Power Colours: How to Successfully Wear and Use Colour for Success
Updated: Jan 28
Think it's just black and red that are power colours?
Women in positions of power (particularly senior political positions) know how to influence their story and messaging through their style and colour choices.
Every colour will establish a mood, and depending on the outcome you are seeking, or the message you want to convey, the colour you wear should be chosen for its ability to help you create and influence your end goal.
When it comes to dressing, more than style or silhouette, colour demands our attention. Marketing and advertising gurus have been using it for years to influence our emotional reactions and it's time for us to to leverage its full power through our clothing.
Even though it may be unconscious, social psychologists recognise that colour is the first thing that we notice on other people and it has an immediate and powerful impact.
And colour doesn't just impact your aesthetics and those around you - it's power reaches to your own attitude and emotions too.
How to successfully use colour
The first step to leveraging the power and magic of colour is to work out exactly what colours make you look your best - a great place to start is my previous post on How To Know What Colours Suit You.
Once you know your colours, the ones that you choose to wear should be chosen strategically and deliberately for every occasion. When you know what impression you desire to leave, colour is one of the easiest ways to help you achieve it.
By tapping into the world of colour psychology, that marketers and advertisers so effectively use to influence our buying choices, you too can shape others perceptions through your clothing choices.
Even though not technically a colour, I'm including black because of its wide use and how powerful it is.
While it can be intimidating, in small amounts, it can add confidence without being overpowering. A black dress is an easy option however, it will not necessarily create the most impact – to be noticed, black should be contrasted with another colour or contrasting makeup.
Black can help you be seen as professional and treated seriously - but be mindful that an all black outfit will make you seem unimaginative.
Red projects authority and can be worn to show you are in control, however in professional environments, be sure to use it in moderation.
While it's an energising colour and can motivates us to take action, it's also associated with aggression and can be seen as hostile. A splash of red is fine, but leave an all red outfit for outside work. Given it is also the colour of passion, it can be worn to attract the opposite sex, and research has shown men are more attracted to women when they wear red.
The colour orange relates to social communication. It is physically and
mentally stimulating and gets people thinking and talking. It helps keep us motivated and look on the bright side of life.
Orange is a great colour to capture the attention of others, but at the same time, it can also transmit superficiality and is not recommended for formal or elegant settings. In business, orange is seen as the least professional colour and can
convey superficiality and insincerity, so use it as an accent colour with another hue such as navy.
Wear yellow to help focus, to raise one’s spirit in a complicated or difficult day, or when you want to be recognised in a crowd. Yellow is associated with optimism and happiness and can awaken greater confidence and enthusiasm in those around us. Like orange, yellow will not create a serious look, so use only as an accent for business.
Too much yellow can also seem impulsive and volatile so it’s best to avoid wearing it for serious financial discussions.
Blue is the most universally liked colour, so it is a safe colour. Blue is ideal in serious, formal settings and in business, it is the safest colour to wear and indicates confidence and reliability.
Dark blue can denote someone predictable and conservative, and
should be avoided in environments where you wish to inspire creativity and design. The darker shades can also be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly, so mix with another hue to counteract.
Green is synonymous with tranquility and is strongly connected with nature. It's an emotionally positive colour, helping us to emit loving and nurturing qualities. It's a great colour to wear to help you and those around you feel calm and grounded.
The common phrase ‘green with envy’ means the colour can be associated with greed. It is the colour of money in the western world and should be avoided in situations to request money (bank loans/raising funds). The darker shades of green can also make you seem distant
Purple is a sophisticated colour, associated with diplomacy, luxury and royalty. It usually communicates the finest possible quality, however the wrong tone of tone of purple can appear cheap and nasty, faster than any other colour.
Wear purple in place of black for an elegant evening look. It is an
excellent colour for situations that require diplomacy as it exudes a quiet, modest form of dignity.
The colour of hope, pink inspires positive outcomes and is non threatening.
It is a good colour to relax tense relations and generate sympathy. It’s ideal for working with children and adolescents and perfect for an elegant afternoon tea. Combine pink with darker shades to give more sophistication and strength.
Avoid wearing too much of it, especially in lighter shades, for important negotiations as it can make us seem over-emotional.
Brown is a natural colour, very present in nature and closely associated with the earth. Brown conveys friendliness and an atmosphere of trust, but it can be considered dull, boring and unexciting and is one of the least preferred colours in the western world.
Wear the deeper, darker browns with a soft white or ivory for a stylish classy look, yet more casual than black with white or ivory. It is also ideal for a day in the country.
Finally, remember that you have to feel confident wearing the colour. That is when you can truly show up as the best version of you.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to know more about how you can leverage the power of personal style in your personal and professional life, book your complimentary 30 minute style chat with me.