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What the color you wear says about you in an interview?

What the color you wear says about you in an interview?

The colors you choose to wear to a job interview say a lot about your personality and how you want to be perceived. While your qualifications, experience and interview performance are most important, the colors you wear still make an impression. Your color choices impact the interviewer’s first impression and can even influence how you feel and perform in the interview.

Selecting attire and colors to wear to an interview is an important part of your preparation. While the style and formality matter, the colors you choose are a key part of your non-verbal communication and send messages about you to an interviewer. By being purposeful with color, you can use it to your advantage in an interview context.

Color Meanings and Impressions

Different colors give off distinct impressions and have cultural associations and meanings. By choosing colors that align with the image you want to project in an interview, you can strategically influence how you are perceived. Here are some of the typical impressions and messages signaled by common colors:

Color Impressions and Perceived Meanings
Black Authority, power, sophistication, formality
Blue Trust, loyalty, calm, confidence, intelligence
Green Nature, growth, balance, harmony, safety
White Purity, cleanliness, neutrality, simplicity
Red Energy, urgency, passion, desire, intensity
Yellow Happiness, optimism, warmth, creativity
Purple Luxury, royalty, spirituality, wisdom
Orange Energy, enthusiasm, vibrancy, friendliness
Pink Femininity, sweetness, romance, caring
Brown Reliability, durability, simplicity, nature
Gray Neutrality, modesty, practicality

The impressions and meanings signaled go beyond the actual colors themselves. Darker shades tend to convey more formality and professionalism, while lighter shades give off more casual or playful vibes. How you combine and coordinate colors also makes a difference.

Colors for Women

For women, some top color choices for interviews include:

Color Why It Works
Navy blue Projects confidence, trust and credibility
Black Sophisticated and authoritative (avoid stark black suits)
Gray Conveys professionalism and composure
White Clean, fresh and neutral
Burgundy Communicates maturity, individuality and charm
Light blue Softer tone invokes calm, trust, honesty

Navy blue is a top choice as it strikingly conveys confidence and credibility. Opt for a navy suit or blazer paired with a light or white blouse. Black also asserts authority and professionalism, just avoid a solid black suit which can appear stark and cold. Gray projects composure and intelligence. White gives an impression of purity and freshness, especially effective when paired with a colored blazer or accessories. For a feminine touch, burgundy projects maturity and individuality. Light blue in a blouse or accessory provides a softer, calming effect.

Avoid red, pink, orange and yellow as primary colors for interviews as they give off impressions contrary to the image most women want to project, seeming overly loud, casual or youthful.

Colors for Men

Recommended color options for men include:

Color Why It’s Advantageous
Navy blue Authoritative, professional, reliable
Charcoal gray Sophisticated, refined, serious
Black Classic, formal, credible
Dark blue Trustworthy, confident, stable
Light blue Calming, friendly, approachable

For men, the most versatile color is navy blue, conveying authority and professionalism. Charcoal gray projects sophistication and intellect. Black suggests formality, seriousness and credibility. Darker blues like royal blue convey stability and confidence. Light blue shirts or ties give a friendly and calm impression.

Men should avoid lighter colors like tan, yellow, pink, orange or red. These can seem distracting, casual or too flashy for an interview. Brown should also generally be avoided unless you’re in a very casual industry.

Industry and Job Variations

Some colors are better suited to certain industries and jobs. Here are some industry-specific recommendations:

Creative Fields: Bursts of color in accessories work for roles in design, media or tech. Avoid outrageous neon hues. Stick to muted tones like maroon, forest green or navy.

Finance and Business: Conservative colors like navy, black, charcoal and gray are safest. Light blue or white accents provide balance.

Healthcare: Medical roles call for crisp, professional hues like white, light blue, gray or hunter green. Avoid loud tones.

Service Industry: Cashier, retail or hospitality jobs allow more flexibility. Navy, black, gray and brown still project competence.

Trades and Construction: Opt for rugged, durable hues like brown, tan, forest green or navy for manual roles.

Also consider the company’s culture and brand image. A startup may embrace more vibrant shades than a law firm. Research their logo, website and employees to determine their style.

Tips for Selecting Interview Colors

Here are some tips for selecting attire colors for an interview:

– Stick to dark, neutral and muted tones for both men and women. Light blue is acceptable. Avoid bright or loud colors.

– Navy blue, charcoal gray and black suits can’t be wrong for either gender.

– Light blue or white shirts under a suit jacket give balance.

– Accessorize minimally with neutral tones. A colorful accessory can add a nice touch.

– No need for everything to match. Complementary colors create visual interest.

– If you opt for a skirt or dress, pair with a blazer to add professionalism.

– Research the company culture and brand image for clues on their style.

– For creative jobs, inject color through a skirt, blouse, tie or pocket square rather than your core outfit.

– Don’t overthink it – focus more on fit, comfort level and interview skills.

Using Color to Your Advantage

Here are some ways to strategically leverage color to maximize your advantage in an interview:

Project confidence and authority: Dark blues, blacks, navies and charcoals strongly convey confidence, professionalism and leadership capability.

Come across sincerely and trustworthy: Light blues give an honest, sincere impression that establishes trust.

Appear calm and focused: Grays project composure and levelheadedness, while lighter blues give a tranquil aura.

Convey friendliness and collaboration: Light blue and white make you seem approachable, warm and cooperative.

Highlight your uniqueness: A colored blazer, accessory or blouse allows you to display personality and stand out while maintaining professionalism.

Boost your mood: Energizing shades like light blue or pink can elevate your mood, confidence and interview performance.

Show stability and maturity: Darker reds, blues and greens imply depth, maturity and reliability.

Reflect creativity: In creative fields, tasteful splashes of color display innovation, originality and vision.

What to Avoid

Some colors should generally be avoided for interviews:

– Bright reds, yellows, oranges, greens – seem unprofessional.

– Light tans or browns – give off too casual an impression.

– Pinks or purples – come across as overly feminine for conservative roles.

– Loud patterns, busy plaids, big florals – distract rather than impress.

– Pure white suits – can appear stark and cold. Better for accents than main pieces.

– Anything too trendy or flashy – best to err on the conservative side.

The most important thing is to feel comfortable, confident and authentic in your interview. Focus on colors that allow you to present your best professional self.


Your color choices for a job interview make more of an impression than you may realize. Strategic use of color allows you to convey positive personality traits, ability and professionalism to an interviewer. Stick to dark, neutral and muted tones with minimal, tasteful splashes of color if desired. Avoid anything bright, loud or overly trendy. Use color to your advantage by projecting confidence, competence, trustworthiness and approachability. Keep the main focus on performing strongly and proving you are the best fit for the role.