Instead of, ‘What should I wear?’ you might want to ask, ‘What colors should I wear?’ We’ve come a long way from figuring out which season we are á la Carol Jackson’s ’80s bestseller Color Me Beautiful. Beyond choosing clothes that flatter your complexion, it also important to pay attention to how the colors you wear affect not only your mood, but also how others perceive you. There’s real, documented science behind color psychology. Author of Mind What You Wear, The Psychology of Fashion, Professor Karen Pine observes, “Colours that are found in nature (sky blue, leaf green, sunshine yellow) link us to the natural world, protecting us from negative emotions and giving that extra burst of energy.”
If you have a favorite color, it probably dominates your wardrobe — and yes, black and white both count when it comes to fashion — so it makes sense that you feel confident and comfortable in this hue. On the other hand, while bold, vivid colors signify power, if your style is more low-key neutrals then wearing brights may actually make you feel self-conscious and like you’re dressing up in a costume. It doesn’t matter how much strength a color conveys to others if you aren’t feeling it so, unless you’re in an adventurous mood, stick to what you know.
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You may ask, ‘What colors should I wear when I want to feel sexy and work my feminine wiles?’ This one’s a no-brainer — red of course. Numerous studies have shown that men find women particularly alluring in red. In fact, just last month new research came out reporting that our hormones even play a role in how we dress and women are more likely to wear red on their most fertile days each month. Who would have guessed?
You may also wonder, ‘What color should I wear to a job interview or a big presentation?’ A 2013 CareerBuilder study came up with the answers by polling hiring managers and HR professionals. Go for blue if you want to come across as a reliable team player. Black or red convey leadership and grey and white are associated with logic and organization. If you’re interviewing for a creative position you can get more colorful by incorporating greens or purples into the mix. Avoid brown, which can come across as wishy-washy, and orange which is almost universally considered unprofessional. Perhaps it’s because of the Orange is the New Black prison garb feel?
If you simply want your ensemble to reflect or inspire your mood for the day here is a breakdown of the rest of the spectrum.
• Bright pink is energetic and happy. Pale pink is romantic and soothing.
• White projects clarity, purity and freshness.
• Orange is fun and social. However it can also make you hungry, so avoid it if you’re dieting!
• Green expresses harmony and balance.
• Blue is also a calming, intuitive color.
• Yellow is cheerful and stimulates your brain.