My Shopping Bag: Color Charms

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Color Chic
Cheerful is not something this New Yorker generally wants to convey while about town, but as spring debuts I invariably crave more colorful and cheery garments. Chocolate brown or navy blue instead of the perennial black isn't enough to satisfy: New color approaches are called for to lift the spirit and revive this spring's wardrobe. Fashionable folks at Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Ralph Lauren and others offer black and white looks as the height of spring trends. Further down on the fashion pyramid, strong solid colors give springtime pop to the somber and dusky uniform of urban gentry at affordable prices. Rather than '70s printed posies and '80s geometric glam, shirts, pants, ties and tops look millennial fresh with solid color pairings: Pink rocks with orange; purple partners with green; green sways with blue; and blue boogies with orange. Turquoise and beige, or gray and beige, are amusing combos and surprisingly easy to wear. Mixing seemingly discordant colors into the ubiquitous solid tees and bottoms give a radical and urbane feeling to satisfy local trendsetters and sophisticated shoppers. Watch the color play in the windows and catalogues of Banana Republic, The Gap and J. Crew. Even we residents of Gotham brighten up at springtime.

Color Play
Feeling blue? Try a rainbow remedy. For weeks before the spring sun shone, I've had a rainbow in my pocket. Road-testing a nifty gadget displayed at the recent Toy Fair helped make the transition from gray skies to sunnier skies more entertaining.

It's called a MiniLightWand, one in a series of Sauce color-changing products introduced by Color Kinetics. Patented commercial-quality technology generates a handheld stream of lights you can change or control in color or intensity. It's quite an upgrade from the handheld lights audiences wave at concerts and arenas. The mini-wand is battery-operated and, at four inches, is usable as a key chain. When pulling out my keys, a touch of the button causes my bag to glow as the penlike wand emerges. The LightWand is a larger, batonlike thing; but it's the LightWasher and LightSprite, which plug into a wall socket to cast lights of solid colors, that are surefire mood enhancers. These bright spectrums are scheduled to hit stores in summer 2001 and should retail for $20 and up. For more info see

Primal Potions
In ancient times, colors were studied for their curative properties. Healing effects were attributed to colors in the belief that they were able to restore balance, and color symbolism is found throughout the world, reflecting color's universal effect on the psyche and mood. For a basic color primer, remember the rainbow acronym ROYGBIV:

Red is power, energy and vitality. There's good reason why women in positions of authority choose this color to balance their feminine energy.

Orange is excitable, joyous and outgoing, and is connected with sexuality and physicality.

Yellow is independent, courageous, and ethereal. It's a color of mental stimulation.

Green is conscientious, contented and understanding. The color is associated with healing, balance and equilibrium.

Blue is relaxed, creative and balanced. It's regarded as the color of truth and harmony for its soothing and calming properties.

Indigo is a higher aspect of blue and its spiritual consciousness. Insight and intuition are qualities linked to this color.

Violet is integration, unity and individuality. It's used to initiate replenishing and rebuilding.

Two non-color colors, white and black, also have symbolic attributes: White is associated with purity and the relief of pain. Black is associated with a state of grace and peace.

Vibrant Notions
In this colorful world of goods and services we can use anything from a box of crayons, art supply prisms, or jewels with gems for rainbow therapy. Whether it's a spring garden, a new gadget, a bath of bubbles or a vivid gemstone accessory, make a statement with color.

Maybe blue-haired grandmas and striped punk rockers know something we don't! Even a temporary change of hair color is a mood lifter and image-maker. Trade believable color for a whimsical streak. Manic Panic Glitter Glam Sticks are handy ways to add flash. Pick a color at

Snap up anything from a color wheel to a box of crayons at your favorite art supply store or stationery store. Artsy web sites include, and

Gemstones are not just for birthdays. A charming green peridot or brilliant purple amethyst can be employed to lift your spirit. Diamonds, rubies and related gems speak a language all their own. Decode gemstone facts at JewelryCentral.comor

Step into a soothing bathtub of water tinted and scented with a selection from philosophy — "the rainbow connection bubble bath" set. For $45, seven 4-oz. highly pigmented baths of differing colors and aromas in the ROYGBIV tradition transport you with bubbles.

A mental and spiritual retreat can originate in a flower or herb garden. Enjoying rows of varied flowers is as easy as laying a rug! Among the blooming rugs: Snapdragons (item # E5383), Zinnias (item # E5434) or Floral Carpet (# B3240) at Harriet Carter — all priced under $10; or a Butterfly & Hummingbird Instant Rollout Flower Garden (item #M6802) for $19.79 at Grow herbs in your garden or window box with a Culinary Herb Garden (code #WBCHG, $29.95) from

Apply color to enhance and heighten your personality and complement your personal style.

Links: In the Bag
Banana Republic
Flowers Direct Delivery
Harriet Carter Phone: 1-800-377-7878 Phone: 1-800-284-3100
J Crew
Jewelry Central
Manic Panic
PEARL Online Fine Arts Store
philosophy: the new age of beauty Phone: 1-800-345-1515
Sam Flax