The way we dress is closely tied to how we feel, asserts Jennifer Baumgartner, PsyD, psychologist and author of You Are What You Wear (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2012). “Just like any other behavior — relationship behavior, sleep behavior, eating behavior — what we wear can be an indicator of what’s going on internally,” she says. “There’s a constant conversation between the inside and the outside.”
Upgrading what you wear can help you improve not just your self-confidence and self-esteem, but also the quality of your daily experiences. Want to appear powerful and sophisticated? Put on a jet-black suit or dress. Seeking peace and tranquility? An ocean-blue tie or top can help.
Studies have shown that fire-engine red has an especially intense effect: Men perceive women wearing the color as extra-amorous, and sports teams that wear red tend to be more confident and are more intimidating to their opponents.
Ultimately you should outfit your closet with colors you like, says psychologist Jennifer Baumgartner: “The colors you wear are going to impact the observer, but they’re also going to impact you. Choose colors you’re attracted to.”
Check out these cultural meanings of color to find your perfect shade:
Red: The most passionate color, red signifies strength, excitement, love, sex, speed, leadership, power and danger.
Orange: Boost your energy with orange, which hums with enthusiasm, and playfulness, as well as balance.
Yellow: Sunny yellow is the color of happiness, optimism, idealism, hope and warmth. Use it in small doses, though—too much can raise your anxiety level.
Green: A symbol of nature, and Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, green personifies vigor, fertility, generosity, youth, luck and wealth.
Blue: Find your tranquility with blue;—it signifies peace, unity, harmony, confidence, loyalty, dependability, and calmness. Research shows it’s a good choice for job interviews.
Purple: The color of kings, purple projects nobility, regality, sensuality, spirituality, creativity and enlightenment.
Black: A color that makes anyone feel stylish, black embodies modernity, sophistication and power.
Gray: Up your elegance with timeless gray, a hue that connotes respect, reliability, subtlety and wisdom.
White: Classic white is the color of simplicity, purity, innocence, reverence, humility and security.
Brown: The color of the earth, reliable brown symbolizes depth, richness, stability and tradition.
This list is excerpted from the Experience Life article, “Dressed to Lose.”