Science says: Green reassures us. When the landscape grows lush with leaves and grass, we know both food and water are nearby, says Angela Wright, author of A Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology and founder of British consulting group, Colour Affects.
Plus green is easy on the eye: its wavelength of about 510 nanometers strikes the eye in a way that requires no adjustment to perceive, says Alan Hedge, a professor in Cornell University’s Department of Design and Environmental Analysis.
The bottom line: You’ve just gone through a messy breakup, but you have to meet up with him to discuss “logistics” (ie. Go retrieve your hair dryer and favorite books from his place.) Pull on a calming, moss-colored dress for the encounter, and show him how pulled-together you are. “A soft green resonates balance,” says Wright. “It also supports the equilibrium between mind, body and emotions.”
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Not your color? For a similar effect, try a crisp white. It symbolizes truce, says Walch. Or tone it down with a different hue, like olive.
Conventional wisdom: The soothing effect of the pale blue sky pictured on your screen saver may be the primary reason you haven’t chucked your computer out the window in a fit of anger.
Science says: Strong blues foster clear thought, while softer shades calm our minds and help us keep focused, color psychologist Wright believes. The most pervasive color in nature, blue wavelengths take the longest for our eyes to register. According to Pantone and BuzzBack’s color survey, 27 percent of respondents picked a shade of blue as their favorite color, calling it “calm and peaceful.”
The bottom line: His meddlesome mother-in-law just arrived on your doorstep with an open-ended ticket. Put on a blue shirt when you sit him down to explain why this might pose a small problem for you—you’ll exude trustworthiness, loyalty, and reliability. But be careful not to pick too soft a shade, since the subtle gentleness of baby blue lacks the authority of a deeper hue.
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Not your color? Impossible. Blue flatters everyone.