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The Colors of Your Life
by ReAnn J. Scott, Stitches Great Fibre Getaways


Having just returned from two weeks in the desert Southwest, I am once again reminded of just how nature's color palette, in the area where we live, plays such a major role in the colors we choose to wear.

Born and raised in the Midwest, certain colors immediately come to mind.  Because we experience four complete seasonal changes here, our colors hues change and vary with those seasons.  The rich, bright greens of spring that announce a new growing season deepen into rich, dark emeralds during the lazy day on Summer and turn drab khaki during the long winter months.  Living in the 'breadbasket of the U.S." immediately brings to mind the rich brown of the newly turned soil, the gold of the waving wheat fields and the bright blue of a summer sky.  Fall adds glorious shades of russet, golden brown, olive and red to combine with winter's pristine white, blinding sunny yellow, crystal sky blue, and subtle shades of gray.  Spring explodes with pink, lavender, pale yellow and tan - all combing to offer a virtual crayon-box of colors from which to select.

When I think about the colors I choose when sewing throughout the year, I find I naturally turn to the colors surrounding me during that season.  A tailored, pinstriped gray suit is the perfect outfit to sew and wear for a Winter business meeting but would most certainly be our of place on a sunny, Summer day.  A khaki blazer could be constructed and worn during both a Midwest Spring and Fall, but would look inappropriate in our long Winter months. 

I also find that I tend to compliment my outfits with a dash of color from the opposite season.  My gray, pinstriped suit looks great worn with a summer yellow silk blouse and the khaki blazer can be matched with either  white or a summer green accessory.

My "Midwesterner's eye " sees how the desert colors play out in the color choices of the houses, indoor furnishings, and clothing worn by the residents of Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California.  These views only reinforce the idea of nature's colors impacting our wardrobe color choices.

Nature's color palette for Arizona an New Mexico is so very different from that of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota.

The residents of the Southwest ate surrounded by the deep purple and green of snow topped mountains that fade quickly to desert sand, the washed out blue and yellow of a hot summer sky and the soft red of their clay-based soil.  Their houses are painted the colors of the desert or are constructed in soft adobe shades, with interiors done in pale shades of lavender, mauve, tan, and green.  Their color choices for clothing are the same shades, with only a slight deepening of those shades during their short, cool months.  They accent with colors of midnight blue and twinkling silver- taken from their vast and seemingly endless night skies.

Perhaps you live in the deep South or near and oceanfront or in the mountains of Montana - then you too have a natural color palette distinctive of your area.

I can stand in my sewing room, surrounded by boxes of fabric collected from my travels throughout the  world, and distinguish the fabrics purchased in Chicago from those purchased in Phoenix- just by their colors.  I have found that when fabric shopping in different areas of the country. I gravitate to the natural colors of that area,  A rainy visit to England found me buying soft heather tweed in foggy, rain-soaked shades of blue, gray, green, and lavender.

I have participated in several seminars where the speaker had the entire group close their eyes and envision walking from room to room, each room with a different, very distinct color.  When I first experienced this exercise, I was absolutely blown-away by the mind's ability to "see" colors so clearly.   The actual change in one's mental state when surrounded by a specific color, i.e. the calming effect of being in an all blue room, compared to the high-energy effects of being in a bright yellow room, were amazing.

Take a small test - the next time you are in your favorite fabric store and your hand automatically reaches out to caress a particular piece of fabric, stop and consider why the colors that attract you the most ate the colors that nature provides as primary to your daily life and make you 'mentally happy'.

So, open your door, step outside and see the colors that surround you and realize what an intricate part they play when choosing your next piece of fabric.

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