Green – it’s not just about the environment

posted in: Colour Analysis | 2

Green is harmonious, approachable and empathetic – like pink, and trustworthy like blue, which it is close to. But it is also nature’s colour – the colour that transforms sunshine into sugar – the greens of grass, trees and leaves. Green “blackboards” were introduced as green is much easier on the eye than black. Apparently we can distinguish more shades of green than any other colour, which may be true – certainly the blue-greens and the yellow-greens seem like two different colours to me. Green is associated with nature and a walk in the country – outdoor outfitters love to make everything from jackets to hats and socks in khaki, forest or leaf. Green can be seen as boring and bland, although possibly acceptable on a Springwatch presenter.

Springwatch presenter Christ Packham in Green fleece jacket, with rabbits
Chris Packham, with fleece and bunnies (Guardian)

Yet certain versions of green are desirable, sexy and lithe. I love the dress from Atonement, worn by Keira Knightly. It’s warm Absinthe green glows in the moonlight, as the actress smokes outside in her supple, bias-cut satin gown.

Green silk satin evening gown
Green silk satin evening gown

Green can work brilliantly with its polar opposite red, or if that is too strident try it with pink. Avocado and shell work nicely together. The colours that sit next to it in the colour wheel are the ones that make it up – blue and yellow. Patterns that include these shades, with green, can look very pretty. I love the combination of dark green with white, navy and dark brown.Try dark greens as an alternative to navy blue if you suit deeper shades – very smart with white or pastels. The muted greens look super together, perhaps layered with reddish brown accessories. Everyone can wear green and it works well with other colours in your wardrobe. Using gold or silver or rose gold with the right shade of green can be stunning. Here are the six main flavours of green, to help you plan your wardrobe, shopping or dressmaking.

Deep or light?

Two shades of green, one dark and one light
Dark or Light Green

Cool or warm?

Two shades of green - cool and warm
Cool or Warm Green?

Bright or muted?

Two shades of green - first is bright, second is muted
Bright or Muted Green?


2 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Green is probably my favourite colour, I think because of the nature associations. In fact, I live exactly where I live because when I look out of every window I see an expanse of trees, with the greens changing with the light. I especially love the way that greens become deeper when seen against a grey sky. It is very soothing to me. My mom used to live in a house in the middle of a hollow in a forest, with the hollow full of woodpeckers that would act as an alarm clock. My dad had green eyes, as does Gianni!

    I agree with you about Keira Knightley’s dress in Atonement – swoon-worthy, as was your mother’s gown in the other photo. I think I have an emerald gown in my future, although goodness knows where I would wear it. OK, correct that, a forest green gown in my future. I actually made a forest green gown when I was in my twenties. I wore it to a fundraiser at New Year’s, and I loved it. And then it disappeared from my closet when I was living in a shared house with other students. No one ever admitted to pinching it from me. 🙂 It was a draped affair with an open back that I made from a Vogue pattern, with a more risqué neckline than I would wear now, made of a soft wool crepe, and floor-length. I owe myself another gown, methinks!

  2. Joyce

    great post as always (though Im late to the party) I’ll be a little more open to muted greens, since I’ve had bad luck with others (wrong green) . I did see a lovely combination fabric of blue yellow and green, I was drawn to it. That gown is beautiful. Thanks for this wonderful information Kate.

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