I received a call from a client last week asking for guidance in choosing the best color for shirt and tie for an important interview. Since he works in the tech arena, the basic dress for work is jeans and a polo shirt. However, even this casual environment expects candidates to up their game for an interview. Since this is a question I frequently am asked, I thought I would share a few guidelines to help you choose your best look.
Black is the most frequently chosen basic color. It is strong and powerful-the ideal color to convey an image of power–a great choice for a CEO leading an important meeting but not so good for an interview. Black is a complex color that sends different messages. We associate black with grief signaling withdrawal but that can also apply if one is under pressure to finish big project and simply doesn’t have the energy to wear colors. Black is a good basic if you have very dark hair and/or dark skin but you will appear more approachable using a colored blouse or shirt. Notice the models pictured above. The burgundy blouse keeps a business look but brings lightness and softness toward her face. The man has a more relaxed appearance with light slacks and blue shirt. Blue is an excellent shirt color, flattering to most people regardless of whether they are cool or warm toned.
Gray is an excellent color for business. The lighter the shade, the more casual it appears while a charcoal gray which has black added, becomes more powerful and formal. Gray can be accented by most colors. Since it is a combination of black and white, it projects compromise, especially in the lighter shades. It is a wonderful choice to wear into a situation of conflict. You appear to be ready to negotiate.
Brown has an earthy vibe and is a good choice for people with warm toned coloring. The addition of black to the brown fabrics makes it more formal business.
Navy blue is my all-time favorite as a wardrobe base color. Blue is the most universally liked color. It has a psychological impact of success and spirituality. We “shoot for the moon” and “reach for the stars” and God is in the heavens. Navy is formed from blue and black together, giving it the positive attributes just mentioned while adding the power of black. Thus, navy is a strong business image yet is approachable. Most all colors complement navy. Whether, pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, light teal or lilac or raspberry, you will be able to wear many of your best colors with navy.
Oh, the client who needed some help in his interviewing attire. He had two job offers, one being the job he really wanted!
Style With Aplomb