7 Surprising Things Your Outfit Color Says About You

Here’s why yellow might be off-putting and blue could land you the job.

Blue means business


You really can’t go wrong with wearing blue. Back in 2013, research from CareerBuilder found that blue was the color the highest number of hiring managers thought was the best color to wear for an interview. Where do the positive associations with blue come from? Well, it all has to do with color psychology. Sally Augustin, PhD, Principal at Design With Science and Fellow of the American Psychological Association, told that blue is “linked to impressions of trustworthiness and competence.” “It is also the color that people are most likely to name as their preferred color, worldwide,” Dr. Augustin added. Of course, there’s more to getting a job than what color you wear, as these tips from HR departments demonstrate.

Red leads to romance


Red is an interesting color in terms of color psychology. It’s bold, eye-catching, and is definitely flattering on many people. Shopping for the Real You author Andrea Pflaumer even says that “many people believe that red is a power color.” So it sounds so far, so good for a professional clothing choice…but there are other things to consider. There’s a reason red is so associated with Valentine’s Day. Pflaumer calls the color “arousing,” and Augustin notes its associations with “danger and romance, which are probably not good associations in a job search context.” Essentially, red will definitely make you stand out, but perhaps not in the way you want. If you’ve got a date or are heading out on the town hoping to meet someone, red is a great choice. But you might want to avoid it for a job interview.

Gray and black help you blend in

iStock/Izabela Habur

Feel like flying under the radar? Slip into some gray. The color is subtle without being overly conservative, and elegant yet unassuming. The same goes for black, which makes an interesting choice. On the one hand, black does convey authority and sophistication, but on the other, it can also be considered a “safe” color, especially if you wear an entirely black outfit. Los Angeles interior designer John Linden has noticed a mindset that “you can’t go wrong with black,” since it does look chic and sophisticated, but that can backfire. “All-black outfits indicate fear to step out of [your] comfort zone,” he told Therefore, if you’re in a situation where you’re inherently going to stand out anyway, like a solo presentation, black might be a good choice to counterbalance that and convey a steady authority. But if you’re trying to stand out among others, consider a bolder color. Beyond specific colors, find out what you shouldn’t be wearing to a job interview.

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