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A Close Encounter with Yellow


I usually don’t write about my personal experiences with color but a recent encounter with a startling yellow dress is worth the space on this blog. In fact, the dress was such a bright yellow that I felt like kids might try to ride me to school. Okay, it’s a cliche, but school bus yellow is a color that can really be too overwhelming for my fair coloring. Soft creamy banana yellow is okay, but not mango yellow.

The story of my unexpected experience with this color is quite typical of any wardrobe crises. The day before my scheduled color seminar for a group of bankers, I found myself at a loss for what to wear. Those extra pounds from all the great food in Pakistan ruled out most of my usual outfits and the options were a drab avocado blazer or a little black dress.

After three hours of shopping, I found it! A bright yellow shirtwaist dress. This would break all my rules about “my best colors.” I wondered if maybe I was so close to color that I couldn’t see my colors - my personal colors - objectively. How humbling to admit that it was time to get help. After getting positive feedback from the salesperson, random customers, and later the personal shopper at the store, I bought it.

I will never regret it. Of course, the obvious resulted. It was an instant identification of the color consultant speaker - and even before the introduction. It also helped make one of the points in the lecture: Pure yellow has the highest visibility of any color of the spectrum. (Which is why most fire trucks and emergency vehicles in the US are now yellow.)

This is not the end of the story because the most amazing things happened after the lecture. Although I was exhausted, I had to make several stops on the way home - a grocery store, a car wash, and the post office. During my brief encounters with cashiers and clerks, I was stunned by how abnormally friendly they were. It wasn’t me - I was lifeless and probably didn’t have any energy left over to smile - it was that color that overwhelmed people with happiness.

Happy, happy, joy, joy for yellow. Just for the record, it’s Pantone 1225C

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