Color yourself effective

By Alan Vinson     

Color is important. Your choice of color in your clothing affects how you feel and how others feel about

Whether you are meeting with one of your employees or one of your top customers, you should be aware that what you wear and the colors you choose convey an unspoken message. In these challenging economic times, you should especially be mindful about what your clothing— much like your body language—communicates to clients.

Here are some tips on choosing color for your business attire:

• Navy. Navy is a power color. It connotes authority. When you wear navy, you are perceived as a “take charge” type of person. Use navy suits for opening/closing arguments, public speaking, important presentations, and when it is important for you to be perceived as an expert.

• Earth tones. Earth tones are your “build rapport” colors. These are colors that draw from a palette of browns, tans, grays, greens, oranges, whites, blues, and some reds. The colors, however, are muted and flat and emulate the natural colors found in nature—in the soil, moss, trees, and rocks.  

Wear earth tones to a staff meeting or team-building session or when picking a jury, delivering bad news, or meeting with clients and their families. In short, wear earth tones when you want to appear approachable. Keep in mind that people get the most compliments when they wear earth tones.

• Blue and gray. Blue and gray hues are your loyalty and dependability colors. They are great to wear when you are traveling and are part of the “do everything” color family. Blue and gray are always appropriate.

These colors also convey a good work ethic. Wear blues and grays when you will be meeting with your boss or even your boss’ boss or an important client.

• Black. Black is the most formal of colors. Use it in lieu of black tie or when you want to look cutting edge or fashionable. Like navy, black is also a power color. Wear black when you want to stack the deck in your favor. Think of black when you want to intimidate a competitor or outshine your competition.

• Black and white. Black and white, as well as gray, are confidence colors. Black and white combine to create a good suit for an average day that has nothing special going on. They’re also good colors that you can mix and look like you know how to dress.

• Charcoal. Charcoal creates a rock solid image. It suggests you are a pillar of the community and are trustworthy. Charcoal works well for professionals who work with finance, such as financial planners, bankers, CPAs, and sales professionals.

Whether you are meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, encouraging your staff, or giving a speech at a meeting, take a look in the mirror to make sure the colors you are wearing convey the right message.

Alan Vinson is owner of J.T. Vinson Co. (, clothiers for men and women. He can be reached at 904-332-8300.

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