You’re preparing for a job interview, date or first day at a new school. You go to your closet and contemplate what to wear. You want to make a good impression, so you choose something stylish and probably in your one of your favorite colors. After all, if you wear the most recent trend or your favorite color, how could you go wrong? Unfortunately the wrong color choice can make or break you in some instances.

The clothes we wear project a non-verbal message at a subconscious level to those around us, especially when it comes to color. Richard Nixon learned this the hard way in his first televised debate with John F. Kennedy. His light gray suit not only blended in with the background, but made his skin look gray as well leading viewers to believe he was ill. According to researcher James N. Druckman of the University of Minnesota, viewers thought Kennedy in his crisp dark suit projected an image of integrity. Apparel color choice impacted image in this case. Not everyone wants to be a politician, but most of us do want to portray a good image.

What image do you want to portray?

When preparing for a job interview, date, or first day at a new school, do you want an image of power, or do you want to appear approachable? Or do you want to appear trustworthy and credible? Cultivate the image you want by putting more emphasis on the right color for the situation and less emphasis on style choice.

I learned the importance of color early on in my career after attending a professional image seminar by professional coach Ferris Top of Top Communications in Portland, Oregon, as well as reading various articles and books over the years.  The information I’m sharing below with you has served me well both in a professional and social capacity.


Going on a date? Red is your color. We have a primal instinct to be attracted to red, which why red is a great date color.

In the business world, red portrays dominance and can work for or against you. It can evoke anger and hostility in some because of its dominant nature, but it can also say you’re creative and a go-getter. Politicians wear red ties for these very reasons.

Depending on the position you’re applying for, red is generally a color to avoid wearing to a job interview just because of its dominance. However, wearing red could also work for you in the right circumstances.

Paula Usrey, Communication Studies associate professor and department chair of Social Sciences, Language and Communication Studies, admits that she deliberately wore red to a job interview so she would look like an outgoing person even though she is not. She got the job.


Associated with romance and happiness, pink is a perfect color to add to an outfit if you want others to view you as approachable and empathetic.

Pink is also a calming color.


Feeling drained? Wear orange! The color orange is not only energizing, but stimulates the brain as well. It’s a great color for workout clothes.   For students it can boost your mood and help increase your focus, especially during finals week when you are feeling stressed and rundown.


Like the sun, yellow is associated with warmth and happiness. Feeling a little down? Wear something yellow to boost not only your mood but also the mood of those around you too.


Fortunately, wearing green colored clothing is not strictly for St. Patrick’s Day.

Green represents nature and money, is easiest to look at and is an anxiety reducer.

No wonder being outdoors surrounded by green grass and trees is relaxing!

You don’t have to wear all green to reap its benefits. You can add elements of green through accessories.


Blue is a versatile color because of its many hues. You can wear it anywhere and in any given situation. Feeling nervous about a presentation you have to give in class or a job interview? Wear blue! Blue is a calming color and can make you feel wise.

Navy blue is considered a power color and portrays the image of credibility, loyalty and authority. It is a good job interview color for any type of job position you’re applying for and also a good color to wear when trying to persuade someone. It’s a great choice for a job interview.

Getting ready for a date or the first day of a new school? Try a lighter shade of blue. Like navy blue, you will still send out that loyal and credible vibe, but you will also be more approachable.


Black is the ultimate power color, closely associated with positions of authority. If you want to command attention, dress formally or look like you mean business, black is your color. Black clothing can also help boost your self-confidence and give the appearance of someone who has it all together – even if you don’t.

Wearing black, however, does have its drawbacks. It can give the appearance of being less approachable, which is not always ideal. Black is also associated with death and evil.

To offset the strong feelings black can invoke on those around you, you can soften it by adding an empathic color through accessories or other articles of clothing. Empathetic colors are lighter hued colors like pastels.


Gray is a passive color, especially in its lighter hues. Want to just blend in and not be noticed? Gray is your color. Gray is also versatile in that it can be paired easily with other colors without clashing. Add darker power colors to command more attention, or pair with lighter colors for interest and contrast.


White – it’s not just for brides. White is associated with wealth, purity and efficiency. Like the color blue, it also has a calming effect. It pairs well with other colors and can add an element of crispness to an outfit. Articles of white, whether clothing or accessories, can also add an element of formality to an outfit, yet also work well with casual outfits.

Color. It plays an important part in our lives, especially on a subconscious level. It can keep people at a distance or bring them closer. Certain colors can boost your mood, and, according to researchers Keith W. Jacobs and Frank E. Hustmyer Jr., certain colors can also help lower heart and respiration rate. Think about it. Who would you find more approachable? Batman in his all- black ensemble or Spiderman in his red and blue ensemble?

This list of colors and their meanings certainly isn’t comprehensive. So much more could be said, but it’s a good starting point the next time you’re standing in front of your closet vacillating back and forth trying to decide what to wear to your job interview, date or on that first day at a new school and want to make a first great impression.