Countries and Clothing Colours

14 06 2012

One thing that has stood out to me in my travels around the world, is the huge variety in what is considered “acceptable” in terms of clothing colours.

Yesterday I was talking with some of my colleagues about when and where pink became a “girls’ colour“, and whether that was something that women chose, or something that men chose, or something that came about naturally through associations with flowers and delicate things being pink.

Then this morning, colour came up again as a topic of conversation when I complimented a colleague on her brightly coloured shirt, and she thanked me, paused, and then noted that it was one of her least colourful pieces from Vietnam. Likewise – I myself have many colourful clothes from overseas that are just not easily worn here in North America because of how bright they are.

It seems as if there is some sort of (potentially interesting research material) association between certain types of cities and places, and how drab or colourful the clothing is there. My own mental association goes something like this:


Dark, dreary, and mostly all in black – I had a friend from London once point out to me on the subway that I was the only person on the train not wearing any black.

New York City


Still dark, still generally monotone – with lots of glamour vibe going on… New York fashion is like a dark gemstone, glittering only when the light hits it just right.



Navy, khaki, army green… still a lot of neutrals, but with pops of bright colours like orange…

Cape Town


More colours than neutrals but still toned down a bit with black and white.

Women of Rural India



Check it out next time you are traveling – is the place you are in more colourful or less colourful than your home country? Then look down… and hey, maybe brighten up a little. 🙂

– Sarah Topps 2012




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