Superstition and The Color Green in Fashion

is the color green unlucky green superstition

I love that green has become a popular color in fashion; for a long time, designers didn't use much green because of superstitions regarding it.  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 die.

When Napoleon died, many thought it was from poisoning, though it was confirmed to instead be cancer.  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!

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.

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. 

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.”

celebrities wearing green

celebrities wearing the color green: Emma Roberts, Serena Williams, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Kate Middleton, Julianne Moore, Mindy Kaling, Mila Kunis, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren, Beyonce, Lupita Nyongo

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. In 2013, Pantone decided Emerald to be the Color of the Year.  Many high-end fashion designers such as Marni and Valentino featured Kelly green on the runway in the 2010's. Green has been a prevalent color in many of Gucci's collections this past decade.  While green may have been a superstitious color, it looks as though many do not believe it and green has become a popular color again in fashion, automobiles, and our world.

Follow:

10 Comments

  1. Nicola
    April 3, 2020 / 6:29 pm

    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.

  2. CT 2
    July 22, 2016 / 11:03 pm

    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.

  3. July 12, 2014 / 12:02 pm

    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…

  4. Margot907
    July 10, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    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.

  5. Judy Unnone
    July 10, 2014 / 4:42 pm

    Love green!!!! It feels festive ya know!!! 🙂

  6. Sarah
    July 10, 2014 / 3:29 pm

    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.

    • crtfly
      July 10, 2014 / 4:39 pm

      Sarah,

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

      Chris

  7. crtfly
    July 10, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    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.*

    Chris

    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!

  8. Ginger
    July 10, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    I love the first dress from Mod Cloth.

  9. Patti_NotDeadYetStyle
    July 10, 2014 / 11:09 am

    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 *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital