There’s been a lot of controversy and discussion about the ensemble First Lady Michelle Obama wore to the Inaugural Balls. Some say it’s yellow, some say gold, while othrs call it lemon grass. It looked like a warm yellow with subtle warm green undertones to me . Experts noted that the fabric’s shimmery surface made it appear to change color. Even Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, would not commit herself to classify the color with a name. She noted the coat had “somewhat of a shimmery surface, which can pick up the light and throw the camera off.”
Most of the so-called color experts missed the whole point. Was the color warm or cool? Was it a pastel or a primary-type color? Was it muted or clear? These are the questions that should be asked when it comes to choosing colors for people, if looking better is the ultimate goal. Because she nearly blended into her garments, this coat-suit wore Mrs. Obama instead of her wearing it. Thus, the impact she generated was decreased.
Michelle Obama has cool skin, so the warm yellow-green fabric wasn’t as flattering to her as other shades of yellow. For example, a clear bright yellow that is one step down from the color wheel Yellow in terms or intensity and warmth. Her suit was also a pastel, and she looks better in clear, saturated, primary-type colors such as royal blue, emerald green, purple, violet, fuchsia and magenta, to name a few.
Women are “instinctively” drawn to pastels, even though they do not necessarily make us look better. Nor do they increase our presence. The darker the color, the higher the authority, so pastels convey low authority. There is a time and a place for pastels, but I think that it’s not Inauguration Day. Pastels are great for meeting your future in-laws. I would suggest wearing a pastel suit to traffic court when you get caught for speeding. You will look much more innocent than in a “power” color. It worked for me!