Believe it or not, the color of your tie, your shirt, or your suit may be sending a message about your mood, your intentions, or your personality. Different colors carry different meanings, which are often picked up by others on a subconscious level. Just as certain colors draw you more than others, these same colors tend to give others an impression of who you are.
You already know that the style of clothing you wear should be chosen carefully for important events, such as interviews and business meetings. Likewise, you should always dress in colors that send the right message for the occasion. Below are the basic colors found in men’s fashion, and what impressions are associated with each.
It is no mistake that black is popular among businessmen. Black carries with it an expression of authority and power. At the same time, black is traditional and elegant, an expression of style that is both understated and confident.
Of course, because black can make such a strong statement, it can also be overdone quite easily. Using other colors as an accent can relieve the overpowering effect of too much black. Additionally, you should vary your outfits from day to day; wearing black suits all the time can make you seem stuffy or even boring to the people who see you every day.
Wearing brown can give you an instant aura of reliability. Brown is abundant in nature, and therefore carries with it many earthy traits. For instance, dark brown evokes wood (as in tree trunks, not two-by-fours) and leather, which are sturdy and durable materials. Light brown, on the other hand, imbues the wearer with warmth and genuineness.
Although brown is generally not viewed as being in the same class as black, if the clothing is of high quality, brown can be just as elegant. Brown is also a fairly neutral color, making it a wardrobe staple that is easy to mix and match.
In Western society, white is often used to symbolize cleanliness. For instance, doctors and nurses traditionally wear white as part of their sterile environment, while brides wear white to symbolize their purity (cleanliness of spirit).
White is also a traditional part of a man’s wardrobe: A white dress shirt lends a more formal look to business attire, and is expected with tuxedos. In addition, wearing spotless white marks you as someone who appreciates order and cleanliness.
Red is a vivid, invigorating color, and is guaranteed to draw attention – so you should only wear red if attention is what you want. In general, red is a statement of power, dominance, and sexual energy. Therefore, lots of red should be avoided in situations that require more subtlety, such as job interviews, business meetings, and negotiations.
Because red is such a stimulant, it is easy to overdo. For this reason, interior designers usually use red as an accent, rather than as a main color. For the best results, you should follow suit (no pun intended), and use red in moderation when designing an outfit.
While red is known for its stimulating qualities, its close cousin – pink – is actually quite the opposite. Pink and peach tend to be very calming colors. Also, pink gives an impression of optimism, and can make a person look healthier by bringing out the warm tones in their skin.
Have you ever wondered why legal pads typically feature yellow paper? This is because yellow is a visual stimulant, and has been shown to improve concentration and focus. In addition, yellow is generally believed to be a happy color. As a result, yellow clothing often makes a gleeful statement about the wearer.
However, yellow is also the harshest color on the eye, making it easy to cross the fine line between just enough yellow, and too much. Overdoing it will have the opposite effect as what you want, since too much yellow can also stimulate anxiety and shorten tempers.
Green, particularly darker shades, is a great color for any man to have in his wardrobe. Perhaps because it is frequently found in nature, green is a soothing color, and instantly renders a person more approachable. In addition, green is a color that is often associated with money and wealth in Western culture, which can be a positive impression to encourage.
Out of all the colors in the rainbow, blue is the most soothing. Blue is sometimes misinterpreted as a sad color, while in reality blue has a rather calming effect on people.
People who wear blue are usually viewed as more intelligent and trustworthy. Therefore, blue is recommended for occasions where impressions of trust and loyalty are beneficial: job interviews, important business meetings, and perhaps even a first date (depending on your intentions, of course).
Shades of purple tend to imply wealth and status. Therefore, colors that pick up purple hues – for instance, burgundy – are quite popular in men’s fashion. Wearing purple or burgundy denotes luxury, sophistication, and spiritual enlightenment, and can therefore make quite a statement when included in your wardrobe.
Using Color to Your Advantage
As much as we would like to believe that appearances are only skin-deep, the truth is that the way we dress determines quite a bit of people’s attitudes and behavior toward us. Encouraging the reaction that you want from people takes more than simply dressing in the appropriate style – for instance, wearing a suit and tie to a business interview. Colors also have a tendency to manipulate others’ opinions of you. Understanding how to use this phenomenon to your advantage is a vital part of inviting success by the way you dress.
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