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Why is red a good color to wear to an interview?

Why is red a good color to wear to an interview?

Choosing the right outfit for a job interview is an important part of making a good first impression. While qualifications and experience are essential, studies show that visual cues like clothing color can also influence the interviewer’s perception of the candidate. Of all the colors one could wear, research indicates that red is an excellent choice for an interview when worn correctly.

In this article, we’ll explore why the color red makes a strong statement in an interview context. We’ll look at the psychological impact it has, what messages it sends, and tips for wearing it well. With the right shade and styling, red outfits give the wearer an edge.

The Psychological Impact of Red

Red has a powerful psychological influence as the most emotionally intense color. It has been shown to raise our heart rate, increase our blood pressure, and stimulate neural activity. This makes it an attention-grabbing and energizing tone.

In competitive or challenging contexts like sports, tests, and debates, studies have shown that red can improve performance. Wearing red makes people feel more confident, focused, and motivated to win. This gives it strong associations with power, drive, and achievement.

Researchers also found that when participants were shown photos of women in red, they perceived them as more attractive and sexually desirable. This links the color to physical dominance and higher status in mate selection.

What Messages Does Red Convey in an Interview?

Given its bold energy and appeal, red makes a strategic color choice for a job interview. It allows candidates to tap into red’s potent qualities while sending the right messages.

Here are some of the top messages conveyed when wearing red to an interview:

Confidence: You feel self-assured and capable. This builds credibility.

Leadership: You are driven, decisive, and ready to take initiative. Red evokes authority.

Passion: You have enthusiasm for the company and role. Red conveys motivated interest.

Focus: You are alert, engaged, and ready to perform at your best. The color keeps you on target.

Power: You feel empowered and able to influence your success. Red makes a strong statement.

Dynamism: You have vibrant energy, vision, and creativity. The color shows liveliness.

Red outfits allow candidates to tap into these traits at the interview, where they want to impress and show they are the right person for the job. This can give them a competitive edge over others.

Tips for Wearing Red to an Interview

To leverage red successfully, there are some guidelines to follow:

Choose the right shade of red. A darker, muted tone like burgundy or oxblood is safest. Bright firetruck reds may be too bold.

Wear red strategically. Use it as an accent against more neutral pieces, like a red blazer with a black dress or red heels with a grey suit.

Pair red with black, white, or navy to look polished and professional. Monochromatic red may be overwhelming.

Consider your industry/field. Bold red accessories may work better in creative fields like tech rather than more conservative finance.

Pick high quality fabrics and cuts so the outfit doesn’t look cheap or ill-fitting. The clothes should convey confidence.

Feel comfortable in the outfit. If you feel awkward in red, pick another color. Comfort and confidence come first.

With the right shade and styling, red can be a powerhouse color for a job interview. By tapping into its bold messaging, you can show you have what it takes for the role.

Key Research on Red in Competitive Contexts

Several studies demonstrate how red can boost confidence and performance in challenging situations:

Study Key Findings
Elliot et al. (2007) Wearing red improved results on challenging cognitive tests compared to blue
Feltman & Elliot (2011) Seeing red before taking IQ tests improved scores for low anxiety participants
Hagemann et al. (2008) Olympic wrestlers wearing red were more likely to win against opponents
Hill & Barton (2005) Competitors wearing red in physical contests had a higher probability of winning

This shows how red can provide an edge in competitive interview contexts to perform at your highest level. The color???s bold symbolism empowers the wearer.

How to Showcase Strengths in Red

Here are some examples of how to use red pieces and accessories to highlight your assets at an interview:

– Wear a red dress or blazer when touting your passion and enthusiasm for the industry. Let red energize you.

– Put on red heels when you want to emphasize your drive and determination. Use red’s boldness to back up your confidence.

– Pick a red handbag when sharing examples of your influential leadership or ability to inspire others. Let red symbolize your inner authority.

– Choose a red necktie when talking about your competitive instincts or ability to improve results. Red says you play to win.

– Accessorize with red pens or folders as visual aids when pitching your innovative ideas or campaigns. Red sparks creativity.

The color’s vibrancy draws eyes to you while backing up your vocal message. When you look sharp, you’ll sound sharp.

Red Makes a Memorable Impression

Donning red makes you stand out for all the right reasons. Studies show that people wearing red are perceived as more attractive, successful, and distinguished from the crowd.

Researchers Savani, Stephens, and Markus (2011) found that women pictured in red were rated as:

– More stylish and socially desirable
– Higher earning
– More important

The women in red dresses and blouses were singled out for their class and status. This active color is associated with power and prestige.

Another study by Roberts et al. (2010) showed that men found women wearing red to be:

– More beautiful
– More sexually receptive
– More likely to go on a date

So for women, red can create a memorable first impression on the interviewer as confident and vibrant.

The studies confirm that proper use of red makes candidates appear more impressive and elite overall. In a sea of neutrals and dark suits, it is a strategic way to stand out.

How Red Increases Perceived Competence

Multiple studies reveal that wearing red clothing leads the wearer to be viewed as more competent and skilled:

– **Feltman and Elliot (2011)** found that men rated women in red shirts as more competent than women in blue shirts.

– **Wiedemann et al. (2012)** showed men and women perceived female job candidates as more qualified and competent when pictured in red compared to gray, blue, green, or yellow.

– **Lehmann et al. (2015)** revealed that players in red uniforms were rated by referees as more capable athletes.

So red appears to boost perceived capability and competence. This is likely because red is associated with dominance and higher achievement, giving the impression you are up for any challenge.

This research shows why red is a strategic color choice for the high stakes job interview, where you want to emphasize your credentials and ability. Let red work visual magic to get you noticed.

Gender Differences in Perception of Red

Research indicates some gender differences in the perception of red clothing that are useful to note:

– In Lehmiller and Koch’s (2014) study, women in red were rated as more attractive and sexually receptive by men. But this effect did not hold true for men wearing red.

– Khan and Dhar’s (2006) findings showed men in red were rated by women as having higher status, earning potential, and power compared to men in blue.

– Elliot and Niesta (2008) found that for men, seeing women framed in red was distracting before taking exams, lowering their test scores.

So red appears to confer more social advantages and impression management benefits for women wearing it or being viewed by men. The color is linked more closely to perceptions of attractiveness and desirability for women.

How to Use Color Psychology at Interviews

Beyond just wearing red, here are some tips on harnessing color psychology when dressing for interviews:

– Complement an authoritative red outfit with stable navy accessories. Navy enhances leadership perception.

– Wear vibrant yellow and orange for creative roles focused on imagination and innovation. These illuminate a visionary spirit.

– Try a trustworthy blue shirt or blazer when integrity and transparency are key. Blue builds credibility.

– Add friendly green shoes or scarf when highlighting teamwork skills and collaborative spirit. Green says you play well with others.

– Pull together an intelligent grey suit with a wise purple necktie or earrings when expertise is needed. These colors boost perceived intelligence.

Use color strategically to tell a visual story that reinforces your personal brand throughout the interview day. Optimize your image.


Red is a standout color for interviews that can provide a psychological edge. By boosting confidence, power, and perceived status, red allows candidates to put their best foot forward. When worn correctly, red conveys passion, leadership, dynamism, and competence.

Research shows both genders benefit from donning this bold tone for competitive situations where they want to impress and influence.Pair red with near neutrals like black, white, grey, and navy for a polished professional look.

With the right styling, red can help you make your mark at interviews and highlight your assets. So don’t be shy about wearing this dominant color to make a strong statement and be remembered. Harness red to show you have what it takes and seal the deal.