There is a shade of red for every woman. –Audrey Hepburn
The color red catches the eye and fires the imagination. Red is fascinating, too, because it has so many meanings. Taylor Swift says, “Red is on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation, passion. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, danger, fear, anger, and frustration.”
Red is the color of extremes; it has energy and power. And that’s not just true for Americans. Cultures around the world recognize the power of the color red.
The Best Things in Life – Love, Passion, Courage
In our culture, red symbolizes the best in people and their relationships: courage, love, devotion, and passion. Robert Burns wrote, “O my Luve’s like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June.” The red stripes in the American flag signify the hardiness and valor of the American people.
Red also is great at getting attention and rejoicing. When we have a red letter day, we celebrate by painting the town red! Red radiates confidence. The designer Bill Blass said, “When in doubt, wear red.”
The Dark Side – Danger, Anger, Rage
On the darker side, when we’re angry, we see red, and when we notice warning signs, we call them red flags. Stop signs and traffic signals, fire trucks, and the international “no” sign – the circle with the slash – all use the power of red to call attention, offer warning, and signal danger.
Some scientists say the power of red goes all the way back to our most primitive selves. Red is the color of fire and blood, and can mean our very survival or real danger.
In the Mood
The color red has a powerful effect on us emotionally. Women are told to wear red on a date if they want to excite the interest of their companion, and designers use red in rooms to keep the energy level high. Wearing red in the workplace can signal that the wearer is ambitious, and the ladies of the Red Hat Society proudly wear their hats as symbols of their vitality and joy for living, regardless of age.
Red around the World
In China and India, brides traditionally wear bright red. In China, it is the color of good luck, happiness, and wealth, and in India, red means purity, fertility, and prosperity. In Japan, red is revered as the color of life, associated with female reproduction. And in Greece, red is associated with vitality and masculinity.
Make Mine Red
With so many different tints of red available, Audrey Hepburn’s words are surely true: there is a shade of red for every woman – and every man, too. Wear red when you’re happy or when you want to be, when you want to draw attention, or just whenever that red blouse winks at you and says, “Now!”
It’s all about feeling beautiful. After all, as Gwyneth Paltrow said, “Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”