest of all colors in the rainbow, the jovial hue of yellow heralds the month of May.  As sunshine begins to warm the earth this time of year, the color yellow has always represented that brilliant orb of the sun shining above in our earliest childhood drawings.Education

What other color evokes such a feeling of happiness? Could you imagine the smiley face icon as grinning purple? Just would not cause the corners of your mouth to rise in appreciation of the cheery yellow messenger.

Yet, yellow is not always viewed in a positive light.  There is a myth that yellow painted walls in the home cause babies to cry and couples to argue.

Like any perpetual legend, there is some truth to the story. Excessive exposure to this brilliant color contributes to eyestrain. Wouldn’t that make you cranky?

The yellow of May speaks encouragement. This primary color makes up two thirds of every imaginable color. It’s significance in the world, like your own importance, is critical.

The newness of this year is waning but not your commitment to your accomplishments.

Take this buoyant day in May to bask in your own light. Yellow is the lighthearted optimist. Take out your brush and paint a jaunty smile on your self portrait today.


“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”  Pablo Picasso


A Terrifying Day

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

This day of the "Wearing of the Green" is a terrifying day for someone who doesn't like green. Yes, that's me.

st. patrick's day backgroundEverywhere I look, shamrocks, leprechauns, and green festoons. And that's only what's decorating the people that insist on wearing a wee bit of green so as to not get pinched today.

Never been a fan of green for most of my life. No green in my closet. Not a tint of green on my walls or furniture. Even my plants are more brown than green. Why is that?

Especially this year, with Emerald being the Color of the Year, why do I continually avoid it?

Through the years, as I've studied the effects of colors on our feelings, I noticed that whenever I'm around green, I feel a tinge of nausea. Nothing uncontrollable, just uncomfortable.

Doesn't happen in a forest or in a verdant meadow, but only when the color green is introduced in my immediate environment. I just don't feel right.

All of our feelings about color have their beginnings in our early color memories. To get to the source of my aversion to green, I concentrated on my earliest memories about the color.

That voyage into the color recesses of my brain took me back to a grade school memory. Whenever I had a headache or upset tummy as small child at school, I was sent to the clinic room to lie down until I felt better.

I would lie down on the little cot, already feeling queasy, and look up at the ceiling and bare walls. Back in the day, it seems all institutions were painted a certain shade of, yes, green.

You see, in my sickened state, feeling badly, I was surrounded by a color that, even to this day, brings back those uncomfortable feelings. "Sickly green," I call it, and do everything I can to avoid it.

This terrifying day will be over soon for another year. I wonder if there is a place on earth that does not celebrate this holiday.

You'll find me there next year, tickled pink and not green. 


"That's what the holidays are for- for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute them. Isn't that the Irish way."  Lara Flynn Boyle


It’s Official- the Color of the Year

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

It's official, the Color of the Year for 2013 is the top story of every media outlet; online, television, magazines and e-zines. But it wasn't always so.

Unless you were a color fanatic, as I confess to being, this yearly "news" was largely unnoticed by the masses. The color powers that be have dutifully made their proclamation every year for decades without much fanfare.

It wasn't until that certain favored hue started to appear everywhere in the stores did the buying public notice what looked like a trend. "Why is everything pink this year?" you may have wondered in 2011 as Honeysuckle was the color of that year.

That was just a year after we were awash in watery Turquoise for 2010, and bathed in the sunlight of Mimosa yellow in 2009. I'll bet you have at least one Tangerine Tango home accessory item or piece of clothing in this year's exuberant riot of color.

Rainbow colors all get a turn at notoriety eventually, and many hues in between. Even an odd neutral color, Sand Dollar, had the yearly honor in 2006.

Creating the Color of the Year adds to the excitement of color selection. (Told you I'm fanatical.) Proclaimed by the authority on color, Pantone is best known for their innovative system of identifying, matching and communicating colors that is used throughout the world. Through a numeric system, the same red or any other color can be reproduced with exactness.

So should we all survive to see 2013, enjoy the newest hue in the coming year. It's already turning up at stores near you.

Oh, in the off chance that you don't know yet, the 2013 Color of the Year is Emerald.

Dorothy was smitten by it. As you will be too.


"Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises."
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Color Me Confused

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Have you ever wondered why cars are made in silver, or blue, or red, or black? Why do you see the color pink on everything from fabrics to phones one year, and by next year, pink is totally gone?

Where do colors come from?

Where do colors go?

Who thinks up those descriptive color names?

Who decides the colors that populate our world?

Color trends change with the seasons. Just as nature’s color palette changes as the months go by, the colors that are introduced in the marketplace change just as quickly. The difference is that nature is predictable in her yearly array.

Colors selections, as they are mass marketed, come as a surprise to most of us. The choices we are presented with each season for our clothing, furnishings, electronics and cars mysteriously appear. We see them in the media, on store shelves, on the car lots, and we dutifully choose them. Some higher authority deemed that we wear, sit on, listen to and drive products in the new colors of the season.

In just a few days, the Color of the Year for 2013 will be announced by Pantone, the "keeper of the colors," if you will. Once the proclamation is made, you will see their color selection everywhere in the marketplace, there for you to choose.

As with every choice we make in our lives, choosing to become part of the masses as a follower of each new trend, yields us the lifestyle that defines the masses.

One of confusion due to lack of self-identity.

A life of conformity rather than creativity.

Do you pick what you’re told to because you can’t decide what’s best for you? An absence of a clear self-identity makes choices confusing, so it’s easier to go along with the trend. That way you’ll be accepted as just like everyone else.

What begins as the easy choice, after time, creates your image to the world.

The choices you make, however subtle they appear at the time, accumulate and create the person you become.

Do you want to be seen as the perfect follower, or as a person set apart from the crowd? 


"When you look like you stepped out of a catalog, that's never good. People shouldn't succumb to trend, they should interpret trend."
Rachel Zoe

Friday By Any Other Name

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Color schemes and combinations have always described various Holidays. I just read an article about the Thanksgiving color palette. Seasonal and comforting. Soon red and green will replace the gold and orange of the harvest season. But this week we have also have a day dedicated to everyone's favorite non-color, black.

Black Friday is on the lips and on the sale flyers of advertisers everywhere. At this time of the year that reminds us to be grateful and to share all that we have, before the leftover turkey is cold, we run to stores and to the computer or iPad to acquire even more.  Through our efforts, commerce is emboldened before the end of the year, and the term Black Friday aptly describes the day of transition from red ink to black ink on the bottom line of retail outlets. Bean counters rejoice.

Black Friday even has a uniform of the day. And of course, it's black. Black sweatpants, leggings or jeans ensure a comfortable shopping experience and are rugged enough to survive the narrow escapes from errant shopping carts and the sprints down aisle three for the four AM time limited bargains.

The drink of the day is also black- coffee, the blacker the better. Black Friday takes stamina, endurance, and nerves of steel that only this inky beverage can deliver. Double espresso if you dare. True believers forgo the latte till the end of the hunt.

And let's not forget the Black Friday mask. From lack of sleep and the frenzied pace, out pop dramatic black circles under the eyes. As sweat accumulates on the determined brow,  mascara runs down the face, extending the signature mask's visage below the cheeks. The face of a warrior has emerged.

Every color deserves its day. Even black, the somber, serious and powerful color, black. But on this Friday, so described as black, remember that black is also elegant. Carry with you on Friday, the elegance of black in all you dealings with others.

And most importantly, reserve these nourishing leftovers from the day before, thanksgiving and gratitude for all your blessings.


"People think that everyone wears black in France: in fact they all wear grey." 

Jean Paul Gaultier

Are You A Color Victim?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Color is such an integral part of daily life. Do you realize how much you rely on color to navigate through your day?

In choosing where to park your car, color defines the yellow lined parking space from the blue restricted spaces. When observing a person or an object, you use color to describe the visual attributes. And most importantly, color communicates the brands you look for when you shop.

Color's power to communicate extends beyond the label design on cans of soup. Manufacturers carefully craft the look and the colors of their logo to accurately represent their product and their message. Using the power of color, they get your attention and tell their product story.

The colors you select for yourself also communicate your personal brand. Do your color choices accurately communicate your level of color confidence? Or do your color selections proclaim you as a color victim?

To find out if you are a color victim, answer these three questions.

Do you always take other people's advice instead of trusting your own color instincts?

Do you make cautious color choices, usually opting for beige or black?

Do you follow every new color trend only to find yourself with a full closet and nothing to wear?

Well, does the Cinderella shoe fit? Too close for comfort? 

Do not despair. Being a color victim is a treatable condition. And you've discovered the first step to recovery. You know you have color issues. And I have color solutions for you.

You're in the right place as I continue to reveal tips to boost your color confidence and always…

Feel Great in Color.


"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."
 Harvey Fierstein

Your Own Shades of Gray

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

A well known author, speaker and visionary thinker announced on her blog this week that she would no longer look the way she does in her current photo. She is known by her signature dark hair, worn like a cap across her forehead and above her ears, contrasting sharply with her pale skin.

She decided, for reasons of health, to stop dyeing her hair and let her natural gray color take over. What she discovered is that nature has given her "a wondrous palette of black and silver and white that works best now with my face."

Can you hear a collective sigh of relief?

Instead of chasing after eternal youth, she feels free to embrace the real person she has become. That is a freedom we can all share. Nature knows best in may things and she is an expert in hair color.

                   As your skin tone changes, avoid too dark hair color.

                   Natural looking highlights bring light to the face.

                   Gray is great if your hair is healthy.

Be mindful of the changes in skin tone throughout your life. As skin pigment changes revisit the colors you wear. You'll find you look great in colors you never considered years ago.

                   Lighten your color palette as your skin pales.

                   Wear less black or harsh colors next to your face.

                   Do wear bright colors to express your exuberance.

                   Don’t follow every trend if it’s not your color.

                   Smart women dress in signature colors.

This “best time of our lives” is all about being authentically you.

You have earned the freedom of not caring what other people think of you because you know you are looking and feeling your best. You are accountable only to yourself for your own happiness.

Your color choices in your clothing, your home décor and even the color of the car you drive define your authentic self, which is the true source of your happiness.

Feel Great in Color!


"Gray hair is God's graffiti."
Bill Cosby

The Most Revealing Cover

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

How do people get the impressions about you that they do? Like judging a book by its cover, outside appearance is what people first notice.

Book marketers work at crafting just the right look for the cover of a new release. They study what people notice first, which colors and graphics will catch the prospective buyer’s eyes, even what placement in the store will sell most effectively. 

In your marketplace, you are under the same scrutiny every day. What about your “cover” is being noticed? Is you apparel, your hairstyle and your grooming, reflecting the popular look of the day? You can analyze your “cover” look two ways.

First, is you’re following what everyone else is doing- wearing this season’s hot new color,  tangling cascades of unruly hair, or sporting a scruff of beard- you’ve succeeded at fitting in. If this is your goal, you’ve made it.

Another way to see it- by mimicking this au courante look, you’re like every other book on the shelf. That’s marketing suicide. An author may have a signature style of writing, but each book is unique and must be marketed that way to be noticed.

You are a person with a unique point of view. You have distinct characteristics both physically and emotionally. Are you camouflaging what’s best about you behind colors or styles that don’t suit you? Have you not changed your style for decades?

Take the time to discover what look reflects who you are- the real person- the contents behind the cover. That’s how best sellers are made.


"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
Thomas Jefferson

Dramatic Results

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

There’s something about the natural drama of the late fall. Storm clouded skies are streaked with variations of gray, from charcoal to dove. Yet in the opposite direction, the sun breaks through to cast a golden glow on the remaining yellow leaves and bare branches silhouetted against the autumn sky. What a magnificent sight!

You too can create dramatic color results by using one of Mother Nature’s same devises, contrast. The deep gray of the sky and the brilliant gold leaves creates a contrast that certainly is attention getting. We tend to pick neutral colors as a base for our wardrobe and our home décor, so everything “goes together.”

Yes, that’s fine- it all matches, but where is the drama?

A color client, Betsy, confided in me that she had just bought several new pieces for her wardrobe, all in the same color, black. “I never have to think about what goes with what.”

“How does your new wardrobe make you feel?” I inquired.

“Drab.” was her reply.

Betsy needed some contrast to make her new basic wardrobe come alive. Looking at her dark hair and eyes, I suggested she try on a cobalt blue jacket over her black top and pants.

An amazing pop of color!

Next, she tried on a red and black leopard print jacket over her black basics.

“Ooh, I love red!” was her reaction.

Finally, Betsy modeled a silky knit, cardigan sweater with a medallion pattern of black and rich magenta.

“This is my new favorite sweater.” Betsy nodded.

All three simple additions to Betsy’s basic black wardrobe foundation created just what she needed, a contrast.

And, most importantly, the colors drew attention back up to her face.

If you’re starting with black, dark blue or charcoal gray, add a bright color for contrast.

Or, if your beginning palette is pale, beige or off-white, contrast with a deeper accent color.


Create your own drama this season!


"Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. "
Julia Child

Tell Me More

Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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Feel Great in Color!