My husband came home last week, bearing new long-sleeved work shirts of a pale blue colour. Considering that he works in the environment of an oily truck workshop – admittedly in the Admin offices, I find it a strange choice of colour. The last ones they were given (it’s nice at least that they are provided free of charge), were a practical navy blue check, a nice ‘power’ colour to boot. What has occasioned this new change to a namby pamby, wishy-washy appearance? Surely just the need to keep someone employed, whose function is ‘change for the sake of change’. I can see this all-male environment having sheepish expressions on their faces, as they desperately try not to spill their lunch down their shirts or get pen marks on them before the day is half through. They are also quite thick (nice for Joburg but too much for Cape Town’s mild winter) and take longer to iron. And as for that annoying pleat down the back....! Probably someone has imparted some psychological claptrap about the need to have a ‘calming’ effect in the workplace – whether this is aimed at the customers or the staff is point to ponder.
The effect of colour generally though is well known. What impresses me the most is that fast food outlets have deliberately loud, clashing colours, which are designed initially to attract you in, and then to make you so uncomfortable that you leave in a hurry. That’s clever.