Professional Development

Bye-Bye Black – Hello Color! Capitalize on Standing Out in a Crowd

As soon as I landed my first job, I went out and bought the cutest new suit! It was a shiny gray suit with pink pinstripes, and I bought a bright pink shirt and matching pink heals to complement it. I couldn’t wait to wear it. The day finally came when I was asked to attend an important meeting. I proudly suited up, strutted into the room, and….BAM! I immediately became uncomfortably aware of the fact I was the ONLY person NOT wearing a black suit – women included! Flushed pink with embarrassment (a perfect match to my shirt and shoe color), I shrunk into the first chair I could find and hoped that no one would notice me…although I’m sure I was hard to miss. Has something like that ever happened to you?

My immediate reaction was to run to the department store and redo my entire work wardrobe with all black outfits! After all, I wanted to be taken seriously as a professional, and how could I do that in hot pink clothes? After some serious thinking, I decided buying black outfits to feel like I fit in was a ridiculous idea. Instead, I thought about how I could use my colorful wardrobe to my advantage. After several years of wearing colorful attire, here are just a few things I’ve learned:

#1 – Colors commanded attention – Eyes are naturally drawn towards bright colors. When you’re wearing a striking color amidst a sea of black and gray, you will automatically be noticed. Immediately, you have everyone’s attention. Use this attention to your advantage! Make new connections. Build relationships. Promote your business.

#2 – Colors promote femininity – Femininity is a powerful tool! Like it or not, men like working with women who have managed to retain their feminine qualities while also displaying strength. Likewise, women enjoy working with women they can relate to. Strength without femininity can actually compromise your ability to earn respect with your counterparts. Having a colorful wardrobe with pinks, reds, purples, polka-dots, floral prints, etc., helps evoke a sense of femininity and makes you appear more approachable. Try it, especially if your strong personality tends to be intimidating.

#3 – Colors create reaction – Did you know, the color you wear actually creates a psychological reaction in others? Know your colors and the reaction they create! This can help you land that job, succeed in negotiations, or secure that sale. Purple can make you appear approachable. Red can evoke power. Emerald green creates a sense of strength. Consider dressing in color as a strategy for success!

Here are some commanding color ideas for you to try!

Business Casual - Purple Business Casual - Red Business Casual - Green

3 thoughts on “Bye-Bye Black – Hello Color! Capitalize on Standing Out in a Crowd

  1. This is so true. We often feel if we go against the cultural norm then we will either be shunned or not taken seriously. This includes hairstyles as well. However, we are individuals and must be willing to stand as such. No one will take you seriously if you are a phony or an imitator. It will not be natural and others will notice you but for the for the wrong reasons.

    • It can be such an embarrassing experience, right? It’s sad that our natural instinct is to conform. We should be proud to be unique and happy to strut our individuality. Easier said than done! 🙂 thanks for commenting!

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