Color coding

dating back to medieval times, people wore black to funerals because it was believed that the spirit of the deceased couldn't recognize the family or friends and follow them home. the color white has been a symbol of joyous celebration since early roman times, but i think everyone in western culture these days associates white for brides with the early twentieth century meaning of purity. some color meanings are passed along through tradition, their original significance perhaps no longer pertinent to the occasion or participants, but rituals are rituals. they generally only effect us wardrobe-wise on rare milestones. nonetheless, i have been thinking about it and cannot decide if these color-coded rules for certain roles in our lives are comforting signifiers or inhibitors. i wonder how long they will last.

to what extent do you adhere to color codes?
would you embrace more extensive rules: blue for first day on the job; yellow for retirement; green for birthdays, etc.?


La Primavera said...

I am of a little younger generation, so the colour codes have never been that prevalent. However, I do respect the most common of them, like to wear black/dark shades to funerals. I do believe in etiquette and would be mortified if I would hurt someone with my fashion choices in a time of sorrow for example. I am also fond of quite classic clothes, so I don't feel bad for putting up with the "codes".

So many interesting thoughts once again! How can you almost daily come up with brilliant, thought-provoking questions?

Candid Cool said...

I'm not familiar with some of the color codes. But I do feel it is important to be aware of the "definite don'ts" in certain occasssions such as a wedding or funeral for example.

ps I enjoy reading your blog too, it's part of my morning breakfast routine right up there with The Satorialist.

Carlene said...

Aside from not wearing all white to weddings that are not my own, I don't adhere, although I do wear subdued colors to funerals.

I love the color codes of other traditions. I'm thinking of Chinese red wedding dress, and also have heard of some cultures (Buddhist maybe?) wearing white for funerals, which somehow seems so beautiful and appropriate.

Also, it used to be that women wore "widow's weeds" (certain black garments that were recognizable) so they could be recognized as grieving and treated appropriately. I wish that was still available to those who want or need it.

And the idea of wearing a certain color on your birthday? Genius!! So everyone would know, thereby creating a greater chance of cake.

editor said...

i am flattered beyond flattered that this blog is enjoyed and embraced for its effort at stimulating thoughts and excuses for cake. ;P

la primavera - the daily part is hard! but i think that is the power and promise and appeal of the blog, so i'm trying my best.

i like everyone's consideration of what colors mean in the relationship towards others, and as a tool to express respect.

carlene - interesting that you find the color codes of others preferable or more intriguing than your own.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely from the "breakin' the law" camp in regards to the finer points of color rules, but that doesn't mean I don't agonize over how I'm putting together my colors and if I'm combining different pieces in a pleasing way.

Jil Sander has helped me see how nice navy blue looks with green - that's been a pleasant surprise and helpful to my wardrobe. :)

editor said...

genx theorist- no question about it, color combos are very fun to explore, but today i was specifically thinking about the occasions when we have very specific guides on colors, even more so than the actual pieces of clothing we should wear.
you're a rebel then, eh? i myself did not have a white wedding. :p

Iheartfashion said...

I'm today wearing white pants (after Labor Day!) so I guess I don't subscribe to the color codes, although I wouldn't wear all white to someone else's wedding, or a bright, distracting outfit to a funeral.
A woman I don't know well wore all leather/leopard print and a very short skirt to my father's memorial service, and I found that a bit over the top.