Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

Communicate in Color!

Ralph Lauren Men's Spring 2009


I live in the northeast, and right now all I can see is white. Yes it should be a white Christmas, this year. That got me thinking about color! White has always been a representation of peace, yellow as friendship, and red for love. Growing up my father always talked about the “power tie”, and if you didn’t know the color of a power tie, it’s red. Did you know that the color of your suit and tie, dress, or other articles of clothing say something to all of your co-workers? Well they do. And it can be fun to communicate with color at the office or in the boardroom.

Red is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility. Red is used to indicate courage.

Great, so you know what red says about you, now check out what all the other colors say. I did most of my research on the meaning of each color at;

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. Orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. It is highly accepted among young people. Orange is symbolic of strength and endurance.

Yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is seen before other colors when placed against black. Yellow indicates honor and loyalty.
Men usually perceive yellow as a very lighthearted.  Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety.

Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Green indicates growth and hope.

Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness. Blue is a masculine color; according to studies, it is highly accepted among males. Dark blue is associated with depth, expertise, and stability; it is a preferred color for corporate America.

Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.

White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning. In heraldry, white depicts faith and purity.

Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown. Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color. A black suit or dress can make you look thinner. Black contrasts well with bright colors.

No matter what kind of business your in, you can establish credibility, create a unique look all your own, and differentiate yourself from others by incorporating color in your wardrobe.

As a young professional you may be concerned about cost, functionality, or rocking the “boat” at work with fashion. It is ok to stick with the staple colors for work like; black and white, grey, khaki, and many other muted neutrals. Try adding bright argyle socks to a neutral suit if you want to play it safe but still want to say something more than I am here to blend in. If you’re a woman, you can try adding a new belt, or piece of jewelry with bold colors.

I worked with a woman who wore the staple pearl earings and necklace and sweater set, but she added some color during the winter months by wearing a simple light cashmere scarf draped around her neck. What did she accomplish by wearing the scarf? She made herself memorable, she made herself approachable, and she showed confidence by taking a risk with color and fashion at work.

I hope you will take a look at your wardrobe and find pieces that can speak volumes about you in the boardroom without even uttering a word.

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.”

-Georgia O’Keefe

Ralph Lauren Spring 2009

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