Superstition and The Color Green in Fashion

This article may contain affiliate links; if you click on a shopping link and make a purchase I may receive a commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Is the color green unlucky? Superstition and the color green in fashion

I love that green has become a popular color in fashion; for a long time, designers didn't use much green because of superstitions. Is the color green unlucky? I share why there is such superstition over the color green in fashion and would love your thoughts below in the comments!

Where Did the Superstition About the Color Green Come From?

There are a lot of theories as to why the color green is seen as unlucky and why there are so many superstitions about using the color green in fashion design.

Green Equals Poison: Scheele's Green

Some say the superstition came from Carl Scheele, a Swedish chemist who experimented with arsenic to create a shade of green (known as Scheele's Green) for wallpaper and fabric.  While the chemist knew arsenic was toxic, he figured it was harmless when used for something that wasn't to be ingested.  However, when the fabric got damp, it would give off a poisonous gas that caused many to become ill and some to die.

When Napoleon died, many thought it was from poisoning, though it was confirmed to be cancer instead.  However, in 1960, scientists analyzed a lock of Napoleon's hair and found traces of arsenic.  Traces of arsenic were also found in his wife Joesphine's hair, as well as the hair of their son Napoleon II. Two decades later, scientists analyized a piece of green wallpaper from the Bonaparte home, and guess what they found?  Yep, arsenic; his wallpaper was Scheele's Green!

Molière Died While Wearing Green

Others connect the superstition around the color green to the French actor and playwright Molière who died on stage wearing a green costume while performing for King Louis the 14th.  Green is also seen as an unlucky color with circus performers, some believe green costumes may cause an accident or death.

Gaston Chevrolet Died Driving a Green Car

There have even been superstitions with the color green in relation to auto racing.  In 1920, Gaston Chevrolet, the brother of the co-founder of Chevrolet Motors, was driving a green racing car when he died in an accident. Green remained an unpopular car color until brand sponsorships took over and cars wore the colors of the companies. When cars sponsored by Mountain Dew and Skoal, two companies with green as their colors, won races in the 1980s, it reduced the superstition. 

Cultural Superstitions Regarding the Color Green

Some believe that wearing green to a funeral will mean that person will soon have to wear black to a funeral of a loved one.  In China there's a superstition that when a man wears a green hat his wife is cheating on him.  There is an old English rhyme that states, “Married in green, ashamed to be seen.”

collage of celebrities on the red carpet and on the street wearing bright green fashion
celebrities wearing the color green in the 2010s: Emma Roberts, Serena Williams, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Kate Middleton, Julianne Moore, Mindy Kaling, Mila Kunis, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren, Beyonce, Lupita Nyongo

My Thoughts on Wearing Green

I don't believe any of these superstitions and wear green quite often. I have a green blazer, a green cupro shirtdress, and a green velvet pantsuit. It is one of my favorite colors to wear and when it comes in fashion I stock up!  It has been a popular color, especially emerald green, in the past few years.

Pantone Brings Green Back to Fashion

In 2013, Pantone decided Emerald to be the Color of the Year. This introduced many shades of green to runways and red carpets. Katy Perry, Solange Knowles, and Florence Welch rocked shades of green at the 2013 GRAMMYs, Sienna Miller wore a green Burberry gown to the 2013 British Fashion Awards, and Sofia Vergara wore a green gown by Herve L. Leroux to the 2013 CFDA Fashion Awards.

The following year, green was on the runways of designers like Gucci and Calvin Klein in olive, leaf, and celadon shades. Green came back to automobiles; Fiat and even Chevrolet incorporated shades of green into their model options.

“Bottega Green” Brings Green Mainstream

Designers like Gucci and Bottega continue to use bright green colors in their collections, season after season. In fact, “Bottega Green” was launched in 2020. A bright bottle green now iconic to the label, this color has trickled down to mall and High Street retailers and continues to be popular season after season.

a collage of 12 celebrities from 2021-2023 wearing bright green gowns on the red carpet
Celebrities wearing green on the red carpet in the 2020s: Jessica Chastain, Sigourney Weaver, Amanda Seyfried, Tamron Hall, Danielle Deadwyler, Julia Garner, Yara Shahidi, Maria Menounos, Paloma Garcia, Diane Warren, Lea Michelle, Michelle Yeoh

Green is Popular Again… Is it Unlucky?

While green may have been considered a superstitious color in the past, it looks as though many do not believe it, and green has become a popular color again in fashion, automobiles, and our world. What do you think? Do you believe in the superstition that green is an unlucky color?

This post was initially published in 2013 when Pantone decided Emerald was Color of the Year, updated in 2014 with some new information I received about green being seen as an unlucky color, and then updated again in 2024 with the latest fashion trends incorporating the color green.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

Did you like what you just read?

Consider tapping here to buy me a coffee in thanks. The best gift you can give a content creator is the gift of sharing. Consider sharing this article on Facebook or Pinterest. Thank you so much for your support!

Similar Posts


  1. What a fun post, and what lovely dresses!

    In addition to the association of green with fairies, there’s a super creepy medieval story, one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (The Friar’s Tale), featuring a corrupt church official who makes friends with a suave fiend in a dapper green jacket. The church official tries to extort a poor widow for cash — and the devil ends up seizing him and dragging him off to hell.

    There’s another medieval story, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” about a knight dressed in vivid green, who shows up at King Arthur’s court and challenges the entire court to exchange blows with him. Oh, and: his horse and skin are bright green, too. When decapitated, the Green Knight just grabs his head, issues directions for a rematch, and rides out of the hall. (He is a trickster rather than an outright evil figure, more like the fairies than like a fiend — but our protagonist within the poem is terrified till the last moment that the Green Knight is a demon.)

  2. Bad luck to wear green?! No way! My mom had light green eyes and wore lots of green. My blue green eyes are going greener as I age so I wear greens too! And still I wear blues as well.
    Green is not bad luck if you look good or better in green
    Thanks for this post though.

  3. I wear the color green a lot and for some reason my things always go missing and I’ve gotten lost in the woods on a blue full moon night
    I think I’m annoying them but I believe the led me out the woods that night.

  4. My Mom said green at weddings would attract fairies who would think you were one of theirs and kidnap them. This is especially true for the bridesmaids.

  5. Green has been the subject of superstitious taboo for hundreds of years due to its association with fairies (not the tinkerbell sort) in Anglo and Celtic myth. The idea was that wearing it attracted the negative attention of the Fae, who saw as their prerogative.

  6. Great dresses, I want them all! I love bright green. I do have a green dress, but I’m currently a bit podgier than usual and it’s very clingy so it’s not in the rotation…

  7. Green is my favorite color and I wear it a lot. I didn’t know about these superstitions, but I have noticed how much attention gets. If you wear two blue pieces in an outfit, people say, “nice outfit”. If you wear two green pieces, or even one spectacular one, you will be asked about the possibility of your Irish heritage or the proximity of St. Patrick’s Day. I still wear emerald or hunter green any chance I get.

  8. Green is the fairies’ color. Women who wear green on their wedding days are courting bad luck or the evil eye or will have to hand over their first born or whatever fairies do to people who annoy them.

    1. Sarah,

      I am Irish-American. Do I get an exemption? Or would they punish me even harder because I should have known better?


  9. Green has always been my favorite color. I remember saying so before I was in kindergarten. Yet I didn’t know about all the superstitions surrounding it. Thanks for the fascinating history lesson. Coincidentally, the greens look better on me than other colors too.

    What a collection of beautiful dresses! I like all of them. *Must lock up the credit card now.*


    PS I have always found green eyes extraordinary. My “alter ego” fantasy character has green eyes, ivory skin, and long, thick, wavy red hair. I also think black, black hair, fair skin, and green eyes is striking. Then there are the ladies with darker skin and green eyes – think Tyra Banks. Devastatingly gorgeous!

  10. I love all the greens. Olive and avocado (salad, anyone?) are my favorite shades. I post about it tonight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *