Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brown and the Starbucks Effect

When it comes to fashion trends, I'm no Carrie Bradshaw - I'll take a pair of navy Crocs over some fancy Manolo Blahniks anyday.

But I've always been fascinated by color trends. I grew up in the age of avocado refrigerators, burnt orange AMC Gremlins, and brown everything else. Dateline 1970, land of the recession, home of the earthtones. Everything was inevitably some shade of brown.

So when I ponder the color brown, I instinctually think of moldy basements with dark fake wood paneling; maybe that's because my stepfather concocted a nasty, grasshopper-infested den using that reprehensible paneling in the house in which I grew up. Brown inevitably conjures up thoughts of UPS, dirt, and excrement, too (no offense, UPS).

Brown also brings to mind the old Baskin Robbins logo, back when having 31 different flavors was a big deal. (I worked at that ice cream parlor between high school and college. It was located just inside the Hecht's department store in Silver Spring, and I had to wear this god-awful pink and brown polyester uniform. I would come home every night with ice cream in my armpits - no lie. I've never looked at ice cream the way same since).

But apparently brown has been reborn. I came across an interesting article about jewelry design this morning which claims that brown diamonds set in pink gold is the latest thing. According to Pantone color guru Lee Eiseman, who spoke at a recent Las Vegas jewerly show, the latest trend features “delectable chocolate browns are accented by tempting pinks.” Eiseman says this trend will continue until at least summer 2009.

Eiseman claims the resurgence of brown is due to the “Starbucks’ Effect.” As the article states, "Before the coffee shop industry gained such prominence, people tended to react to the color brown in a negative sense, calling it earthy or dirty. Since coffee drinking has become such an integral part of everyday life, consumers now see brown hues in a much more positive light, regarding them as rich and robust. 'They have,' said Eiseman, 'a new respect for the color brown.'"

So I'm rethinking brown. This is probably a good thing, given that I have dark brown hair and eyes. I also look great in pink. Maybe the Starbucks Effect will improve the self-esteem of brunettes around the world. Works for me!

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