How much time do you give to thinking about what you are going to wear? Do you think about how the color of what you wear will affect you or the people you are meeting? Research shows that the majority of our communication is nonverbal. Color of clothing is one of the many non-verbal communications that affect people.
Color brings about emotion. Each color has a subtle emotional/psychological association with it; this is good to know because it can have an effect on you in your professional as well as personal life. This is particularly true for female public figures. At the recent G20, Angela Merkel chose to wear red (a color of energy and strength) in a sea of black and blue. Theresa May opted for Tory blue. Did Mrs. Merkel need to feel forceful or aggressive? Did she need to stand out? Was Teresa Mays’ choice a nod to her party? Blue is a color of loyalty, honesty and confidence. This could also be why navy blue is considered to be the best color to wear to an interview in the corporate world. What Hilary Clinton wore during the presidential debates was just as much analyzed as her responses and body language were. In fact women wore white when heading to the polls in support of Hilary Clinton. White is a color of purity and honesty; it is also considered the color of the Suffragettes.
How we feel about color is also affected by culture. The Social Mobility Commission which was set up by the British government found "for men, the wearing of brown shoes with a business suit is generally considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking division" and by doing so it could cost a person a job in the interview process. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore brown shoes with a navy suit to the swearing in ceremony, many people were taken aback. While brown is not the most popular color, it is associated with loyalty, tradition and being down to earth. When people want to show power and authority, black is the color most often worn. This is especially true for heads of state and executives.
Yellow and orange are warm colors. Yellow is a happy, optimistic color while orange is a fun loving color. Maybe this is why orange is considered the worst color to wear to an interview. Purple is the color of royalty in many cultures; it is also the color of spirituality and creativity. Green is often associated with money, health and nature. It is a calming color.
The effect of color is powerful. It can influence people to have certain feelings and reactions about you. In a nutshell, to show more authority and power wear dark colors with high contrast (like black and white). To have a friendly more approachable image, light colors that blend well are a better choice.
The next time you are getting ready, think of the event, how you want to feel, and how you want others to feel about you and use color to your advantage.
By Guest Blogger:
NCCA designated Communication Coach/Trainer
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