What a difference colour can make!
What is the colour of your outfit saying about you?
Did you know that for example, by wearing green, others will see you as friendly and trustworthy? Or by wearing red you may come across as energetic and passionate?
The colours we choose to wear play an important part in creating that all important first impression; and as we usually have less than seven seconds to make it a positive one then it's essential to get colour right.
If you're a business owner, then it's even more important to get this right - after all, you're the face of your business. You might even have a client facing role, which means you're out all day creating first impressions and representing yourself and your business….are you sure you've got the image right?
Colour is just one part of the mix, but it's important as it's easy to get right and easy to get wrong. Every colour delivers a salient message to the person you meet, so simply by choosing a blue suit over a grey one will give a different message to people about who you are.
This isn't just true for colours we wear, in any situation where you are communicating with clients, colour will play a significant part in their perception of your business - from your logo, website, and premises to staff uniforms and letterheads.
Here are some key messages that different colours could convey about the wearer:
White: White is the colour of purity. It can represent 'expensive' and is an approachable colour. When combined with a darker colour, which can come across as efficient, powerful and authoritative.
Black: Black can symbolise professionalism, assertiveness and sophistication. It can be seen as authoritative, but sometimes may make the wearer seem remote.
Red: Red is a dynamic colour - if worn in a block it can come across as confident, energetic, passionate, successful and assertive. In some situations, too much red can been seen as aggressive so use with caution.
Blue: A navy in particular is a colour we associate with the wearer being professional, trustworthy, intelligent and efficient. We may think the wearer to be conservative but credible. This is a great colour for professional services to wear, such as financial advisers, solicitors etc.
Green: Green is the colour of nature and is the one colour that the eye needs to make no adjustment in order to see, so green is therefore a very calming, soothing colour. Wearing green makes the wearer approachable and trustworthy. They are seen as empathetic and convey a sense of harmony and balance.
Brown: Those who choose brown would be seen as supportive and empathetic, reliable and respected, and will come across as relaxed and laid back - be careful though that in some situations this laid back relaxed colour doesn't come across as lazy!
Grey: Think of what grey means to you - the wearer of grey will be conveying a message of neutrality and respectability. It is seen as a professional colour, reliable, consistent and efficient.
Pink: Pink is a feminine colour denoting youth & innovation. It is an approachable colour making the wearer come across as warm and empathetic.
Purple: Purple is a creative colour - great if you run a design or marketing agency. It denotes innovation and is a confident, successful colour for the wearer. It can represent authenticity and quality - but shouldn't be used in any business where you brand values are all about 'nature' or 'natural' elements.
Yellow: Yellow is a colour that is seen as youthful, creative and confident. It has an optimistic, friendly quality that will come across by the wearer.
Orange: Orange is a stimulating colour that can call people to action. It denotes confidence, passion, youthfulness and energy.
So what key messages do you want to get across about yourself when you are meeting new people? Can you think of three key elements you would like others to think when they meet you for the first time? For example, if you want to come across as approachable, trustworthy and relaxed then green would be a good colour for you to wear.
Knowing you'd like to wear a green is great, but the shade of green that best suits me may well be completely different from the shade that suits you. If you've ever spent time in the paint aisle of your local DIY shop you'll know that there are thousands of different greens to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you, which one will represent you in your best possible light?
Well, this is where a colour analysis can help you. Every colour has a set of characteristics that make the colour the precise shade and tone that it is. Imagine 3 sets of sliding scales, and at each end of the scale is a colour characteristic, so the scales would be:
Light to Deep
Bright to Muted
Warm to Cool.
Every colour will sit at a point on each of the above scales. And guess what? We are a colour too! Our own skin colour and tone, eye colour and hair colour combines to give use an overall natural colouring that also has a point on the colour characteristics scales. And here's the key: colours that are in line with our own natural colour tones will always work best for us.
So, if we want to wear a green and our natural personal colouring is warm, muted and deep, we would suit a green that is also warm, muted and deep - something like a dark olive green would be ideal in this scenario.
If we get it wrong and wear a tone or shade that doesn't mirror our own the colour can drain us, make us look ill, tired, larger, un-coordinated, dominate us and confuse the messages we are trying to get across to others.
If we get it right and wear a tone or shade that does mirror our own the colour we wear can make us look healthier, more radiant, slimmer, more coordinated, focus on our eyes, and give clear messages about who we are so we come across as a person of integrity.
So, it surely makes sense to know which natural tones we have so that we know which colours to wear? The best way to do this is to see an image consultant. For the price of around £100, you can find out which colour tones you are and therefore which palette of colours will best suit you. As well as making your key messages clearer and more congruent, knowing your colours has other benefits:
1. Makes shopping easier (focus in on key colours)
2. You can make more outfits from less clothing meaning your wardrobe is smaller and more coordinated
3. Save money by not making expensive mistakes (some estimates over a woman's lifetime put the saving at as much as £40,000!)
4. Gives you a huge burst of confidence
5. Helps to get your message across about who your are more clearly
If you're interested in finding out more about what a colour analysis involves, or booking an appointment with me, please drop me a line here (firstname.lastname@example.org). I work from Newbury in Berkshire UK. If you want to find an image consultant nearer to you, and you are UK based, try searching at www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk.