Your choice of business clothing is an important aspect of the success of your business. Color is also one of the most important tools you can use in business, and this includes your choice of colors for what you wear to work. Others are six times more likely to be influenced by the color you wear than by anything else about your appearance.
While many people are aware of the impact of color on their own image and how they look to other people, what you may not be so familiar with is the psychological impact your choice of color can have on your clients and customers.
This includes your choice of clothing when you meet with a client, the color of the room you are in or your surroundings and the color of any gift packs you may give them. Color has such a subconscious impact it is important to have an understanding of what it says to your client.
When choosing color for your business clothing there are three questions you need to ask yourself.
The first question is: How do I feel today?
Do I need to be uplifted because I am tired or feeling down?
Am I feeling anxious and need to be calm?
Am I feeling depressed when I need to be cheerful?
Do I need more energy for a presentation?
Let your intuition be your guide, as that is the color you probably most need that day. Remember brighter and lighter colors for your business clothing are uplifting to the emotions, while darker and more neutral colors are subduing and more controlling.
The second question is: Do I wish to impress men, women or both, and from which socio-economic group, which age group and which ethnic group do they come?
Women tend to react more positively to blue based colors, such as deep blue-reds, most blues, most pinks, and blue-greens.
For men, yellow based colors are more attractive. True reds and orange reds, peachy-apricot and most blues are best.
Lower socio-economic groups prefer yellow based colors while the upper class like blue based colors and this holds true for both men and women.
And finally, and probably the most important question, is: What message do I wish to get across to my client?
Take into consideration whether you are conducting a private or group consultation, promoting an idea or product, giving a speech or attending a meeting.
If you want to establish trust and credibility, then blue is best. It is the safest color of all, universally liked by most men and women – however has a certain predictability about it and suggests ‘conservative’.
If you want to appear friendly and approachable – choose lighter colors such as mid-tone blues and greens, blue-greens and teal, tan and peachy-orange.
To be assertive, get noticed or if giving a talk, wear red. But, remember that it can also be threatening to others.
To appear confident, blue-green is a good business color for women to wear, it suggests high self-esteem and confidence, yet is still friendly and approachable.
To show dependability, wear green, but be aware that it is also a color that is not always liked by others, even though it is the color of emotional balance.
If you wish to appear neutral wear grey or beige. These colors can let your personality shine through, although you may also come across as a fence-sitter keeping your true feelings to yourself. You may say what the client wants to hear, rather than the truth.
If you want to be seen as professional with authority, wear dark blue or dark grey, which are the most business-like colors and good for credibility when promoting your business, yet these could be too overpowering and somber for many of your clients in a consultation.
To shock and inspire your audience, wearing magenta will do this for you.
In a group situation, you may want to project more authority than you would with an individual consultation or meeting, so darker colors will do this. Lighter colors are friendlier and less threatening but lack power.
In a meeting where you have something to say and want to be noticed, wear red, but not if you are feeling angry and aggressive.
There is no such thing as a good or bad color; it is just that some colors are more appropriate than others in some situations. All colors have both a positive and negative side to them. Make sure you are aware of this. Color is a very powerful tool. Keep this in mind when dressing for work to give yourself and advantage in your business communications.