The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York examines colors in its new exhibit, “She’s Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion.”

The exhibit explores the history, symbolism, science, and psychology of color in fashion via a dizzying array of clothing from the past 150 years. It also explains what color is and shows how the use of various colors has changed through the decades. Blue, for example, has gone from being “second rate” to black, white, and red in the 19th century to becoming Americans’ favorite color today and the color most likely to be worn.

This fascinating trip through the rainbow illustrates the meaningful possibilities of color and encourages observers to view colors not just for what they are at the moment, but what they could be. That thought applies to both fashion and jewelry design. The conclusion, according to the curators of the exhibit: “There are few, if any, universal truths related to colors. The popular belief that certain colors are intrinsically flattering to different ‘types’ of people has no objective validity [and] our responses to color … are highly subjective.”

“She’s Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion” runs until May 12 at the Museum at F.I.T. For information, call (212) 217-5800.