Alex Wilson

Still thinking of "dress for success" as just a catchy mantra? A new Yale University study proves the phrase true; science shows that dressing well can affect the way your co-workers see you, how confident you're feeling and how you're able to analyze the big picture.

The study had participants partake in mock negotiations. Those who dressed in suits earned an average profit of $2.1 million. Those who dressed in sweatpants? Only $680,000.

While that's no small number, it adds another level of awareness to professional attire. There are already too many do’s and don’ts to consider, and recently — the color of your clothing has become surprisingly important.

Colors play a large part in how we perceive people, products and brands, so it stands to reason that the colors we wear affect our professional identities as well. “The colors you wear in a professional setting are about so much more than mere fashion or style,” Sheila Dicks, founder of the Fashion Expert Network, told AOL. “Colors send subconscious messages and can affect your mood, as well as the mood of the workers around you.”

Though it won’t completely redefine your professional identity, taking advantage of color psychology is an easy way to make sure you’re presenting yourself the way you want to be seen. Here’s what you need to know about each color in your closet:


Photo via Instagram/@passionheavenly

When in doubt, wear blue. Blue inspires trust and confidence and also suggests that you’re a team player.  According to a recent CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers and human resource professionals, blue is one of the best colors to wear to an interview, so don’t hesitate to stock up on different shades.


Photo via Instagram/@theambitiousbrune

The other “best color” to wear to an interview, wearing black communicates leadership, sophistication and exclusivity — but only when worn neatly. Wearing black all the time can imply laziness instead of sophistication.

Branding expert Karen Haller writes that black is a color that is taken seriously and can add “substance and gravitas” where it is needed. Industry leaders — both people and brands — use black to assert their leadership.


Photo via Instagram/@savvychiczone

Trying to convince your boss you need a raise? Dress in red. Red is the best color to wear when you’re trying to impress someone, Kenny Frimpong, brand marketing & development manager at Eredi Pisano, told Business Insider. Frimpong says wearing red makes you appear “focused, committed and trustworthy,” so much so that he recommends all his clients wear the color.  


Photo via Instagram/@kubicka_monika_Conservative colors, like gray, are the safest bet to wear when you’re meeting somebody for the first time. Though a certain franchise might make you think otherwise, wearing shades of gray makes you seem logical and analytical. Gray also indicates independence, which can help you appear more confident at work.


Photo via Instagram/@garcia_1301

Wearing an all-white outfit (and keeping it that way) shows others that you’re detail-oriented and meticulous. It’s an especially great color to wear if you work with a team that wears bright colors and loud prints; you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.

Purple and Green

Photo via Instagram/@hijabihome

While these colors don’t elicit the best responses in a formal interview setting, they help the wearer feel confident and portray that confidence in a non-aggressive way. It’s a softer way of attracting attention, making it a good color in a creative business setting.


Photo via Instagram/@the_streetstyle_hub

Sorry, orange fans! Orange was ranked as the worst color to wear to a job interview. While wearing orange says you’re fun and friendly, it doesn’t elicit feelings of trust or commitment — something every good manager should inspire. Instead of wearing orange in the office, wear it for a networking event, post-work happy hour or another event where you want to appear approachable.