Choosing the right outfit for a job interview can be a daunting task. With all the advice out there on what to wear, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, focusing on how to use colour strategically can help simplify your outfit selection. Certain colours evoke specific emotions and first impressions that can work for or against you in an interview setting. Understanding what message your colour choices send can give you an edge over the competition.
The Psychology of Colour
Research shows that colour has a profound impact on our emotions and perceptions. The colours you choose to wear send subtle messages whether you intend them to or not. Being mindful of these colour psychology principles can help you make strategic choices for a job interview.
Here are some key things to know about colour psychology:
- Red conveys power, passion, and excitement. It grabs attention and amplifies your dominance.
- Blue evokes trust, wisdom, and stability. It is linked to higher productivity.
- Green represents growth, harmony, and balance. It reduces anxiety.
- Yellow sparks optimism, creativity, and confidence. It boosts persuasion.
- Purple embodies luxury, spirituality, and mystery. It encourages compassion.
- Black signals authority, elegance, and seriousness. It boosts perceptions of intelligence.
- White represents purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. It projects professionalism.
Keep these colour meanings in mind as you choose an interview outfit. Select hues that will convey the traits you want hiring managers to associate with you.
Choosing Interview Colours for Women
For women, a suit or professional dress in navy, gray, black, or dark red is considered ideal interview attire in most industries. These darker neutrals project authority and competence. Here are some strategic ways women can use colour for an interview:
- Wear a blazer in navy or dark gray over a black dress or trousers for a powerful and reliable look.
- Choose a black suit with a bold red blouse for an energetic vibe with seriousness.
- Select a steel blue dress to come across as trustworthy yet innovative.
- Pair a black pencil skirt with a green blazer to show versatility and vision.
A pop of colour through a blazer, blouse, or accessory can make your outfit memorable while keeping the overall look professional. Just steer clear of bright or distracting colours that can undermine your authority.
Best Interview Colours for Women
|Navy||Trust, honesty, tact||Reliable, productive|
|Gray||Balance, neutrality||Stable, calm|
|Black||Authority, seriousness||Professional, intelligent|
|Red||Power, excitement||Confident, passionate|
Choosing Interview Colours for Men
For men, a dark suit in charcoal, navy, or black is the standard interview attire across fields. A white or light blue dress shirt and a muted tie in gray or burgundy complete the professional look. Here are some colour strategies for men:
- Wear a navy suit with a red tie for an uplifting and dynamic impression.
- Pair a charcoal suit with a purple tie to come across as both relatable and compelling.
- Choose a black suit with a steel blue shirt for a look that says reliable and astute.
- Select a dark gray suit with a leafy green tie to appear tranquil and imaginative.
The key is keeping the suit neutral and reserved while using the shirt and tie as a subtle way to express colour personality. Avoid flashy colours or busy patterns that can detract from your professional poise.
Best Interview Colours for Men
|Navy||Trust, tact||Reliable, wise|
|Charcoal||Maturity, composure||Experienced, steady|
|Black||Authority, power||Sophisticated, decisive|
|Red||Passion, excitement||Confident, energetic|
Avoiding Poor Colour Choices
Some colours tend to send the wrong message in professional settings. Avoid the following hues for interviews:
- Orange – Associated with fun and youthfulness. Can seem unprofessional.
- Pink – Evokes femininity and softness. May diminish authority.
- Yellow – Denotes surprise, innovation, and informality. Can be distracting.
- Brown – Evokes earthiness, ruggedness, and durability. Not typically formal enough.
- White – Symbolizes purity and neutrality. A full white suit can seem overly stark.
While touches of these colours may work through accessories, keeping them out of main suit pieces is best for projecting competence.
Adding Colour Through Accessories
Jewelry, scarves, pocket squares, and other accessories allow you to strategically incorporate colour into a professional interview look without going overboard. Here are some examples:
- A royal purple neck scarf with a gray dress conveys wisdom and inspiration.
- A burgundy handbag with a navy suit implies sophistication and depth.
- A turquoise bracelet with a black dress signals positivity and intelligence.
- Gold cufflinks with a dark suit represent success and achievement.
When accessorizing, opt for one or two eye-catching colours that align with the impression you want to make. Keep the hues polished and saturated rather than bright or flashy.
Makeup Colours for Interviews
For women wearing makeup to an interview, strategic colour choices can further shape perceptions:
- Red or pink lipstick suggests passionate confidence.
- Nude or rose lipstick conveys warmth and relatability.
- Wing-tipped eyeliner adds striking authority and sharpness.
- Blue eyeshadow hints at creative intelligence and individuality.
Keep makeup minimal and professional. Allow one or two colour cosmetic choices to subtly communicate personality within formal constraints.
Colour is a powerful tool when making an impression at a job interview. For both men and women, suits in dark neutrals like navy, charcoal, and black project authority and competence. Strategic pops of colour through blazers, blouses, ties, or accessories can then help convey positive personality traits. Understanding colour psychology allows job seekers to make intentional choices that maximize their chances of getting hired.
With the right colour combinations, you can show hiring managers that you are the ideal candidate – serious and professional with an appealing touch of individuality and vision. Approach your interview colour strategy as thoughtfully as you would your resume. Subtle tweaks can make a big difference in how your strengths shine through.