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Office Fashion: The Psychology of Colors in Work Wear

woman-closetWhat do the colors of your clothes say about you?

The office isn’t a fashion parade but it is the sort of place where your clothes will get you noticed. People are judged on their appearance and, while this may not be fair, it is almost certainly true; and even subtle changes to your office attire can have your co-workers or superiors thinking about you in a different manner.

Color Psychology

Color psychology is concerned with how certain colors effect emotions, perceptions and reactions. Interior designers have used this to their advantage for years by letting blue relax people, yellow excite them or purple make them feel sensual. You can, of course, have the same effect on people’s perceptions with your clothes; even the color of something as subtle as your tie or shoes can have a massive impact on how seriously someone will take you. For the office, consider the following connotations certain colors might have:

Black symbolizes power and sophistication. It is also known to have a slimming effect. Black also has the potential to be overbearing and scary if used too liberally. Black is a good color for trousers, jackets or shirts but should be broken up with other colors.

Yellow can be seen as cheery and warm but be aware that it is the color most likely to cause eye strain and encourage feelings of anger or frustration. Yellow should be limited to accessories such as ties or necklaces.

White is associated with purity and serenity but it can also be viewed as bland; this means it should be used sparingly. White is the classic color for an office shirt because it provides a good background for the statement color of a tie.

Purple is a color that has historically been associated with wealth or royalty; but due to many people wearing purple to seem like a wealthy or important person it can also be seen as the color of fakery or insincerity. Purple is difficult color to pull off because it requires confidence to wear successfully.

Red is a powerful color associated with speed, aggression and excitement. Red is a color that provokes strong emotions. This makes red a great color to wear to negotiations, meetings and sales pitches.

Brown is a color that symbolizes age and maturity and this can make someone wearing brown seem wise. Brown is a popular color with teachers and academics because it inspires feelings of respect in a subtle manner as opposed to aggressively asserting respect like red or purple. However, be aware that wearing too much brown can make you look stuffy or old fashioned.

Blue is a calming color that inspires serenity. That said, it is a color that can also evoke feelings of sadness. Wear blue when you need to give important news in a meeting but break it up with other colors if you are delivering bad news.

Orange is one of the safest colors to wear. It is associated with warmth and enthusiasm and has very few negative associations. This makes it a great color for accessories because it prevents other colors from becoming overbearing.

Green is like orange in that it has very few negative associations. Green evokes nature, tranquility and good luck. Green is good color for women’s dresses. It is also another great color for accessories.

Pink is associated with femininity, love and romance. Pink is a strange color because it has a relaxing and calming effect upon initial exposure but studies have shown that it becomes more irritating to people the longer they are exposed to it. This makes pink a good color for items you will wear briefly but you can remove for the bulk of the day e.g. jackets and bags.

Work on combinations such as green and black (powerful but approachable) or blue and orange (calm but warm) and wear certain colors in preparation for certain tasks you will face during the day.

Source: Business 2 Community

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