Discussion in 'Gear Chat' started by Clare, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    That makes me think "West Ham".

    I was thinking about the idea that bright colours are associated with the tropics and somehow, as the latitude climbs, the colours deepen. I don't agree with it (even though I made reference to itself myself in an earlier post; sorry, it's a tempting one but I've reconsidered). It seems true now, especially in Europe, but it isn't always. Exhibit A: Arabic countries of the Gulf and North Africa, also Iran. Clothes mostly (at least traditionally) white and black, little ornamentation. Exhibit B: the Saami or Lapps of far northern frozen Lappland. Lots of bright red, green, blue and decoration.

    I suppose the theory behind the idea that people in the tropics wear bright colours and those further north are darker is that being surrounded by bright, colourful flowers, insects and birds, and with no non-blooming season for the flowers, encourages a colour-loving view. But equally it would make sense that being surrounded by featureless,* monotone white-grey landscapes and with long hours of darkness would encourage people to enliven their surroundings by adding colours. (And I'm sure people in Polar regions don't think of a landscape as being featureless because it's snow covered.) And the in-between latitudes also have plenty of floral colour, it's just seasonal rather than year-round.

    On Wednesday I was in Bath and had a few hours to kill so went to the Museum of Fashion (which was a bit disappointing). They trace a history of fashion from about 1600 onwards, and the use of colour does seem to change over that time. In part this is due to technology, such as aniline dyes, printed patterns, machine sewing. The earlier garments are decorated through detailed embroidery in various colours on a usually bright but plain, such as white, background. As time goes on the detailing gets less but colour is applied to whole fabrics. And then Victorians invented black. AIUI this was partly technology – true black dyes were difficult previously – and partly the influence of mourning rules popularized by Victoria herself, partly a sort of modesty (itself a sort of showing off as it was keeping up with styles) and partly just the tides of fashion.

    Tl;dr: Attitudes to and use of colour are culturally influenced but I don't think these are strictly linked to latitudes or sunlight.
    Clare likes this.
  2. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    Hunting is a real concern. I knew several people who’d had acquaintances/husbands/friends been shot by hunters in New Zealand. Safety colours are used by hunters more there now (usually hunters were shooting each other while wearing camp prints..) but I do find it odd how hard it is to get safety orangd colours in NZ outdoors shops for jackets etc.
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  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Latitude. I was in a craft market in Darwin (OZ) last June - I had a discussion with a woman who was selling bright coloured tie-dye clothing. I commented on not being able to sell bright tie dye in UK (- I made a load of t-shirts for one of the kids fundraising efforts) - she was adamant that she could only sell "bright stuff" in the Tropics. As soon as she crossed out of the tropics her sales plumeted, and she'd stopped trying. I'll take her word for it.

    Arabic countries traditionally made their clothing from their animals. The bedouin wear black, as are their tents - that is the colour of the wool available from their animals. Where cotton was available the clothing was white.

    In Sweden, Lapland and other northern countries the colour of traditional clothing is determined by wealth. White for shirts which are made of linen. If you are poor you cannot afford to dye your wool and therefore it is left white too. If you are able to afford it you may decorate it with coloured braid and if have more funds you can have coloured clothing eg. waistcoat, breehes, coat, skirt. Green and red are favoured colours, traditionally.
    I know all this as I used to do a lot of Scottish dancing and did cultural swops with quite a few Scandi. groups.

    Stable blue dyes before the industrial revolutions were very very expensive (still are to some extent).
    A good durable fade resistant black has always been a difficult colour to make, especially before modern times.

    Simple reasons.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  4. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I find that quite difficult to believe.

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  5. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    anyway, I ordered a hideous day-glo yellow roubaix jersey for cycling today. And an orange one in case I just can't stand it and have to send the lumino-yellow back. The people wearing that nasty yellow are just so very much more visible on the Holloway Road, it makes a massive difference. I used to cycle everywhere without a helmet and definitely without yellow, so either I'm more cautious or the roads feel more dangerous. Whether I will extend this experiment into the hills remains undecided.
  6. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    I do hope you mean this in a good way. Claret and blue with "Come on you irons!" emblazoned across the back is probably the only (hideous) Paramo I would accept to wear. ;)

    Pop into any Decathlon or Intersport in France and you will find a whole row of bright orange everythings in the hunting section.
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  7. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Popularized. And to some extent invented as previously a lasting black was more difficult to make.

    Hope you enjoy your hi-viz, fluorescent, day-glo, luminous, bright and garish, eye-searing, yellow jacket. (I avoided one of those and have an orange one, bright but not garish, not even day-glo but it does have reflectives. But most of my cycling is out in the lanes, where I reckon orange tends to show up at least as well as yellow against green and brown backgrounds; a bit different from the Holloway Road! Most importantly, it's absolutely 100% waterproof and I hope yours will be too.)
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  8. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Definitely in a good way! Not that much of a footy fan but retain a certain fondness (sometimes I think that should be "sympathy"o_O) for West Ham. I'm not a heavy metal fan either but I wonder if you've seen this?

    Sorry, I don't know how to reduce that massive image.
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  9. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I was very interested in pigments in a previous version of my current self and can’t believe that Rembrandt’s black was invented, or that Hans Holbein’s portrait of Cromwell was propagandist as to the blackness as well as to the politician. Turning to trusty Wikipedia it says that black was difficult to dye until the 14th century when they started to use gall nut to create a longer lasting deeper black which was worn by Princes and the wealthy. In the 19th century synthetic black dye was developed. But the gall nut black of the 14th century was dying the clothes of the rich. The painted representations probably used lamp black in the paint pigment and so can’t be a representation of what gall nut black really looked like, save that they can be assumed to be offering a representation of how black on the rich and famous looked and felt, which was pretty black.

    Sorry shewie. Off topic but curious about it.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  10. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker


    West Ham is all about sympathy and fondess. I think the last plastic fan quit in 1981. ;)
  11. Cranston

    Cranston Thru Hiker

    Down south the dark colours are for the oldies generally and the hipster crowd. Colour is another statement here in the south-tie dyed stuff is sometimes seen (occasionally, but seen as a bit bit daggy) here in summer as are bright colours. But Melbourne (on the bay) -across the bay from me is known as the 'black' city. People, like those in Darwin, that live on any coast here are far more likely to, and do wear colours.
    Most popular colour in Timor Leste I saw was dark brown.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  12. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Ultralighter

    Mammut, what have you done?!

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  13. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    The rich wearing black is spot on.
    When a garment started to age and to lose it's "blackness" it got sold/passed on to someone poorer - and on, and on, until the very poor wore tattered mucky indeterminate coloured items which were not depicted in paintings - who wanted to see pictures of them in their grim etc. ??
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
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  14. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    Thinking about latitude and the coastal effect: Darwin to Launceston or Alice Springs to Adelaide is still Australia, and in a larger sense it's all "the West". So within that one culture, I'd accept that we associate bright colours with tropical latitudes and with coasts, and note that both coasts and tropics are associated with holidays for most of us in "the West", so perhaps that's another factor. But what happens if we look at non-Western cultures that encompass a wide range of latitudes (and preferably also coastal and inland)? The only ones I can think of that qualify are China, which I know nothing about; and India, which definitely has different styles of clothes between north and south (such as salwar kameez in the north, sari in the south) but colour seems to be a factor from Sri Lanka up to Nepal. In any case, most men in India seem to wear Western dress nowadays (with the exception of film stars, off-duty cricketers, politicians and the very wealthy or extremely poor), with Indian clothes being mainly worn by women. So I'm not sure that proves anything... (Also, sorry if it seems I'm being argumentative. I'm not; or rather, I am... but not in order to prove anyone wrong, just arguing through ideas as they come into my head.)

    I'm just wondering if your luminous yellow jersey is all yellow or has contrasting panels? Yellow with contrasting black seems popular. Moreso, I'm wondering if you find those contrasting panels accentuate or tone down your dislike of the day-glo?
  15. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    Why not get a cheap hi-viz vest to wear over whatever you like to wear?
    I’ve got some if you’d like one.
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  16. Davy

    Davy Thru Hiker

    Bright colours all day long for cycling, bright and reflective sleeves help if your pack covers part of your back.

    I drive in London frequently as well as cycling and it amazes me how invisible some cyclists are, even with lights, in the general visual clutter that is illuminated shopfronts, tail lights and now Xmas decorations..

    Some of my kit doubles up so apologies if I visually pollute the drab crew's day in the hills.

    And I like colour, life is dull without it.
  17. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

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