The power of colours over our moods are now well known, with research showing that different colours can affect us physically, changing our heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. This science has been applied to interior design; hospitals are often painted blue and green which denote peace and calmness, and advertiser’s use this science when creating adverts and brands.
Taking it a step further, the science of colour has now been applied to our own personal brands, with scientists claiming that what we wear does indeed matter, as different colours convey different messages. Research shows that we make our first impressions about someone in less than a tenth of a second. Colours play a primary role in this impression, including whether we are viewed as trustworthy.
Business Insider used colour theory to compile a list of the best and worst colours to wear to work, listing the best colours for the office as:
- Green – Associated with safety, harmony and money.
- Blue – Symbolic of truth and wisdom. Also known for its calming effect making you seem cool, calm and collected.
- Brown – Representative of stability, however often seen as a masculine colour. This is a good colour for women to wear to work to enhance their credibility.
- Black– Elegant, thinning and conveys seriousness and professionalism.
Whilst the worst colours were:
- Yellow – Stimulates joy which can be over energizing for the office.
- Grey – Implies the wearer is passive and bland.
- Red – Connotations with aggression and passion
What is striking from this research is that the colours considered to be calming, stable and serious are often considered traditionally male colours, whilst traditionally female colours have connotations of instability, passion and expressive emotions.
Women in the office are often accused of being overly emotional and expressive whilst men are often seen as calm and collected helping to propel them into leadership positions. Colour theory may play a large part in this, and is perhaps the spark behind a growing market for corporate stylists. Employees often go to get “their colours done” as they become more senior, to aid in projecting the right image to both their staff and customers, and even to help them look younger.