You can’t help it. When a woman in a red dress walks into a room, or a man in a striking black suit wearing a vibrant red tie, you turn and look. Or how about how relaxed you feel in a green room? Color is all around us and has more influence over our moods then you might think. When it comes to fashion, color is a powerful way to send non-verbal messages about your confidence and ability.
“The colors a man chooses for his business attire tell the world a lot about him,” says Dana Persia, image consultant and owner of DP Image Consulting. “Color implies his level of success, background, status, authority, personality and more.”
Here are a few tips from Persia for deciding on what colors to add or subtract from your wardrobe:
For suits, choose dark blue and dark grey in solids or pinstripes to create more credibility. Other acceptable colors for suits are brown and beige. Black can be severe; the darker the color, the more weight it carries. Black is your most authoritative choice, followed by dark navy.
As for the color of your shirt, white is the safest and most versatile since it will go with every color of suit and match all of your ties. The next best choice is light or medium blue and then light pastels like yellow or even pink, if you are so bold. A man who wears pink actually creates an air of confidence because any man who dares to where it must be just that!
Coordinate ties in bold colors like red (power, strength, ambition, leadership), blue (coolness, confidence, conservatism, dependabilty), purple (creativity, wisdom, flamboyance) depending on the business situation you are in.
And what do the color experts say about the meaning of color?
Black is an authoritative color that carries a lot of weight in social and business situations. In fashion, black is a slimming color. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, black can imply submission, which is why clergy often wear black. Black is intense and can be off-putting or intimidating. In terms of pop culture and folklore, black is associated with villains. If you find black too severe for the office or feels too formal, break it up with diagonal white stripes
The same goes for your dress shirt. If you aren’t wearing a tie, a black dress shirt with subtle white stripes is professional and modern. We like Dolce & Gabbana’s Striped Cotton Dress Shirt. But if you want the bad boy mysterious look, go for a solid black dress shirt and pair it with jeans for a night out with the boys or for a first date. The StretchPoplin Shirt in Black says sophisticated and a little bit dangerous.
In many cultures, white is a symbol of purity. Traditionally viewed as a summer color, white can now be worn year round. For fashion white goes with almost anything; however it does show dirt and is more challenging to keep clean.
White ties are hard to come by but you may see more of them with the popularity of the monochromatic looks. The Belisi Cloud Dancer tie looks great paired with a crisp, white dress shirt or any color buttondown.
Without a doubt, red packs a punch. An emotional and vibrant color, red simulates blood–the source of life. Red clothes get noticed, which can work for or against you. Red is intense, so if you’re involved in negotiations it could work against you, as red could be seen as intimidating and threatening. Red cars are also a popular target for car thieves.
For men, red is best when worn as an accent color such as in a tie.
Pink is associated with romance and tranquility. A recent trend is men wearing pink dress shirts or ties. If you’ve ever heard the saying “real men wear pink”, there’s something to it. A man who wears pink screams confident.
If you’re not ready to commit to a pink dress shirt, a pink tie is a great way to subtly infuse a little color.
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.
Have a legal face-off coming up? If you want to pacify the opposition and appear less threatening (like to an arbitrator or judge), a light blue dress shirt, like the The Burberry Herringbone Dress Shirt is a good choice. Or, accent a white, gray or black dress shirt with a light blue tie.
You might notice your friends painting their walls green. And with good reason; green is calming, refreshing and easy on the eye. Green has been associated with fertility and wealth. A man who wants to convey status might wear a dark green tie or shirt.
Yellow is associated with cheerfulness and morning. But studies show that people lost their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and the color appears to upset infants. It’s a noticeable color but hard on the eyes. On a positive note, yellow can improve concentration (explaining why legal pads are yellow) and improves metabolism–hence the reason many kitchens are painted yellow. Brighten up a gloomy day with a soft yellow tie.
Purple denotes royalty, wealth and luxury. It is a romantic and feminine color, especially in violets and deep purple velvet fabrics. Purple can appear artificial, since the color is rare in nature, so if you’re going for a natural look, purple may not be the right color for you. Wearing purple is all about balance. Choose a tie that is colorful yet not overpowering.
Brown is the color of earth and looks great on people with Autumn skin tones. Light brown implies genuineness and dark brown gives off a rustic, earthy feel with its closeness to wood and tanned leather. Brown can also be a dull color, so make sure to fill your wardrobe with a variety of colors and tones. When worn properly, brown is sophisticated in a non-intimidating way. A brown tie is a great way to send the message that you’re open and honest.