7 unexpected things your outfit colour says about you

Published: January 25, 2016


Next time you are glaring at your closet, trying to decide the day’s outfit, put the morning chai down and reflect carefully on the elements of your upcoming day. What will you do? Who will you meet? How’s the mood? Your outfit hue is vital, not only to communicate your personality but also in terms of your emotional health and the moods of those around you. As compiled from everydayhealth.com, Women’s Health and Reader’s Digest magazines, here’s why purple might be a put off and blue could land you your next big job.


Sitting an interview to land that job you’ve had your eyes on? Navy blue is considered one of the best colours to don on an interview. According to a survey of 2,099 hiring managers, interviewees wearing blue were considered team players. Blue-ish colour tones symbolise, loyalty, confidence, and control. “Blue induces tranquility and relaxation,” says colour consultant, Mary Ellen Lapp, author of The Colour of Success. It’s no surprise that people feel the most comfortable in blue clothing, she adds. Research at the University of British Columbia found that because people associate blue with candidness and peace, they feel safer exploring their ideas when they’re surrounded by the comforting tint.


Get one thing straight: there’s no reason to reserve this shade for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. In a study, participants were shown photos of men and women wearing various colours and asked how much they’d spend on a dinner with the people in the pictures. Turns out, they’d drop the most cash on the individuals sporting red. If you want to get noticed and still appear casual, a red tee, alone, can do the trick. “Red has connotations of vivaciousness and someone in charge,” explains David Zyla, Emmy-Award-winning stylist and author of The Colour of Style. Multiple studies on red have proven that it has powerful effects on behaviour as well. The fiery shade can affect the attention span of onlookers and can make the red-adorned person, seem more attractive.

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Are you not feeling too energetic? Have to attend a mind-numbing conference that is making you want to fly under the radar? Glide into some grey, then. Experts suggest that the colour is super subtle without being overly conservative or in-your-face. It exudes elegance alongside unassertiveness, which means you can retain an office-friendly ambiance without having to choose black. “Grey is a neutral colour that doesn’t have a particularly strong effect on mood, except subconsciously,” explains Lapp. Grey is the apt choice for an outfit if you want to project a lenient, sophisticated air. Just be cautious of grey’s suppressive qualities as well, Lapp warns. “If you wear grey all the time, you may not be the happiest person after a while,” she adds.


There’s a high chance that if you’re wearing purple, people will assume you’re an attention-seeker. Purple, being the colour of royalty, is hard not to notice. Also, because shades of lavender and violet rarely appear in nature, the colour can come off as artificial. Historically, this exact trait made it the ultimate colour of royalty and power. Lapp suggests that purple tones could induce discomfort. Steer clear of the shade if your goal is to put someone at ease, such as meeting a new friend or job interview. If you’re a purple-fanatic, try to stick to plum shades to denote a more congenial look.

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Black indicates control, influence and authority. The dark hue is multipurpose: when worn at a formal dinner, it is graceful and fashionable and when worn in the boardroom, it shows you’re the boss. Of course, black is also associated with grief and sadness. The colour could even be linked to aggressiveness. One study of sports teams found that players wearing black jerseys get the most penalties. It’s unknown whether that’s because wearing the colour makes a player more aggressive or an unconscious bias against black, on part of match officials. But, in retrospect, people will view you as someone sophisticated and mature. The bottom-line is that black gives an air of mystery that might not be such a bad thing!


This particular hue pacifies the senses on a primitive level. Natural shades of green are calming and reassuring. Research suggests that the shade denotes initiative and creativity. Green is also the colour of money and wealth. A recent study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that green can also stimulate a creative mood. When researchers exposed participants to the colour green briefly before they engaged in a creative task, their creative performance was enhanced. Participants of a study were given two minutes to come up with as many uses for a tin can as they could. Before they began, half the group was shown a white rectangle, and the other half a green one. Participants in the green group came up with the more interesting, imaginative answers. Next time you need to inspire your team, go for a bold green print.


Classic crisp white is the colour of simplicity, transparency, incorruptibility, reverence, humility and security. In order to keep an all-white ensemble crunchy and spotless, the wearer must be at the top of his or her game. If you’re the type of person who falls into this category, choose this hue for a job interview in a creative field or to dinner with your in-laws. It sure would leave a lasting impression. There’s no better way to show them you’re sane, mature and have got it all under control (at least your clothing, anyway!)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th,  2016.

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