A color that hasn't been popular since Ronald Reagan was president is expected to command attention this year.
Emerald got the green light as Pantone Color Institute's color of the year, and while it's competing with several shades of green for favor, especially this spring, much thought and research went into the selection.
Emerald starting getting attention in early 2011 when actresses Mila Kunis, Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta Jones wore rich green gowns to the Golden Globes.
Emerald the gemstone continued to gain interest in the jewelry industry, and high-end designers sent the color down the runway last September during the spring 2013 shows.
Now retailers and brands are playing up the color on bedding, cookware, furniture and decor, as well as in clothing, accessories and beauty products. Last fall, General Motors unveiled a Chevrolet convertible concept car in a color it calls unripened green.
Shades of meaning
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute, said she saw evidence of a revival of the gem-hued color as she traveled the world. All the pieces for a new “it” color seemed to be coming together.
“For us, we always look at the history of color,” she said.
When a color has been absent for a long time, it returns looking new, fresh and different, she said. Yellow greens have held court for years and are still popular, but the nature of fashion is to regularly show the consumer something new.
Green has been celebrated as a social cause, and that's even more reason to bring another green back into prominence, she said.
“For that reason, we thought the timing was perfect,” she said of naming emerald the color for 2013.
Emerald fits from a psychological standpoint, too. It is said to enhance a sense of well-being and promote balance and harmony. It's also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity.
Making it work
But it can be difficult at times to distinguish emerald from other lush greens with blue undertones. Because emerald is a stone and a stone is faceted, it isn't always one definitive color, Eiseman said. It's a variety of shades.
That's what shoppers may discover when they go in search of emerald-hued clothing, accessories, eye shadow and nail polish.
What they'll also find is that the color is flattering to all skin tones and eye colors, and is striking on a dress, a set of bangles or the eyes.
Alex Mendez-Kelley, owner of The MakeUp Bar, said she likes green eye shadow, but she cautions moderation and choosing a complementary shade.
“You don't want to get a green that is too yellow and makes you look under the weather. Plenty of that going as it is, but a deep emerald eye shadow is sultry and elegant,” she said.
Not ready to embrace emerald wholeheartedly? Try a pop of eyeliner.
“Green looks great with taupes and bronzes as well as charcoals. I'm glad to see such a salt-of-the-earth color be our color this year. We are naturally drawn to it because it feels comfy. Who couldn't use a little comfort?”