Dress And Complexion

160. The nerves of the eye, exhilarated by any pronounced color, unconsciously observe the complement of that color when turned from it. The eye accustomed to the red of a woman’s dress, unconsciously sees a greenish cast in the face that is naturally pale, and in the same way the pallor of a woman’s face takes on a tint of red as the complement or contrast of a green dress. As one’s appetite for the thing that is sweet becomes exhausted by a superabundance of sweets,

o the eye resting upon a mass of red in the dress of a woman fails to appreciate the red tint in the face, and the face thus juxtaposed becomes pallid. A red-faced woman often wears brighter red in dress, so that her face may appear less red. The blue dress gives yellow to the face; the yellow dress gives blue; these results are altered materially by the intervention of white between the face and the dress. White intensifies color. If there is a tinge of pink in the face white brings it out. If there is sallowness in the face white accentuates it. It is for this reason that many women wear yellow instead of white at the neck, so that the yellow of the face becomes less conspicuous by contrast.

161. It is dangerous, however, in matters of dress to strictly apply this rule, because color has a temperamental influence apart from the purely visual. Some women are positively depressed by certain colors; such colors are to be avoided, no matter what the deductions of theory.

162. The black dress will make a woman look pale, for the reason that the black absorbs whatever color there may be in her face. A dark color has also absorbent characteristics. The lighter the color, the less absorbent. Hence light greens are preferable to bring out the color in the face than dark greens, assuming that we are to consider only this point, which is all that is necessary to consider in house decoration. Therefore light greens as a background to theater boxes or as a wall background are always desirable.


image Lighting by wires.