The colors we choose to wear affect us more than we might think. People tend to associate colors with many different things and oftentimes the colors we wear have meaning beyond just the visual. Different colors create different moods and are appropriate in different settings. Think about it…there’s a reason we don’t wear red or yellow to a funeral. You wouldn’t show up to court in a multicolored outfit or in something bright like orange or yellow. Likewise, you would probably wear white, gray, or black to a job interview. Most of the time, we make these color choices without even thinking about it, but what if we could purposely use color choice to our advantage? If you are looking to get the edge over your opponent in a job interview, to make an impact at a presentation, or to stand out amongst your work team, you need to be more conscious of the color of your wardrobe and how you can use it to your advantage.
Do Your Research
Perhaps you are interviewing for a new position. If so, it is to your advantage to find out as much as you can about the company and the position. If they are in a hurry to fill the position, you might choose to wear the color red because red creates a sense of urgency. In sales, the color red is often used to incite impulse purchases, so perhaps a red scarf or red tie will result in a speedy decision by the employer. If the position requires strong leadership qualities, you might wear the color black to signify that you are in control. If you prefer to play it safe, you can always stick with the color blue. Blue is a business color, and is seen as calm, confident, and non-confrontational. You should also be familiar with what country the company originates from. In China, red represents good luck and fortune so that is a great color if you are interviewing with a Chinese company. Japanese are fond of the color yellow because it represents courage in their culture. If you are interviewing for an American company, shy away from the color orange, as it is among their least favorite colors. Researching the company and the position can help you be more advantageous in the color you wear to your interview.
Consider the Culture
Company culture can have a lot to do with what colors you should wear to work. For example, if you work for an advertising company, creativity is encouraged so you might appear to be too bland and boring if you show up day after day in gray and black. You are more likely to be noticed if you are wearing bright colors that can be associated with creativity. Likewise, if you are working in a law firm, you might get some odd looks if you show up to court in bright red, yellow, orange, or purple. You are in a position that needs to show control so you are better off wearing gray, black, or blue. If you work for a new-age technical company that has a culture of being laid-back you might wear green or blue as these colors are calming and restful on the eyes so they are peaceful colors for a relaxed office atmosphere.
How Colors are Perceived
The colors we wear can also tell a lot about our personality. They can tell interviewers, managers, and coworkers if we are confident, shy, outgoing, dominant, or relaxed. People will take notice of your color choice and might make assumptions based on the color of your wardrobe. Here is a quick breakdown of colors and how people perceive them.
Red- This is the color to wear if you want to get someone’s attention. It draws people in and gets them looking in your direction. However, it is also associated with romance and passion, so use sparingly in the workplace.
Orange- Orange is also likely to draw attention but is a little less dramatic than red. It is seen as energetic, but its bright tone might be a little too distracting for work.
Yellow- This sunny color is the perfect shade for brightening someone’s day or adding a bit of inspiration. It is warm and friendly and is a nice shade for the summer months.
Green- Green is seen as calm and soothing and is also associated with nature which is why it is one of spring’s most popular colors. It is a great color for reducing stress.
Blue- Blue is also perceived as calming but is also considered the most popular business color. It is a safe choice for interviews or presentations.
Purple- This color is certainly regal, but is also considered the most “unnatural.” This luxurious color should be worn in moderation in the professional setting.
Black- Black signifies power and conveys seriousness. In times when you want to be taken seriously, you might consider wearing black along with a splash of green or blue.
Grey- Grey implies passivity and can be perceived as boring and unoriginal. It should be paired with a brighter hue to offset its neutrality.
White- This color is associated with cleanliness and perfection. It’s a great choice for a shirt or scarf, but too much can be perceived as pompous or sterile.