Thursday, March 28, 2013

ROY G BIVin' Livin'

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  I'm not too sure if I am because six years ago I didn't know what ROY G BIV was until a co-worker explained it as an acronym for the colors that make up the  rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. It sounded simple enough, but what about the other colors?  Pink is light red, peach is light orange, teal comes before blue,  black goes after violet, and grey is light black.  Why is this important at work?  Strangely, clothes wish to be smarter than 5th graders, so they take ROY G BIV seriously and  arrange themselves scientifically. Similar to a classroom, they are happiest displayed orderly at their wooden tables or lined up against the wall.  Everything was simple enough until PRINTS!

 Variety is not only the spice of life in the 5th grade classroom but in the apparel department as well.  Sure, a store full of solid shirts might be boring but much easier for us to arrange.  Prints must be the teacher's pets because they don't have to follow ROY as strictly as the solids.   A pink, green, yellow and blue multicolored shirt can sit wherever he chooses as long as he doesn't sit next to another print. Apparently, they have an important color story to tell, and a print sitting next to a print is a visual interruption.  Customers won't buy them if we don't let them tell this fascinating color story, and if they are not purchased, they will feel devalued and remembered forever as RTV's (a blog on Return to Vendor in a few weeks).   And if the pampered print shirts aren't annoying enough, G BIV considers himself to be cool and doesn't want to hang out with warm ROY.

If apparel can tell a color story, so can we.  Most of us know the little black dress denotes sophistication, elegance, and style, and the white dress might indicate purity or simplicity.  Why should the apparel have all the fun? We can do a little ROY G BIVin' livin' of our own to make work more interesting.

Symbolizing excitement, energy, and speed, a red sweater might be a wise choice when we drag in on Monday or during inventory.  It also symbolizes aggression; in fact, some car insurance companies charge more for red cars.   Food for thought:  Should we switch to pink (caring) and beige (pleasantness) decor in December?   That would be an interesting experiment.

Orange demands attention  and symbolizes enthusiasm.  When Clinique promotes their fragrance, Happy, we enthusiastically participate by sporting our different shades of orange.  If we forget or don't have anything orange in our closet, the Clinique ladies happily offer  an orange necklace or scarf  that demands the customer's attention. 

Yellow, which happens to be my favorite color, symbolizes imagination, summertime, and hope.  Maybe this is why we stare out the glass door when the sun is shining brightly, imagining a summer vacation and hoping we submitted our request on time.   It also symbolizes friendship, so we probably shouldn't send a "wish u were here" text to co-workers while brushing the sand off of our yellow beach towel.

We describe ourselves as green when we're new and fumble through our first ad set, but it is also a lucky color.  Here's a good idea -  wear green for an extra dose of luck on a slow, rainy, no coupon Wednesday.   A bad idea? Ask the lady buying a green tie "Is this for your jealous boyfriend?"

Blue has been known to have a calming effect and lower blood pressure.  Note to corporate: install blue carpet in every fitting room. This might prevent call outs on Memorial  Day weekend for associates scheduled in the swimwear department.  Our store gave us new blue 125th anniversary shirts.  Perhaps this will give us a sense of loyalty to actually return for more bikini bottom pick up.

Purple, or violet, is a popular color for the Easter season because it symbolizes royalty, but some actually believe it relieves migraines.  If this is true, another note to corporate: paint the shoe department purple during the Easter season.  Purple is also a "mysterious" color.  Wow, what if the fresh coat of paint brought back all of the missing "other" shoes?

Easter, there isn't a better season to talk about a color story.  Retail stores want their products to be as appealing as a basket of dyed eggs.    The Greek word baptizo was often used to describe the procedure in which a piece of cloth was dipped into dye,  resulting in an entirely new color.  I've never dyed cloth but have baptized many Easter eggs with my kids.   We never ROY G BIVed them, but I do believe the eggs that always looked the best were purple or green.  Green is not only luck, inexperience, and envy but also renewal.  Purple is not only royalty and mysterious but also transformation.  After this extra long winter, we have a chance to renew and transform our livin' with strength ,balance, joy, generosity, truth, sincerity, and wisdom.

Happy Easter!   




  1. Katy, wonderful post and I love the sweet pics of your kids! I will certainly think twice about how clothes are arranged by color when I'm shopping. I know certain days clothes really pick me up and days other days I NEED comfort clothes. This has really made me think! Great job!

    1. I need comfort clothes quite often. I love spring colors, and the customers are so excited when they see the yellows and oranges and bright greens. Thanks so much.