Much is beige. The buildings on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, dried-up fields and nicotine-stained curtains. The windows of shops have recently been full of beige, the suit of US President Joe Biden, the new Billie Eilish album and the apartment of the entrepreneur dariadaria, as her social media profiles reveal. A quick look at color theory shows: beige means calming, relaxation, balance and comfort – or as some would say: boredom.
A lockdown-plagued society may come up with a question: is beige the color of the pandemic? In any case, that of calm and balance, one believes in color psychology. But beige is not always beige. By definition, the color comprises a sequence of indefinite warm and whitish brown tones. There are also green beige, brown beige, gray beige and pearl beige.
By the way, fashion magazines advise combining beige with other colors so that it doesn’t get quite so bland. Either tone-on-tone combinations, for example with brown, white, light and medium gray or also with apricot, light blue and lilac. According to the fashion magazine “Harper’s Bazaar”, another way to avoid the dreariness in a fashionable way and still not have to do without the alleged trend color for 2021 is the mix of materials: for example beige-colored suede with silk.
Myth: light isn’t always better in summer
Incidentally, a myth is that in summer it is better to wear light-colored clothes than dark ones to protect yourself from the heat. According to new findings, dark clothing protects our skin better against sunburn: although dark color absorbs the radiation, it reflects the infrared component and thus protects the body.
Light-colored fabrics, on the other hand, reflect the body’s warmth inwards, which additionally heats the body. They also let the heat through the clothes more easily and our body warms up even faster. According to experts, however, it is much more important than the color to pay particular attention to airy clothing in summer.
Color of climate protection?
Officially also known as natural color, beige symbolizes exactly that: nature and the bond with it. It is no secret that environmental and climate activism is not only essential to pressure politicians to curb global warming, but is also very much in vogue. Climate protection activists like Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer clearly show this. They are idea generators, idols and trendsetters. It is no coincidence that Thunberg was last photographed by “Vogue” – in beige.
The 18-year-old pointed out problems associated with fast fashion on Instagram. “The fashion industry is a major contributor to the climate and environmental crisis, not to mention its impact on the myriad workers and communities that are being exploited around the world to allow some to enjoy fast fashion that many treat as disposable,” said Thunberg.
The greenwashing trap
Some in the industry tried to create costly campaigns to give the impression of being sustainable, climate-neutral and fair, wrote the 18-year-old. However, it is almost always pure greenwashing – measures with which companies want to give themselves a green image without actually doing anything for the climate and the environment. The clothes she wears on the “Vogue” pictures are made from sustainable, recycled material, said Thunberg.
Not only smaller sustainable labels, but also mass fashion lines play with natural colors – and thus suggest a “green” impression. Dyeing textiles black requires significantly more water and harmful chemicals than lighter shades. However, not every light-colored piece of clothing is sustainable, because fabrics are also bleached the other way round. Bleaching with chlorine is particularly problematic for the environment. It is therefore advisable to take a closer look at the sustainability seal of approval – even with light-colored clothing.
Beige is practical
Particularly when it comes to furnishing a home, a green splash of color often joins the beige uniform mixture, for example in the form of potted plants. It looks harmonious, cozy, and you bring a piece of nature into your home. However, beige in the decor is far from new.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Bahama beige bathroom furniture and toilets were particularly in vogue. The color found its way into the home at a time when it was becoming more and more important that a household is above all practical. While women were no longer exclusively housewives, but also did wage work, it was useful not to see the dirt in beige bathrooms. After all, the women were not spared from being housewives despite wage work.
Beige furnishings, which unfortunately have to be denied any happiness despite their comeback, still scores points in children’s rooms. Long gone are the days of pink and blue. Beige always works, beige is gender-neutral. Many parents are enthusiastic about this on Instagram, while others regret the lack of color as too much of a good thing – beige rainbows, for example, are a particularly questionable trend. Because what is not beige is often made beige, at least on Instagram. After all, what are filters for?