The color yellow

I can’t remember the last time I wore the color yellow. I’ve never really gravitated towards the color until this year when yellow showed up everywhere. On red carpets, clothing stores, and style bloggers. And it wasn’t just one shade of yellow-it was the whole spectrum. You have your pale yellows, bright citrus yellows, and deep mustard yellows. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for Fall.

Photos are clickable 🙂





But I still wasn’t sold on the color yellow. Is it practical to wear a color that basically demands to be seen? But then I had to pause and ask myself: what about the color yellow is really holding me back?

I don’t remember the first time I “learned” to associate the color yellow with the color of my skin. It might have been the first time I was referred to as a “Twinkie”-yellow on the outside and white on the inside. This is typically used to refer to Asian Americans who don’t live up to outdated stereotypes and are then viewed as less Asian and more “White” or “Caucasian.” The idea that children of immigrants won’t grow up to integrate both cultures into their identities and way of living life boggles my mind. Doesn’t “(insert ethnicity here)-American” inherently indicate that there are at least two cultures at play here?

But since race was something society tells us we need to use to categorize ourselves, and I was clearly not “White” then “Yellow” it was. But it never felt right. Why were people simultaneously using the color yellow to categorize me and put me down for not being what they thought of me?

So I did a bit of googling to look into both yellow the color, and yellow as the color assigned to my skin.

According to, yellow represents “happiness and optimism” but there’s also a “dark side” that represents “cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness.” Hmm…where might the negative stuff come from?

History reveals that because of fear, Western civilization created the idea of “Yellow Peril” a “racist-color metaphor” used to justify the colonization and discrimination of East Asian people. (Wikipedia).

So to conclude this very brief history lesson, East Asian people did not come together and decide that they wanted to be referred to as the “yellow” race. It was assigned.

Well, I guess now I know where my aversion to the color yellow really comes from.

Back to my earlier question: Is it practical to wear a color that basically demands to be seen? And my answer is YES. Not only is it practical but it is necessary. Especially, in the current state of our country as shown in Charlottesville.

If fashion is a form of self-expression, then I want to express that yellow is a color I choose to wear because it demands to be seen. It makes me feel empowered, hopeful, and optimistic. “Yellow” is not the color of my skin and “Twinkie” is not how I define myself.

I am the only one who gets to define me. 

Yellow top: Side Party via Lisa says Gah
Jeans: Evidnt via Shopbop
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Bag: Clare V.

What color empowers you? I would love to know!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in my next post.

Sophie 🙂

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This is not an ad. All opinions are my own.

  • Kendraya Hampton

    Sophie, this post was so powerful! Please know that I understand your feelings on this. Thank you for your vulnerability!

    Throughout my entire life as a mixed person, I’ve been referred to as “yellow” from the undertone of my skin associated with my Korean background and from having a lighter skin complexion. It’s been a term associated with negativity from different people – a term that made it difficult for people to accept me into their groups for a notion that I “thought I was better than other people” and that I wasn’t fully one race. This has never been an idea of mine. This was always an idea that belonged to people who didn’t know me.

    The Twinkie story is so relatable, as people have always told me that I “act white” or “talk white.” I’ve always embraced each race that makes me who I am – never choosing one over the other. However, people try to choose our identities for us.

    Some people will never realize that a word as simple as “yellow” could fester so many negative memories. Sophie, yellow looks so great on you! Continue to wear it to express yourself. You’re not yellow. You’re not a Twinkie. You’re Sophie. 😊

    • Hi Kendraya,

      Thank you so much! I think being mixed or being influenced by more than one culture is what contributes to our ability to empathize, which is an amazing and crucial quality to have 🙂

      I agree that people will always try to choose identities for us because that makes them feel relieved and secure in their understanding of humans, the world, and life in general. People often feel threatened/unsettled when their perspectives begin to be challenged but I believe that if they work through that “rocky” stage (question their notions and way of thinking), they could come out with a much greater understanding and acceptance for humans, regardless of our physical differences.

      The whole “acting” or “talking” white thing is a great example of how people want to believe in the stereotypes they were taught-refusing to see that factors like: environment, access to education, and other life opportunities or lack of- will shape the way you communicate with the world.

      Thank you, Kendraya-for seeing me and understanding the intentions and feelings behind this blog post 🙂

      Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

      • Kendraya Hampton

        You stated all of this perfectly, Sophie!

        Creating a platform for honest thoughts about sensitive subjects is what the world needs – to educate others in order to shed fears and stereotypes. I truly feel that fear is at the root of racism, oppression, and hatred. We all need open hearts and open minds to work through issues like these.

        Thank you so much, Sophie! Have a great weekend! 🙂

        • I can’t agree more, Kendraya. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Hope you had a wonderful weekend too 🙂

  • Ugh, I remember ‘twinkie’ and ‘banana’ being tossed around in college. Like there’s a specific way of being of “acting” Asian. It also bothers me that the terms seem to lump together all the different ethnicities. Indians and Vietnamese and Chinese all have very different experiences and resources. So when people say, oh, all Asians are good at math and have tiger moms, it just bugs the hell out of me.

    I’ve always shied away from yellow because I was taught that it didn’t look good on Asian skin. But now I realize that’s just silly. There are lots of shades of yellow and you can find one that will work for your squinting. My Asian best friend actually wore yellow to my wedding and she looked great. Good for you for rocking it, too!

    • Preach! It’s like nobody wants to see you for you because they’re so blinded by who they think you are. Every “no offense” offensive statement always went like this, “You’re Asian, shouldn’t you/you should __________________.” So incredibly frustrating and even more upsetting that this kind of talk was considered normal among friends.

      I feel like I was taught the same about yellow being unflattering on Asian skin. There are so many shades of yellow that it really is just a matter of combing through what’s out there-like finding the perfect pair of jeans 😉 I was actually thinking of wearing yellow to my friend’s upcoming wedding haha…maybe I will 🙂