1 Look at the title and sub-heading of the article opposite. What do these colours mean to you?
gold yellow red white green blue
2 Now scan the text to find these colours. What does the article tell you about them?
THE POWER OF COLOUR
Today, fashion dictates not only the clothes we wear, but the colours, too. Did you know that colours have had important meanings since ancient times?
If you take a stroll around the fashion department of any high street store today, you'll be dazzled by the variety of colours, patterns and textures available. However, there is nothing all that new in this. (0)__ For the Ancient Egyptians, the Celts in Britain, the Aztecs in South America, colour was an important part of life.
In many ancient civilisations, people painted coloured circles and lines around their eyes and mouths. Originally they did this to please the gods and scare away evil spirits. But they soon realised that colour could be used to make their faces and bodies beautiful - and cosmetics were born. They were first used to distinguish between different tribes, and also between males and females. Women used colour and pattern to emphasise their body shape, (1)__ By contrast, men tended to use designs that emphasised their strength and skill.
Body painting is one of the most ancient arts of humankind and today it is coming back into fashion. Until recently, only men used tattoos on their bodies.(2)__ Girls who prefer not to have tattoos paint patterns on their hands and faces with henna, or use removable transfers to decorate their arms and legs. Like their ancient ancestors, they are pursuing an ideal of beauty.
Eventually, the colours of our clothes became just as important as those used for painting the body. Clothes are a symbol of power. The power in the clothes affects both the person who wears them and the people around him or her. So it's important to choose the colours you wear carefully. (3)__ But if you wear it too long, you can start to feel impatient or aggressive. The colour green, on the other hand, is known to calm the nerves and soothe emotions.
The mysterious Aztec and Maya civilisations were not familiar with wool, linen or silk, some of our most popular modern fabrics. But they dyed their textiles with great artistry. For them, every colour had a meaning, either positive or negative. For example, yellow was the symbol of the sun and of ripe corn growing in the fields, and blue meant the wearer had royal ancestors. Red stood for blood. (4)__ In ancient Egypt, gold was the colour of the Sun god and the symbol of power. In traditional Asian cultures, white is the colour of sorrow. The blue of the sky, the red of the sun and the paleness of the moon were associated with religious rituals, legends and poetry.
With the passing of time, fashion has become increasingly international. Today, the same fabrics, colours and designs are available all over the world. Fashion dictates not only the clothes we wear, but the colours, too. Every colour under the sun is available in today's style parade. (5)__ The best thing is to go for the colours that suit you best. Choose a colour that doesn't make your complexion look too pale, one that doesn't clash with your hair colour, one that reflects your personality. And remember that colours can influence the way you feel. Wear colours that make you feel confident and relaxed.
Just as in ancient times, the right clothes give you power, make you look good, and help to identify you as part of your group. Today, however, you don't have to be wealthy to look stylish. (6)__
2. Read the text once all the way through and discuss these questions.
0 When did colour become important?
1 How did cosmetics first develop?
2 What do you think a transfer is (line 28)?
3 Why should we be careful about the colours we wear?
4 Why do you think white is the colour of sorrow in traditional Asian cultures?
5 What advice does the writer give about choosing colours?
6 Do you agree with the ideas in the last paragraph of the article?
The sentences have been removed from the text. Read the sentence before and after each gap carefully and decide what kind of information is missing. Choose the correct option a) or b) below. Key words in the text have been underlined to help you.
0 a) example b) explanation
1 a) example b) contrasting idea
2 a) contrasting idea b) result
3 a) explanation b) example
4 a) contrasting idea b) example
5 a) example b) result
6 a) contrasting idea b) explanation
Now read the sentences A- H in the box below and choose the sentence which fits each gap. Underline the words in each sentence that help you decide. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use.
A This is because the high street has put style within reach of all of us.
Â Pink, lilac, strawberry-red, pea-green, bright orange – which one should you choose?
C Now, however, they can be seen on many women and girls, too.
D For example, ancient Celtic women painted their bodies blue.
E Did you know, for example, that wearing a red sweater or jacket can increase your energy levels?
F Black symbolised war and death.
G We feel we have to buy them because the shops are full of them.
H The truth is that ancient peoples already recognised the magical power of colour.