Image consultants such as me are always expected to advise people not to wear black. It is true that black is not ideal for most Caucasian skin, hair and eye colourings. However, it’s more than that, it’s about getting people to wear more interesting colour tones i.e. not just the neutrals – black, grey, navy, white etc. This can seem challenging in a professional environment, particularly a formal one. In this article, I want to help you know how to wear colour to work.
Why wear ‘other’ colours?
- Non neutral colours such as reds, greens and blues help to lift our facial features. Ultimately, especially in professional life we want clients, colleagues and associates to be drawn to our face – our communication centre. Interesting colours, if the right tones help to achieve that
- They differentiate us, in the UK there is a great fondness for wearing all neutral colours so by integrating more interesting colours into your outfit it helps to give you stand out, just make sure it’s appropriate!
- It makes us feel better – colour can boost our mood, especially helpful in the dark days of Winter
- Gives us a great choice of clothing and accessory options – a more exciting wardrobe
- You can build a more effective wardrobe with items that mix and match with one another to create a greater number of outfits but with fewer items
Women often become fearful of what wearing more colour means; they think they suddenly have to be completely decked out in bright colours. However, it’s important, especially for work, to still wear some neutral colours.
So assuming we want to wear more colour but don’t want it to be immediately obvious and are not sure where to start, here are some tips for how to wear colour to work, introducing it slowly but surely:
- An accessory in a colour is a great way to start – a scarf (also a great way to keep warm in the office in Winter) or jewellery
- Always try and make the outfit work together so if there’s a colour in an accessory try and introduce it somewhere else too so it doesn’t look accidental. Shoes or another accessory such as earrings are a good place to start. If you work in a more relaxed environment, coloured opaque tights can be another way to introduce colour to tone with something near your face. You want to achieve a well put together look.
- One item of clothing that isn’t a neutral, such as a top.
- The maximum number of colours we should wear at anyone time is 3, make sure that 2 of these are neutrals in more formal working environments
- If you need to be dressed formally in the day but have a less formal evening arrangement, swapping your jacket for a pashmina or cardigan in a more interesting colour is a great way to introduce colour
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