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Pastel colors

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Can anybody explain to me why it is supposed to wear pastel colors in warm summers but not in cold winters? What’s wrong with wearing pastels all year round if they match your low-contrast complexion pretty well?
post #2 of 18

Same reason you don't wear white after Labor Day: because it's the "rules". However, I say if it looks good, wear it!

post #3 of 18

The "why" of the pastel / warm weather association dates back, as many things to, to the heyday of the British Empire.

 

Historically, some of the brighter and livelier clothing dyes came from warm countries (such as India). Accordingly, these colors were often associated with lighter, cool-wearing fabrics and garments from said countries. Ever since, there's been a traditional connection between the wearing of bright colors and the Spring and Summer months.

post #4 of 18
dark colors absorb heat in the summer?
weather is typically dark and gray with the winter and bright and sunny in the sprint and summer?
you cant think of anything?

wear what you want when you want. not because of what people tell you. i wear light pastels occasionally in the fall/winter. but not full-blown. obv you would look like quite a fruit with nantucket red pants and mint green shirt and braided cotton belt in a wintry blizzard
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_sulks View Post

Can anybody explain to me why it is supposed to wear pastel colors in warm summers but not in cold winters? What’s wrong with wearing pastels all year round if they match your low-contrast complexion pretty well?

I say, if it looks good wear it. I wore a pair of white pants with a light weight navy blazer last week when it was 80 (here in Boston) and I got many compliments. Should I have declined to wear white because it was pre labor day? Ef that.

Just anchor your pastels with a dark navy, and wear climate appropriate clothing.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by b9w4 View Post

Same reason you don't wear white after Labor Day: because it's the "rules". However, I say if it looks good, wear it!
I'd love to know how come we have these rules. There must be a history.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackie Treehorn View Post

The "why" of the pastel / warm weather association dates back, as many things to, to the heyday of the British Empire.
Any prooflink? Not a challenge. Just curious.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trompe le Monde View Post

dark colors absorb heat in the summer?
Yes but they don't really warm you up in winters.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie22 View Post

I say, if it looks good wear it. I wore a pair of white pants with a light weight navy blazer last week when it was 80 (here in Boston) and I got many compliments. Should I have declined to wear white because it was pre labor day? Ef that.
Just anchor your pastels with a dark navy, and wear climate appropriate clothing.
80 degree is a pretty warm weather so white pants are totally okay for that.
post #10 of 18

I don't really follow the color rules too much, there are days when I just feel like wearing lighter colors even in fall or a combination of both dark and lighter colors.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_sulks View Post

Yes but they don't really warm you up in winters.
You are correct. I am soon to finish my dissertation on this.
post #12 of 18

I have no idea what the real history is, but I'll mention a few things that sound superficially plausible and may be connected to the rise of pastels as summerwear (while possibly being totally irrelevant):

 

- the association of pastels with summer and/or casual clothes is not particularly ancient. You can see pastel shades being used in plenty of formal items as recently as pre-French Revolution.

- in the era before (good) colour-fast dyes, people tended to overdye items to ensure a dark, saturated colour. This often washed out over time, especially when exposed to a combination of heavy rain and bright sunshine. Bright 18th/19th century military uniforms often demonstrated this effect (the dye-job tended to be cheaper/lower quality) especially when exposed to climates like India, with its alternating seasons of monsoons and hot sunshine. Redcoat uniforms often turned a bit pastel pink over time.

- some traditional Indian pyjamas tended to be pastel shades (if not white)

- you can construct a possible narrative (which may be entirely a fabrication) of pastels becoming associated with warm weather in the minds of the British (and therefore everywhere else eventually) as a result of the above two factors.

- of course, more recent pop culture like Miami Vice absolutely cemented the association. But those colours reflected pre-existing colour trends though, rather than creating them de novo. It did massively magnify and disseminate the association though.

 

- leaving weather associations, there's also the association of pastels with femininity and childhood, probably stemming from pastels being fairer/less serious for the fairer sex, or a paler version of "grown-up" colours for children. All "not serious" and therefore for men only suitable for casual wear espeically with sunshine.

 

- on a pure colour/visual level, pastels are a dark colour mixed with white, and so will appear brighter (and therefore, more pleasing to look at) in bright weather with the sun high in the sky. They tend to look "muddy" in darker weather.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your nice posting. I think I’m going to have to continue my exploration on this intricate issue.
post #14 of 18

people generally wear colored clothes based on mood as well so maybe the season does have an impact in some ways.

post #15 of 18
I sort of thought it was to reflect the generally more vibrant colors of nature in spring and summer.

Wearing pastel pink or green in a grey winter would seem out of place. Just like wearing a drab grey might in spring.

Sunlight favors very bright colors also. It is not a coincidence that Italian coast, Brazil, Spain and south France favor bright colors. North France, areas like Milan, Turin and of course England (and Scotland more so) are more subdued.
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