Clothing Colour Preferances

This story involves Richard. He tells many stories about colour and clothes, related to himself and near relatives. His grandmother did not appreciate anyone wearing green. Her reason was simple, understandable and emotional. All of her bridesmaids wore green at her wedding, and all died within a year of it. They were all victims of tuberculosis, as was Richard’s aunt, who died in childhood. His grandmother, Jane, escaped the north of England and moved to Canada in 1911, because of this disease. His grandfather had arrived a year earlier. Richard’s mother, Janet, was born in Canada in 1916.

Janet enforced Jane’s unwritten rule. Green was not worn. Richard can’t remember anyone in his family wearing green much before his grandmother’s death in 1972. The one exception was that Richard had acquired a green sweater, knit by his first flame, Joy, in 1966.

In addition, Richard remembers that he was prohibited from wearing black. Black would have been acceptable at funerals, but as a child he was not allowed to attend funerals. All of his shoes were brown, yet his dress trousers were grey. They did not seem to match, but no one else seemed to notice. This mismatch has bothered him for sixty-five years. There was also an over-abundance of powder blue in his childhood wardrobe: mostly shirts, but also sweaters and socks, and one pair of Hush Puppy shoes. He felt strangely content wearing blue shoes. He regarded their purchase as a measured act of rebellion, one that unified a wardrobe consisting of blue and grey. When he outgrew his original Hush Puppies, he was irritated that he could no longer buy blue shoes.

As he grew older, beige and brown were added to his wardrobe. With these he felt that his brown shoes were no longer so out of place.

After he completed secondary school, one of his first acts of clothing defiance was to buy a black outfit: shirt, jeans, socks and shoes. He thinks the under garments were still white. Unfortunately, the quality of these black clothes was not especially good. The shoes soon wore out, and white started to show through the jeans. This taught him that jeans were not the ideal material to project a colour preference. His next clothing adventure was to purchase what he referred to as a jazz shirt. It was black, probably synthetic, but with colourful, large geometrical patterns.

At his wedding to Trixi, he wore a light blue suit, her favourite colour. She wore an off-white gown, with purple trim, suitable for a person entering a second marriage. Afterwards, he acquired an increasing number of clothes, that Trixi made for him. In particular, he remembers the khaki leisure suits that she sewed for their adventure to Europe. Later, she helped him dye white jeans to transform them into pastel coloured jeans: mainly green, blue and yellow. Gradually, the variety and intensity of colours has increased. Through the years, Trixi has knit him innumerable sweaters, socks, tuques and other garments.

Richard’s favourite suit was tailored by Kevin & Howlin, Dublin. It was made almost thirty years ago of Donegal tweed, green with distinctive lines of red. Today, it is not worn often, so it should last another thirty years!

Richard became a late convert to a range of reddish colours, in clothing. If asked for a rational explanation, he would probably resort to mentioning something about crimson representing tests and sacrifice. He would also suggest that red is the colour of blood, a product necessary for animal life.

In his early seventies, Richard discovered All Birds, shoes that were available in a wide variety of colours. This was through the help of his daughter, Sharon, who had suggested this brand, and a few other colourful brands. He bought pink All Birds, but referred to them as salmon coloured to carnivores, or peach to vegetarians/ vegans, to make the colour more socially acceptable. He is awaiting another pair to arrive, in a deeper red.

As he aged, Richard also extended his colour preference more towards purple. He thinks of the purple trim on his bride’s wedding gown, and suspects that this too has had an influence on colour choice. Now, his favourite reds include: carmine, a saturated red, with wavelengths longer than 600 nm, close to the extreme spectral red; crimson, another deep red colour that combines some blue/ violet, so that it approaches purple; madder, named for a dye produced from plants of the genus Rubia; He would not object to any one referring to some of these colours as maroon, but tries to avoid its French chestnut origins, that emphasize the muddiness of brown.

Richard takes an interest in sports. Yet, he is not interested in playing any games, or even in being a spectator. Rather, he is interested in the symbolism, used by teams: names, logos, flags, uniforms, souvenirs and effects. In terms of soccer/ football, Richard was an enthusiastic supporter of Canada’s women’s soccer team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021. Canada’s final game was held just hours before this post was published. In a conversation with his nephew, Brian, Richard commented on the deep red, with white, uniform of the Canadian team, that personify his current personal taste in clothing. He told Brian, “I never watch sports, because I get too emotional when the wrong team scores.” Brian replied, “I understand. It’s stressful. It’s more enjoyable sometimes when you don’t care as much.” After the game ended, giving Canada a gold medal, Brian commented, “This is one of the most entertaining/stressful games I’ve ever seen. Stephanie Labbé is a certified legend.”

Reflecting on football/ soccer in Cascadia, Richard is uncertain if he could ever be a Vancouver Southsider, a supporter of the Whitecaps, who are encouraged to wear white and/or a darkish blue to differentiate them from Seattle Sounders FC Alliance supporters, who could be encouraging people to wear lighter blues and/or lighter greens. The distinction between light and dark is important because arch rival, Portland Timbers Army use a darker green, with yellow as a contrasting colour. Rose City Riveters, and other supporters of the Portland Thorns, women’s soccer team, may want to wear red. Richard, in fact, is such a supporter. He chose the Thorns as his team based on his colour preferences. , rather than starting with a team, and then wearing their colours.

Today, Richard wears a variety of colours, including blue and even beige, but seldom grey. Yet, every time he puts on something green, he thinks of his grandmother, her loss and the ravaging of tuberculosis. He is very happy that the world has vaccines to prevent disease. With good friends who have suffered their entire lives from the effects of polio, Richard is a pro-vaxer, seeing vaccinations as a cheap and effective means of preventing misery in the world, especially now in these Covid-19 times. He is impressed at the speed with which vaccines have been developed to reduce deaths during the current pandemic.

Colour in Context

Does biology have much to say about colour preferences? While there are two genders that often show some distinctive/ differentiated colour preferences, this may be attributed more to socialization than to biology. At a more general level, people who wear a particular colour influence other people. If one identifies in some physical way (age, gender, eye/ skin/ hair colour, body size) with someone else, and that person wears particular colours, these will in some limited way become acceptable. If one differentiates oneself from that person, these colours will in some limited way become less acceptable. Fertility may play a role in encouraging some people to select colours that signal this, or give them higher visibility, although not necessarily in the form of high-vis vests.

There are also temporal issues. People are impacted by seasons and the time of day. Sometimes, even the day of the week may influence colour choice. These may be related to thermal considerations. It may be prudent to wear black, and darker colours, in a cold, snowy landscape, or white, and lighter colours, during periods of extreme heat.

Social markers are commonly used to identify a person as belonging to a particular group, for lack of a better word. Social class, education, occupation, sports and cultural interests and dozens of other affiliations may influence colour choices at particular times. Thus, the high-vis vest, previously mentioned, may be important in an occupational context. Pink is often cited as an inappropriate colour in a business context. Janet, Richard’s mother, had bought him a blue school sweater with white stripes, possibly because she liked that colour combination the best. What she seemed to have missed was that the school Richard attended had black and orange as its school colours.

In 2018, Quartz had an article about black as a fashion’s favourite shade. This title is both technically and politically correct, in that black is not a colour, but its absence. However, black has been a significant factor in the design and production of clothes.

Closing Comments on Colour and Clothing

If this weblog post has any purpose, it is to encourage people to wear colours that make them happy!

One example of a colour Richard appreciates could be described technically in any of three ways, as Hex: #7A0019; as RGB: (122,0,25); or as CMYK:(0,27,76,0). A colour picker is a tool that could help people visualize colours. On the same site, other tools are shown on the left. Color RBG, for example, allows one to input RGB colour codes, and see the result. It should be pointed out that buying fabric by colour code is a risk sport.

NRK = The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, featured a story about Hanna Breivik, from Steinkjer. Now, in 2021, she is 28, but has had serious problems with glaucoma since her birth. In addition, she has synesthesia. For most of her life she tried to remain invisible by wearing grey clothing. About five years ago, she went in a totally opposite and more colourful direction. She is now referred to as the rainbow woman.

There are a lot of questions that can be asked, regarding clothing colour and age. Do colour preferences shift/ transition with age? If they do, Why? If it is associated with other tastes and preferences, Why do tastes change? That, in turn begs the question, Why do colour tastes/ preferences emerge in the first place? How much does an individual’s childhood, culture and the imposition of arbitrary rules have to do with it? Do identical twins raised in divergent environments, develop the same colour preferences? What about non-identical twins of the same or different genders?

Note: all names in this weblog post have been changed to protect privacy.


The new Nuno R1 autonomous delivery vehicle has arrived, and if all goes well, it will soon be making grocery deliveries from Kroger to a house near you. Not near me, unfortunately, as the distance to my closest Kroger store is measured in thousands of kilometers.

Nuro R1 Autonomous Delivery Vehicle (Photo: Nuro, 2018)

While the Nuro may have OK styling, its design is not great. Take the hinged (gull-wing?) door openings. They are much wider and thus heavier than necessary to provide full access to the storage areas. There is no reason for these doors to open as widely as the do. The vehicle rakes, unnecessarily, front and back. Why isn’t this area being used to house navigational equipment, instead of the centre of the vehicle, which could be designed to include more storage space?

In contrast, here is my own attempt at a delivery vehicle design that does address some of these issues, although the purpose of this vehicle is transport of building materials, rather than groceries. Even the colour is an improvement on dull beige-brown.

Autonomous delivery vehicle for construction materials, with vehicular control mechanisms at body ends. Battery pack is located under floor.

There are too many stylists at work, masquerading as designers. In the 1950s,  stylists knew they were stylists.

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Club Hardtop at weekly Garden Grove, California car show 2004-05-14. (Photo: Morven CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Nineteen Fifty Seven represented a high point for American car styling, but not for car design. This is seen particularly in low-end brands, such as Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth. In contrast,  facelifted 1958 models are regarded with less esteem, although not quite as low as the 1959 models.

The 1957 Fords were all about styling, one that dramatically changed passenger car appearance the most since 1949. There were 20 different models, on two separate wheelbases. Body styles included two- and four-door sedans, hardtops, wagons, a convertible, a retractable hardtop and a sedan/pickup. These were all available in more colors and two-tone combinations than ever before. There were six engine options, five of them V-8s.

The challenge with making so many different products is that there is no place for design. I will not be buying a 1957 Ford, or any other heritage car. They are just too impractical – too low, too long, too extreme in styling language.

There is a similar situation in the world of fashion. Fortunately, in my world many of my outer clothes, especially shirts and socks, are bespoke. Material is selected specifically for each garment, sleeve length is cut perfectly, each shirt has two pockets, buttons are placed where I want them. Not every man, has a wife who has such abilities and interests. Without being too disparaging, I would say that I have one shirt design, that is then styled to meet specific requirements in each garment.

There may be a few more variations on designs for chinos and jeans, but most of these differ only in terms of their styling. I have learned to live with a particular off the rack style of chinos. They come in more or less standard design, with components that can be traced back to the 19th century. The original watch pocket has been repurposed many times. A Levi-Straus blog comments about many of these same components in jeans:

Protective Gloves

While everyone knows that a glove is a garment covering the whole hand, not everyone is familiar with gloves as Personal Protective Equipment. There are 3 categories of gloves specifying levels of risk. Category 1 is for simple gloves, for minimal risks only. Cleaning and gardening gloves are often found here. Category 2 is for intermediate risks, those that are neither minimal nor deadly/ irreversible. This includes gloves offering good puncture and abrasion performance. Category 3 is for irreversible or deadly risks, and gloves in this category must be designed to protect against the highest levels of risk.

Work gloves for woodworking are classified in category 2. Some of the functions that that can be important are: protection against cold, protection against cuts, and water protection – either water resistant or waterproof. Durability and versatility are also important considerations. In addition, gloves should fit! Poor fit can reduce performance and/or protection, and increase the risk of chafing and injury.

The Guide 5002 glove for outdoor workers in fields as divergent as construction and kindergartens.

Glove size is dependent on hand width and length. To find circumference, wrap a measuring tape around dominant hand (without thumb) just below knuckles, and make a fist. To find length measure from the bottom edge of the palm to the tip of the middle finger. Despite standards, measurements don’t always help.

Personally, I have a circumference of 275 mm (EU-10), but a length of 210 mm (EU-11). However, after spending an hour at a local store selling PPE and attempting to try on several pairs, the results were: Size 10 was hopeless; size 11 felt tight; I ended up with a size 12, as shown in the photo below.

These red gloves, suitable for woodworking, were only available in one colour combination red and black. They were the only work gloves sold by the shop in size 12.


In Europe, there are a number of standards (EN = European Norm) for gloves. EN 420 provides general specifications, EN 388 defines levels of protection against mechanical risks (abrasion / cut / tear / puncture) and electronic discharge, while EN 511 addresses cold and wet issues. Other standards extend requirements for special uses, such as welding EN 12477.

EN 420 specifies some general requirements for protective gloves. For example, it requires that the gloves themselves should not impose a risk or cause injury; that their pH be as close as possible to neutral. It also addresses allergy issues. For example, chromium content is limited to a maximum of 3 mg/kg (chrome VI). It also specifies hand size requirements.

1. Resistance to abrasion

Based on the number of cycles required to abrade through the sample glove (abrasion by sandpaper under a stipulated pressure). Performance level 1 to 4, depending on how many revolutions are required to make a hole in the material. The higher the number, the better the glove. See table below.

2 Blade cut resistance

Based on the number of cycles required to cut through the sample at a constant speed. Performance level 1 to 4.

3 Tear resistance

Based on the amount of force required to tear the sample.
Performance level 1 to 4.

4 Puncture resistance

Working with electronic components can require that gloves be used to reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge. A pictogram will indicate if gloves have passed the relevant test.

EN 511 measures how the glove’s material leads cold (first digit, convective cold with performance level 0-4 where a higher number is better ), as well as its the material’s insulating capacity, with contact (second digit, contact cold with performance level 0-4). A third digit shows if water penetrates the glove after 30 minutes.

Many glove manufacturers have detailed information about their products, and protection standards. This is true of Australian Ansell Limited and the Swedish, Skydda Protecting People Europe AB, which markets products under the name Guide.

Living in Norway, I try to support Scandinavian companies.  Skydde PPE has its own YouTube channel. Most videos on the channel are in Swedish, unfortunately: At least two of their videos are made in Bergen to emphasize gloves that protect against wet and cold (in a kindergarden) in addition to mechanical injury (carpentry). Here the spoken Bergen dialect is texted into Swedish.


Workshop Tools: Gloves

Take a close look at the following photo, and you will see the hands of an idiot who was not following safety procedures. He was not wearing gloves.  Yes, he can find extenuating circumstances to explain away both incidents. The injuries are minor. That is not the point. Both incidents could have been avoided if gloves had been used.

Unnecessary injuries caused by not wearing gloves.

People who work with sharp tools should wear gloves. It should be part of the kit!

A glove, part of the safety equipment every woodworker should learn to wear.


In my own unique way, I am attempting to rehabilitate the term “redneck”. On Tuesday, 2018-04-17, my wife, Patricia, made me a red bandanna. She also made herself a blue headscarf. These do not indicate political differences between us, but rather personal colour preferences.

Because the red cotton material is heavy, and identical to that used on my labcoat, it was difficult to knot. Thus, rather than tying it, I  constructed a Turk’s Head woggle that was ready on Saturday, 2018-04-21. It is made out of 4mm white parachute cord.

Redneck(erchief) with Turk’s Head woggle aka slide.

Redneck History

One of the earliest recorded uses of Redneck dates from the 1890’s. It refers to “poorer inhabitants of the rural districts…men who work in the field, as a matter of course, generally have their skin burned red by the sun, and especially is this true of the back of their necks”.

In 1921, the term became synonymous with armed insurrection against the state, as members of the United Mine Workers of America tied red bandannas around their necks during the Battle of Blair Mountain, a two week long armed multi-racial labor uprising in the coalfields of West Virginia. This has been noted in an earlier blog post.

​From the mid-1950s, and forward to today, the term has become increasingly demeaning. This is one way in which an economic elite can “divide and conquer”. They not only dehumanize the working class poor, they try to create ethnic and racial divides. “Redneck” is part of a trilogy of degrading names to describe rural poor, the others being  “white trash” and “hillbilly”.

In much the same way that the term “queer” was rehabilitated by homosexuals, “redneck” is meeting its own renaissance. Redneck Revolt was founded in 2016 as an armed, anti-racist, anti-fascist community. Personally, I won’t be joining this revolt, if only for two reasons. First, the term “anti-” creates unnecessary divisions; second, my commitment to pacifism means that I won’t be carrying a weapon.


The first rule of working from home: never wear pyjamas

Today’s Guardian offers insight into what to wear when working from home. Anything but pyjamas, appears to be the answer, but you can read the article itself here:

This article had such emotional appeal to me, that I felt compelled to offer the following comment:

I have a 20m (60 foot) commute from the house to the workshop (converted garage). This requires that I dress. A few months ago I bought new glasses, with red frames! Now, almost my entire work wardrobe is red from a toque (winter) or baseball cap (summer) down. The last item I put on is my lab-coat complete with embroidered name tag. It is a bit difficult to mention this in front of a bunch of fashionistas, such as yourselves, but I have a couple of areas where colour-coordination has failed me. My safety-shoes are dark blue. Fortunately, they are so old and worn that the metal shows through. The same also applies to my hearing protection which is signal yellow. Yes, I know that this is a bit off topic, but ask forgiveness for mentioning that the workshop itself is OSB, painted white. Most of the stationary machines are signal blue, while more portable machines are signal red. My 60 cm x 40 cm desk is signal yellow.

Ethan & Ethel 01: Personal Safety Equipment

Welcome to the Unit One Work Space, Ethan & Ethel. Here, everyone is required to wear appropriate clothing and safety equipment.

A lot of information about personal protective clothing and equipment is available from WorkSafeBC:

Unit One uses the regulations here as guidelines for setting its own policy. Sometimes the rules are even stricter than those the government requires.

Identity Cards and Patches

At Unit One, everyone is issued an identity card. This contains a lot of information that could be needed in acute situations. For example, it lists name, birth date, blood type (if known), current medications, chronic medical conditions, allergies, personal contact information, and contact information in case of an emergency.

While this information is also stored in an encrypted format in the Unit One database, it is important to have this information physically available. Computers don’t always work.

Unit One Billi Sodd
Birthdate: 1950-01-01
Medications: Insulin
Allergies: none
Blood Type: O
Emergency Contact: Ivan Sodd 604-527-4660

The ID card also lists courses you have taken such as first aid and hot work, as well as the machines your are qualified to use.



Expiry Date

First Aid Basic 2019-01-01
Hot Work Basic 2020-01-01
Table Saw Supervisor 2020-01-01
Mitre Saw Supervisor 2020-01-01
Band Saw Supervisor 2020-01-01
Planer Basic 2025-01-01
Router Basic 2025-01-01
CNC Lathe; Mill 2025-01-01
Electronics DC; AC 2050-01-01
3D printer Basic 2050-01-01
Laser cutter None

A Unit One ID patch is available to sew onto work jackets. This includes the Unit One logo, and your name. Its colour indicates your work status: orange – novice, must work under supervision; yellow – qualified, allowed to work without supervision; white – supervisor, allowed to train and supervise other people; blue – member of the board of directors.


Personal clothing must be of a type and in a condition which will not expose the worker to any unnecessary or avoidable hazards. First of all, this means that no dresses or skirts are allowed, girls. This is because trousers are safer to work in. Because there is a danger of contact with moving parts of machinery or with electrically energized equipment, clothing must fit closely about the body,

Everyone at Unit One wears trousers. This model includes space for knee protection. (photo: Jula)

Neckwear, bracelets, wristwatches, rings or similar articles may not be worn, except for medical alert bracelets. Similarly cranial (that means head) and facial hair must be confined, or worn at a length which will prevent it from being snagged or caught in the work process.

Everyone at Unit One must have suitable gloves to protect hands from abrasion, chemical or other injury.

Flame resistant clothing must be worn when performing hot work, including welding.


Unit One provides safety headgear in situations where there is a danger of head injury. Our headgear is colour coded (see above).

Orange headgear, worn when needed. The orange colour indicates that the person wearing it is a novice who can work only under supervision. (photo: Jula)

Eyewear & face protection

Properly fitting safety eyewear must be worn if one is handling or exposed to materials which are likely to injure or irritate the eyes. In some cases these must be fitted with sideshields.

safety glasses
Eye Protection (photo: Jula)

If there is a risk of face injury, suitable face protection must be worn.


Footwear must be of a design, construction, and material appropriate to the protection required. The following factors must be considered: slipping; tripping; uneven terrain; abrasion; ankle protection and foot support; potential for musculoskeletal injury; crushing potential; temperature extremes; corrosive substances; puncture hazards; electrical shock; any other recognizable hazard.

Hearing protection

While we have a supply of ear plugs at Unit One, we encourage people to use ear muffs. These offer less noise-reduction variability among users, are designed so that one size fits most head sizes, are not easily misplaced or lost, and may be worn with minor ear infections. However, they are less portable and heavier than ear plugs, may be less convenient for use with other personal protective equipment, may be less comfortable with hot work, and may interfere with the wearing of safety glasses because wearing glasses breaks the seal between the ear muff and the skin, resulting in decreased hearing protection.

ear muffs
Ear Muffs (photo: Jula)

Respirators and face masks

We typically use non-powered, air purifying half facepieces with sorbent cartridges when working with organic solvents. If dust is the issue, we use face masks.

Respirator used when working with organic solvents. (photo: Jula)

First Aid kit

At the entrance to Unit One there is a first aid kit that contains most items that should be used to treat minor injuries. This kit is never locked, and is accessible to everyone.

first aid kit
This is the first aid kit we have at Unit One. The lock has been disabled so that anyone can access it. (photo: Jula)

Fire extinguishers

Unit One is equipped with two fire extinguishers, suitable for all types of fires. These are located at opposite ends of the workshop.

fire extinguisher
Unit One is equipped with two fire extinguishers, one each at either end of the workshop. (photo: Jula)

Next time, we will be focusing on air quality management.

Uniforms: Millennial, War, Inter-war & Boomer

(Just like Cliff Cottage, this blog has its storage problems. Posts get written, then get stored, never to be published. Yet sometimes small miracles happen. This post that has been in storage since June 2017 is now being published in October 2017.)

The image below is from the United Kingdom election in June 2017. American pussy hats have been replaced by British fox hats (to protest May’s support of fox hunting). “Rosie the Riveter” has been given tattoos. While I am not personally keen on camouflage jackets, I do like the red trousers. In fact, I have two pairs myself which I wear while working!

AFP 2017-06 UK election Revenge of the young
AFP 2017-06-08 UK election “Revenge of the young”

J. Howard Miller’s original poster is actually titled We Can Do It. It portrays Naomi Parker (later Fraley), working at the Alameda Naval Air Station, in California. It shows how production workers actually dressed. Created in 1942, displayed for two weeks in 1943, rediscovered in the 1980s.

J. Howard Miller 1942 We Can Do It

With the war over, more elegant attire could be worn, as shown in this 50 year old photograph of Diana Rigg 1938- (Emma Peel) and Patrick Macnee 1922-2015 (John Steed). They both belong to the inter-war generation.

PA 1965 Diana Rigg as Emma Peel & Patrick Macnee as John Steed in the Avengers.

I thought of ending this by showing a photo of some boomer hippies in the late 1960s. After having viewed countless images, I am forced to conclude that the world is better off not having to look at them again.

Life skills

As the world continues its spiral of decline, there will be a greater and greater need for insight into basic knowledge, as more and more families become dysfunctional.

J. D. Vance explained the challenge in a TED talk:

Not everyone is blessed with an understanding of hygiene. Because lives may depend on it, The province of British Columbia requires all food service employees to take a “Foodsafe” course, level 1. This ensures that everyone has a minimal level of knowledge about the correct handling of food.

For some time, male inmates at Verdal prison have been offered a “House Husband” course. Here, they learn the basics of hygiene, food preparation for a family (nutrition, meal planning, setting tables, cooking, serving, using dish washers and washing/ drying dishes), laundry basics (washing, drying and ironing clothes, some minor repairs) and house cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, washing floors, walls, windows and bathrooms).

2010-12-11 Snowblower
Snow removal is not covered in the “House Husband” course. Perhaps it should be, but with a focus on more manual methods. (Photo: Patricia McLellan, 2010)

Dysfunctional families and their members need fundamental knowledge on how to survive. “Life skills” is the proposed name for a MOOC course that provides this fundamental knowledge. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. Those interested in learning how to make MOOCs should investigate:

Comments are invited as to what such a course should contain, and how it should be divided up into modules.