How Wearing Color Can Help Advance Your Career

March 13, 2013

Color is a form of nonverbal communication.

It’s powerful. It’s persuasive.

There is an art to it and there is a science to it.

So, why not take advantage of the opportunity and wear colors that help you further succeed in business?!

Here’s an example: You’ve scheduled a 15-minute meeting with your boss. Your objective is to request more responsibility and you’ve laid out a sound plan on how and why this would be advantageous to his or her department. You’ve got a proven track record and, now, you want more. Do you think you are more likely to hear a “Yes, great idea!” by wearing a blue blouse or a red blouse? What about a purple blouse versus a green blouse?

My answer is any of these colors would be better than opting to wear your all-too-often, go-to white or black top or jacket or dress.

The study of color theory and color psychology is useful, but it can also be overwhelming and the bottom line is the way color is perceived is subjective. Meanings of color can vary depending upon culture and circumstance and can vary from one day to the next with any individual…just think of the color red…it can symbolize both excitement and anger.

Here’s why I think color (other than white or black) is so vital to you as a professional. It does affect decision makers. And it does affect your confidence which, in turn, affects decision makers too.

You want to look smart, capable, dynamic, and enthused on the job.

Wearing white or black or other neutral colors all the time makes you look boring, bland…a wallflower…and who wants that in a (future) leader?

So, my recommendation? Separate yourself from the crowd and wear more color on the job, especially on days when you’ve got a super important engagement!

I would not get distracted by the meaning of colors. Instead, place your focus on actually wearing colors, besides predominately neutrals, and wearing your best color tones that enliven your skin tone, invigorate you and make you feel great. Although mint green may be a hot color trend, pistachio may look best on you. Also note colors do not have to look bright to be effective…focus on personally flattering colors.

Don’t worry! You don’t have to go overboard! Simply incorporate one colorful piece into your business outfit and get ready for lots more opportunities at work.

Do you have a power color that you rely on for important business engagements? If so, please share with readers why you think that particular color works so well for you?

Image credit: Le 21ème. Graphics by Kristina Moore for Corporate Fashionista.

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  • Anonymous

    So glad to see this post! I routinely wear (and always have worn) a significant amount of color and have benefited from it. I work in a conservative business (law), but there are ways of wearing color, even in interviews, for many law positions. It’s key to know when, where, and how, but color can be a real asset.

  • I’m thrilled to hear you’re standing out from the crowd and getting great results!

  • I love colour. I wore a really bright turquoise circle skirt to work this week, with a black and white polka dot blouse, and I got SO many compliments. It was just such a bright and striking colour combination. I think as long as it’s appropriate, colour is definitely a good thing. Why be boring when you can be memorable!

  • You got it, Leslie! I concur! Glad to hear you’re getting great results. By the way, you looked so cute in your outfit I just had to share it and pin it onto Corporate Fashionista’s Pinterest Community Board. Check yourself out: