Wearing color with intention

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh

Color is a powerful way to enhance your image with emotional appeal. Through color you can express energy, enthusiasm, loyalty, drive, compassion and passion. If you’re afraid of color you can start with subtle uses of color like in a statement piece of jewelry, scarf or tie. Color is about the emotional qualities it contains and how best to communicate your intention. Color invites others to connect with you and allows you to share part of yourself.

As an image consultant I provide custom color consultations with my clients to help them not only where the right colors for them, but to share how to use and wear color with intention. Color can make you more approachable or relatable or command authority and respect; it can even communicate lightheartedness. Be thoughtful about the color you wear to meetings, interviews, networking, or when presenting. The colors you wear could easily affect your mind, body and soul, as well as the emotions and perceptions of those around you!

How do you want to use color to appropriately convey your brand and image? Consider the following colors and their meaning:

Navy Wear this color and exude confidence, power, and authority. It encourages wisdom and self-reliance. When you want to be taken seriously and be recognized for your knowledge, navy is a good choice. Add navy to your outfit with a brooch, watchband, jacket or patent leather pumps.

White The emotional tone of white is sincere, fresh and hopeful. Wear it when you want others to know they can rely on you. A crisp white shirt is an obvious choice, but also consider wearing it in sweaters or a white wool skirt.

Black This color portrays elegance, sophistication, high authority and formality. It can also be mysterious and sensual. Wear it when you want to command authority or look like you have it together. A black suit will quiet a room and focus attention on what you have to say. Belts, briefcase or a handbag will also do the trick.

Brown Wear this color when you want to send the message that you are stable, genuine and persevering. Wear this color and people around you know they can count on you to meet a deadline, or get your part of the project completed successfully. Wear brown in your accessory items in tie, wood bangles, gloves and scarves.

Purple This color carries with it the traits of luxury, creativity and loyalty. It can also be spiritual and magical. Wear it to enhance your powers of intuition, or when you want to bring out your creative nature. Purple shirt, tie or pocket square will stand out, as well as in a trench coat or pencil skirt.

Red This color exudes energy, determination, excitement, and passion. Use it as your power tool and be ready to deliver what’s expected of you, and then some. Wear a red dress or tie and people will be impressed by your confidence. Gentleman can also wear a white shirt with red stitching.

Green This color is nurturing and rejuvenating. It’s peaceful to be around, friendly and kind. Use it to chase away personal self-doubt and help you re-boot that project you lost faith in. Wear it when you could use some sustaining energy. It’ll encourage you and others at the same time. It’s a great color for a sweater vest or knit dress.

Blue This color conjures up stability, professionalism, trust and reliability. It’s long been considered a color that conveys good communication and honesty. When you need to be the voice of reason, or the mediator in a tense situation, wear blue. It’s soothing and calming. Wear it in a silk blouse, scarf or suit.

Yellow This color is comforting, lively, optimistic and attention grabbing. If you want people around you to feel happy and energetic, wear yellow. Wear it in a pretty twin cardigan set or as the predominate color in your tie or shirt.

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh, a certified image professional and owner of Camas-based Evolve Image Consulting, is the expert behind the Vancouver Business Journal’s new advice column: Dress Code. These columns will specialize in strategies for developing a positive and professional self-image. Walsh can be reached at carol@evolvingyourimage.com.