Is Red a Color of Vanity?

Updated: Mar 19, 2018

Every week, I will write an article discussing something in fashion whether it be psychological, political, or just pure curiosity. I started blogging about this in college and I still feel like continuing to be a fashion investigator and keep my writing skill set up to par. The fun difference is that there is no word minimum. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts. I will put all the posts under the Fashion Discussion category.

This first post is about the color red which I have been wearing a lot lately. My questioning began after watching a show about the Amish... I am obsessed with learning about "cults" right now. One of the rules that was brought up was that the Amish are not allowed to wear red at all because it is a color that is considered vanity.

Here's a fun fact. According to a study by Avon, 54% of women are afraid to wear red lipstick. Are you scared of red lipstick? I have to admit I am a little bit. I only feel like I can wear it on special occasions but often contemplate why a color has that much power; the power to tell us when we can wear it, the power to limit its use, and the power to even scare a lot of people into wearing it at all. On the other hand, wearing it "may be one of the most powerful symbols of female beauty and sexuality in the Western world".

Is it a result of thousands of years of history? In ancient Greece, only prostitutes could wear this lipstick color out in public. The Medieval period creates social divide based on this color alone; higher class women wore bright pink, while lower class women wore red. From then on up until the 1900s when cosmetics were considered socially acceptable, lipstick was often banned or even considered witchcraft that tricked men into being seduced by women. Yes, lipstick must be magic! And men have no control...

Red lipstick has waaay more history than I ever expected. Is it already built into a women's DNA that due to thousands of years of persecution for wearing this color that has caused women to subconsciously avoid it? It is definitely a bold color that many shy away from and honestly, I have shied away from it for several years. Not on purpose, but mostly because my wardrobe color palette only includes: maroon, white, grey, black, and denim blue. And yes I arrange my closet by color and typology. Red lipstick to me denotes a really special event, which I can only blame on the celebrity use and glamorization of the color in the early 1900s. Well, I can't really blame the 1950s, but is it subconscious? I love the color and encourage all women to try it out once in a while at least. You'll feel powerful. You'll feel beautiful. And if anything, let me convince you that you'll be defying the patriarchy according to history.


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