The Power of Color in Business

THERE IS POWER IN YOUR CLOSET and it is in the color of your clothes. All people have physiological response to color. The following chart is to be used to dress appropriately for what you wane to achieve. Assuming your closer 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 project 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 and bankers.

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 an emotionally changed group of people. Pastel blue, soft yellows and light pinks will help you visually soothe 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 is in a heightened state.

So many women have closets with an overabundance of black clothes. We rend 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-Čto-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 (when 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.

To see the color chart, please download a pdf version of this article at:

Linda Thomas AICI, CIP, Corporate Image Advisor and author of My Closet, My Boutique: How to Organize Your Image, designs training for companies that wish to encourage their employees to present themselves as positive, professional and effective. For a list of programs and products, visit

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