This article appeared in
Southern Vanity, April/May 2005
The Pigment Principles, Part One
There is power in your closet and it is in the color
of your clothes. All people have a physiological response
to color. The following chart is to be used to dressappropriately
for what you want to achieve. Assuming your closet is already
filled with favorites where every item fits you perfectly
(for the body as it honestly is today), look to the colors
you choose to give you the extra impact to make all your goals
a slam dunk!
For businesswomen, the most effective colors are charcoal
grey and navy blue. Even though
spring is here and bright colors are in fashion, there is
power in the colors we sometimes think of as boring or just
for winter. When you are dealing with money, people and legal
matters, your clients or prospects want to be reassured that
you are dependable, trustworthy and focused on the matters
at hand. The darker the shade of every color, the more down
to earth and reliable you appear. Greys projects authority.
Blues project trust. Darken these two colors and you can see
why they are so effective when you go to a meeting to sign
a contract, discuss a raise or promotion, or deal with lawyers
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lighter a shade
is, the softer your impact is on others. If you are a leader
on a project in your company or an association, your purpose
is not always to be in the limelight. There are times you
need to gather information while NOT drawing attention to
yourself. There are times you need to deliver hard news, conduct
an exit interview or deal with a highly emotionally charged
group of people. Pastel blue, soft yellows, light pinks will
help you visually sooth the people you could be at odds with.
These are situations when you do not wear red.
Red is known as “the” power
color, but here is the reasoning behind that. When we see
red, our blood pressure increases slightly, as does our brain
activity. What red is great for is when you are giving a presentation
and you want people to remember what you said. Wearing red
helps others more easily retain your message because their
brain activity in a more heightened state when they hear your
presentation and see you in red. Red is not the color to wear
if you are announcing layoffs, bad news or any message that
others will find upsetting.
So many women have closets with an overabundance of black
clothes. We tend to think it hides our flaws and/or
extra weight. It can, but black does more than that. It is
a great networking color among others in leadership positions.
Yet when we are with subordinates, head-to-toe black can be
seen as a wall around the authority figure that can stop the
flow of open communication. People can see you as the leader
(where you wear black), but may not volunteer feedback, insight
or information if they do not want to challenge you as the
leader. “She can handle it,” may be the prevailing
attitude as others remain in the background watching you handle
the hard tasks. If you are a manager and your department is
not forthcoming with you, you may be overwhelming them with
the black in your wardrobe. Medium shades of any other color
will draw others to you when you want more interaction.