colour therapy


by Jules Standish

Colour guru Jules Standish deciphers this season’s trend for bold block colour and shows you how wearing the right tones will transform the way you look and feel


Ridley London's new collection of bright block colour dresses come in a spectrum of uplifting new shades in both silks and cottons 

Flick through the pages of this month’s Vogue, thumb through any Sunday supplement, or look at the recent images of our very own Duchess of Cambridge in the Caribbean and I’m sure you’ll quickly work out that colour is back. More specifically, you’ll recognise this season’s key catwalk trend for 'block colour’ dressing, dressing head to toe in one gloriously vibrant and uplifting shade. As a self confessed colour obsessive and true believer in the power of colour, this really is the most fabulous news. If anything is going to lift our spirits, energise us and get things motoring in the right direction embracing a big splash of colour will definitely do it. 


why everyone's talking about dopamine dressing

With the promise of optimism and fun after two years of lockdowns and uncertainty, it’s no surprise that the world's fashion houses and colour experts have chosen a high energy spectrum of colours designed specifically to induce positivity and a sense of celebration for this spring and summer. There’s no better time to think about embracing optimistic colour dressing to improve one’s own energy and outlook. With a hashtag attracting over 55K dopamine dressing is a thing with a raft of evidence on how positive and uplifting colour directly improves wearer wellbeing. Known as the “feel-good” hormone dopamine is actually the brains neurotransmitter associated with pleasurable sensations that can in fact boost our moods.  How fabulous to know that we can choose colours to wear that make us feel good to create a positive experience that then releases dopamine!


The science of colour

Did you know that colour and light has a direct affect on our hormones? The photoreceptors in our eyes react to seeing light and transmit stimulus to the visual centre which translates into colours.  We use the majority of this for our eyesight and the remainder for stimulating our glands, in particular the hypothalamus which can affect our metabolism, hormones, and nervous system.  Colours with the longer wavelengths that sit at the hotter end of the spectrum red, orange and yellow can stimulate our senses.  The shorter wavelengths of light that sit at the cooler end of the spectrum are green, blue and violet/purple are more restful on our eyes and thus can have a calming effect on our senses.


looking and feeling great is also about embracing your hero flattering tones

But with a whole spectrum of shades to choose from which ones are going to have the most positive effect on how you look and feel? Particularly as we’re all so unique and different, and we all want to wear colours which are really going to flatter us and make us look and feel incredible. The effect of matching the right colours to the right person is incredibly profound, and this effect is only magnified with age. Equally, putting someone in the wrong colours can have a profoundly negative and draining effect, adding years to your age, diminishing skin radiance and accentuating features like eye bags and wrinkles. How would you feel if you thought the colour you were wearing was ageing your face by ten years? Whilst everyone has their own individual blend of genetic colouring and personality traits, one seasonal palette will usually predominate and have the strongest influence on our skin tone, personality and health.  Discover your personal palette by reading my previous blog. To successfully embrace this season’s block colour trend you need to look more precisely at how different colour tones will fit your unique genetic colouring and personality traits. And this is where Ridley London are so unique as a fashion label. 


getting your dresses individually made to order takes dressing with colour to a whole new level

Because Ridley individually make every garment to order in an incredible array of colours, tones and prints they’re able to be more flexible and inclusive, than traditional fashion brands. In fact ”colour therapy” is integrated into the Ridley way of doing things, so colours and designs can be tailored for the different shapes, sizes, ethnicities and skin tones of each unique customer. Here are my thoughts on getting that big bold hit of happiness in this season’s hottest colours or how you can tone things down in a print or pattern to suit you. This really is feel good fashion at its best. 


Brilliant Blue


A selection of Ridley London dresses and tops in Blue silks and cotton block colours along with some of this season's statement floral prints   

Blue gets voted time and again as being the world's favourite colour and from an accessibility perspective is flattering for almost every colouring and skin tone, at any time of year. Psychologically blue brings calming qualities and reassurance at the deeper end of the spectrum. This season's vibrant brighter hues combine this natural sense of harmony with the positive energy of a bright summer sky, and can be aired with darker tones for a more subtle look. 

Jules top tip: Turquoise is the best colour to wear for keeping a sun tan going longer! Plus it suits ALL skin-tones, and is a playful, youthful shade that you can happily mix with darker blues for an on-trend monotone look. Or go for a print that mixes energetic vibrant blues with more muted shades.


Vibrant Emerald


(Clockwise from top left) Ridley London Janie maxi dress in Emerald green crepe silk, Suzanna Ried wearing an Alicia top in Emerald crepe silk, and our popular Alicia midi dress in the green painter's meadow Liberty print silk chiffon 

Hit the refresh button and get spring ready to take on new challenges in energising and optimistic shades of emerald green. Located at the middle of the colour spectrum, green is a natural harmoniser, bringing balance to relationships, and drawing on the restorative power of nature to enhance wellbeing. While darker shades generally work better with more olive complexions, Ridley’s bright emerald is an accessible, flattering tone for most colourings.

Jules top tip: Why not add some glamour to green with metallics; gold for warm skin tones and silver for cool.  A statement necklace or earrings will instantly add some sparkle and brighten up any shade of green or wear a metallic belt and shoes to give your look a boost for an evening event. 


Standout Red


(Clockwise from top left) Ridley London's new halter neck Talitha top and Lola shirt dress in tomato red tana lawn cotton. (Bottom) two Ridley London dresses featuring two red floral prints

Red; Embrace passion and enthusiasm with this hot, confident colour. Red colours naturally stimulate the release of adrenaline, so it’s a wonderful statement colour to wear if you’re looking to stand out and will give you and those around you an instant boost of energy. I love Ridley’s accessible Tomato shade, it's warm yellow undertone flatters a variety of colourings and is slightly softer than crimson so a little more accessible and wearable.

Jules top tip: cool down reds stimulating hot nature with calming blue for a beautiful balance of the two.  A navy Ridley blazer will do the job nicely and is a smart way to dress to look your best. When you pair red with its complimentary colour green it has a bold, striking appeal that enhances all the powerful psychological properties of both, with green soothing reds fiery nature and allowing you to feel driven from your heart centre! 


On-Trend Pink


(Clockwise from top left) Ridley London Carina shirt dress and Carina blouse in fuschia tana lawn cotton. (Bottom) two softer pink options a Livi blouse in petal pink silk and a Carina shirt dress in the treloyhan printed floral silk

Undoubtedly one of this season's hottest colours combining empowerment, with having fun and spreading positivity and kindness to all. Bold shades like Ridley’s statement fuchsia combines compassion with high energy, while softer pastel shades can be more wearable and pretty and low key.  

Jules top tip: Team pink with green for a fresh, harmonious spring look. Hot bright pink looks stunning with a paler pastel green or reverse the shades. This combination can be put together in bold block colours which give a vibrant and dynamic look, or for a colourful mix then combine with a floral print.


Sociable Orange


(Clockwise from top left) a new Ridley London Heyde shirt dress in tangerine crepe silk (bottom) Talitha maxi dress in the tangerine spring proposal silk satin floral print, and and Alicia top in tangerine crepe silk

Full of fun loving optimism and in the words of the late great Frank Sinatra “orange is the happiest colour!” So enjoy with positivity the opportunities that embracing orange can bring and allow its sociable, outgoing properties to help you feel more adventurous, motivated and active. If a bold orange dress is too “out there” for you then offset a zesty top in this colour with a mix of other hues in a skirt or on-trend tailored suit. 

Jules top tip: The warmth and stimulating properties of orange are grounded by wearing brown accessories.  Think tan for a handbag or a maybe a wicker beach bag, perhaps consider a belt to cinch in the waist. Why not step into a pair of trendy clogs, wedges, or anything with a biscuity base.


Sunny Yellow


(Clockwise from top left) a new Ridley London Heyde shirt dress in lemon crepe silk (bottom) Arabella midi dress in classic lemon Hampton floral silk satin print and a new millicent shirt dress in the Edie floral print

Wear this standout sunshine shade to feel joyful and happy. Your self confidence will get a bright boost with the added benefit of making others smile! Yellow is literally like wrapping yourself in a ray of sunshine, so can be overly-stimulating for some, which is why Ridley have created some stunning prints and patterns for you to embrace the positive properties of yellow but in a more subtle way. 

Jules top tip:  Pick a purple or blue shade to combine with yellow as Ridley have perfectly done in their print dresses.  This will calm down yellow’s dynamic appeal whilst still allowing you to harness its joyous benefits. Shoes in white will keep things fresh for the warmer months. 


Pure Holiday White


(Clockwise from top left) a new Ridley London Isla dress in white broderie anglaise cotton. (Bottom) a new Carina blouse in white tana lawn cotton and a new Sadie maxi dress in floral ballet crepe silk

White is a key colour for this season and has featured prominently across multiple designer catwalks and collections. The colour exudes purity, optimism and refinement and just shouts summer. This fabulously flexible colour compliments any colour it’s teamed with, and works as a natural reflector bouncing light around. So a white dress will enhance a glowing beach fresh tan, making it the perfect holiday colour.

Jules top tip: See white as a blank canvas to express yourself openly and positively in a new way.  Dressing happily is about feeling good in the way you project yourself and how you would like to be seen.  White allows you to find a balance with a specific colour you love or to mix the therapeutic rainbow properties all in one outfit.  Keep an all-white outfit simple by adding a pop of colour in a scarf that way you can ensure your best “wow” shades reflect up onto your complexion and you get to shine brightly in white all season! 


Dressing happy Jules Standish is pictured here promoting her new book in an up-lifting and sociable shade of orange. A colourful Dose of Optimism launches in May this year and can be pre-ordered at all leading bookstores 

Successfully Stepping Out In Colour

Whichever colours you want to wear this season, remember to think about the overall impression you wish to create, try things on in good lighting and always ask yourself if the colours you're wearing enhance or suppress your natural personality and complexion. Colour can be a fantastic tool if worn right, and with so many brilliant shades and tones available this season, there’s something out there for absolutely everyone. Remember colour can be woven into an outfit in a variety of ways, and I would always advise shopping somewhere with expertly trained staff who will help you find the colours, styles and prints that are really going to flatter and make you look and feel incredible.


Jules new book “A Colourful Dose of Optimism – Prescribe your happy colours to feel good NOW” (O-Books) is available to pre-order from Amazon and all major book stores, publication date end of May. Jules puts forward simple, effective colourful solutions to everyday dressing dilemmas and presents ways to turn fearful, challenging situations into opportunities to feel happier and more confident for ultimate well-being in your wardrobe and your home.  

Ridley London's new collection of colourful statement dresses, skirts, tops and blazers for special occasions is available to purchase on-line and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting: 

Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097

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