We've all been told to "dress for success" or to "dress for the job you want." However, the clothes you wear to work may influence people more than you thought. We aren't talking about a Hawaiian T- shirt vs. a suite, but solely the colors you wear. Studies show that people correlate different colors with different emotions, and descriptive words. We aren't saying there is a "wrong" color to wear, but simply that different colors can effect how people perceive you. Especially within your work place.

Perhaps you have a new client in which you hope to score a big sale with, or maybe you're going to be presenting in-front of a large group. No matter what your career presents you with, what you wear could benefit you by subconsciously influencing others.

The psychology of color within your workplace goes deeper than just the clothes you wear. It can apply to the color of your office, and even differs depending on the type of socio-economic class you work with, cultures you work with, and even the climate you work in. However in this post we will simply cover the basics. 

Class Preferences


Take in to consideration who your target market/client is when dressing, and what effect you want to have on them.

  1. Blue collar populations tend to prefer warm/bright primary and secondary colors.
  2. White collar populations prefer more complex colors like shades/ tints of the primary and secondary colors. 

Tip: When business is more serious, darker colors are usually worn. Dark grey, dark blue, dark green, dark red, and black etc.


blue paint.jpg

Color Guide

  • Blue Based Colors: These colors tend to be more attractive to women. Create a calm and cool feeling.

  • Yellow Based Colors: More attractive to men. Stimulates energy, and attention.

  • Light Colors: Help you appear more approachable and friendly. 

  • Red: Red can give positive and negative impressions. If you want to be noticed or stand out, this is definitely the color to choose. Say you are presenting in front of a large group and want all eyes on you, red would be a great option. Red shows that you are assertive, but also can potentially be seen as threatening to some people. 
    Blue Green: Translates to you having high self esteem and confidence, this applies mostly to women who wear these colors.
    Green: Shows that you are dependable. 
    Dark Blue/Dark Grey: These colors state professional authority. If you recently received a promotion, and want others to take you seriously, dark colors can help.


  • White: Efficiency, simplicity, innocence, purity, perfection.

  • Red: Energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as we ll as passion, desire, and love.
    Black- Denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color. If excessively worn it can cause you to appear unfriendly.

  • Yellow: Joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. However, too much yellow can be found disturbing. Studies show babies even cry more in yellow rooms. Be sure to not overdress with too much yellow.

  • Green: Trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth. Dark Green is often associated with money.

  • Orange: Enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success.
    encouragement, and stimulation. Great accent color. Reflects the happiness of yellow, and the energy of red.

  • Blue: Calmness, serenity, focus, wisdom, loyalty.

  • Brown: Reliability, stability, friendship, natural. Although some cultures perceive brown as a color of mourning. 

In conclusion, although colors have an interesting effect on the mind, and can help create a feeling, emotion or attitude that you are aiming for, what is key is confidence. Ultimately, what you wear needs to be something you feel confident and comfortable in. Find what works for you, and see if the psychology of color can actually help you within your career.


Sources Cited

Kemmis, J. S. (2009). Color Psychology Will Empower Your Life. Retrieved September, 2017, from
Color Psychology: The Psychological Effects of Colors. (2012, December 24). Retrieved September, 2017, from