Color Psychology and Your Image: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself
Color. Is it your missing image ingredient? It just might be. But how do you know what's right for you? When it comes to your image, it's less about fashion and the latest "IT" color and more about the meaning behind the color.
Each year Pantone, widely regarded as the leading authority on the "in" colors for the year, chooses a palette that helps dictate what we see in stores. What's in for 2018? Violet. Does this mean that it's time for you to run out and purchase a purple dress, tie or suit? Maybe, maybe not.
When it comes to your image, there's more to think about than if the color is "in" or not. Different colors carry different meanings in different situations. That's a mouthful, I know, but color psychology plays an important part in how people view, and react, to you. Which brings us to the ever-present topic of first impressions. What does that have to do with color? Everything! Color is one of the first things people notice, so why not use it to help you make a lasting and positive impact? Color is a great "communicator" and once you understand it's perceived message, both the positives and the negatives, you'll have another tool to help you develop a confident and authentic image.
How do you know if a color is right for you? Start by simply answering the following 3 questions:
1. What message are you trying to send to others? Do you want to be known as creative or meticulous, reliable or spontaneous? The list goes on. There are no wrong or right answers; it's simply a matter of how you want to be perceived and choosing a color that projects that message.
2. How can you incorporate the color into your style and still be appropriate for your industry? Keep in mind that your image is important to your success. Once you've determined if the color is an asset to you, be mindful of how and when you're going to wear it. Will it act as a focal point or an accessory? Again, think about the message you want to send and the audience in which you're targeting.
3. Does wearing the color make you feel confident? When all is said and done, it's important that the color makes you feel CONFIDENT. If that element is missing, simply say "no" to the color and move on to Plan B.
Perception Counts! Need an example? In honor of Pantone's Color of the Year, let's check out how purple is viewed and tips on when to wear and when to avoid:
Imaginative and Sensitive
-wear when you want to be perceived as someone who is confident in your individuality.
-wear when you have to suggest a new approach to an old problem
-wear when an occasion requires diplomacy.
-wear when you are in front of cameras, because next to navy it’s an absolute winner on TV/Screen.
Sexy and Immature
-avoid when interviewing for a team position, because can be perceived as too individualistic.
-avoid when projecting “security" at your job.
-avoid when you don’t want to be perceived as alluring or sexy.
Like it or not, others are making quick assessments about who you are based on your visual appearance. What you wear and how you wear it makes a difference. We often think it's just about style and fit, but color can act as the "swing vote" when making an impact. It pays to understand the how color is perceived and how to use it as your secret ingredient to open doors...professionally and personally.
Need a little help?
As the founder and owner of The Business of Image, Karyl Eckerle is an expert at helping others stand out by creating an authentic and confident first impression. As a certified Corporate & Personal Branding Consultant with over 15 years of experience in retail, sales and staffing, Karyl brings unique insight into the power of image and personal branding.