A Trip Around the Color Wheel
Earlier in this chapter, you read a little bit about the role color plays in clothing. This section will get more specific and discuss how color affects the psyche and can turn you on—or off—someone in a split second. Don’t consider color as an aside, something you don’t really need to think about. Because color has such a powerful influence on human perception, many schools and businesses (not to mention homeowners) consult with color experts to choose wall colors that stimulate productivity, tranquility, leadership, creativity, passion—you name it, there’s a color to enhance it. But there’s no need to limit these hues to workstations and living rooms. You can literally wear your emotions (or at least the colors that represent certain emotions) on your sleeve.
Which colors are best for relaying your unspoken messages?
• Red: The color of power, energy, danger, force, passion, and love. Red increases the body’s basic functions (metabolism, respiration, blood pressure) and also encourages quick thinking (which is why many traffic signs are red).
• Orange: Indicates excitement, happiness, encouragement, determination, and creativity. Orange enhances cognitive abilities, as it increases oxygen to the brain.
• Yellow: Happiness, energy, intelligence. Yellow makes people feel at ease.
• Green: Associated with nature, harmony, and evolution. Green provides a sense of safety and protection.
• Blue: Signifies intellect, trust, and confidence. Blue promotes feelings of peace and tranquility.
• Purple: The symbol of luxury and extravagance. Purple is also associated with creativity and mystical living.
• White: Indicates purity and light. Makes people feel clean and safe.
• Black: Elegance, power, evil, death. Black is mysterious, unsafe, aggressive.
Take a look at your favorite outfits and consider which colors you’ve been working with. If people tend to think of you as overly aggressive, for example, retire your red tops and give blue or green shirts a whirl. It could be that the shades you’re wearing are exaggerating your nonverbal cues, making you seem hostile when you’re really just excitable. On the other hand, if your employees regularly ignore your orders, steer clear of orange and white clothing. Put your power on display by opting for black or red clothing instead.
Men and women are attracted to physical beauty, which can be enhanced, exaggerated, or negatively influenced by clothing. When a relationship doesn’t work out, you may be left wondering how you could have missed all the signs that your ex is the most dishonest person on the face of the earth. Maybe it was because he looked so good.
If you learn one thing from this chapter, let it be that judging someone’s character by their clothing alone doesn’t always work. Learn to look beyond the wrapper and take the time to evaluate nonverbal gestures. You may not find the love of your life or a new best friend right away, but by giving everyone a fair shot, regardless of how they’re dressed, you’ll become much more tolerant of people in general and greatly improve your chances of bringing new and interesting men and women into your life.