The One Color Every Woman Should Wear To Workgetty
Dopamine dressing – the notion that wearing colorful clothes makes you (and others!) happy – was seen all over this week’s New York Fashion Week. Designers like Ulla Johnson, Helmut Lang and Sergio Hudson sent an explosion of color down the runway.
Sergio Hudson Spring 2024 Ready To Wear Runway Show
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This association is not news to me. Thirty years on television taught me one thing when it comes to dressing for maximum impact – color is always the new black. “Color means absolutely everything when it comes to dressing women,” says style expert and author George Brescia. “It not only affects the way women feel about themselves, but also the way they are perceived by others.”
Color Is A Power Statement
Color is evocative. This past summer it was impossible not to smile as hordes of men and women dressed in all shades of head-to-toe pink as the Barbiecore trend peaked. It evoked feelings of happiness and nostalgia.
The Balmain x Barbie collection is displayed at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, Calif., on … [+] Wednesday, July 19, 2023.
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The color experts at Pantone get it. Each year they come out with their Color of the Year. This year’s winner was Viva Magenta, a “va-va-voom red” that Pantone describes as brave, fearless, joyous and optimistic. Who wouldn’t want to feel that way as they step out on stage?
Whether women are stepping onto a stage or in front of a Zoom, the goal is not to blend in but to be seen. This is particularly important if you’re going to be on a stage or in a meeting with a group of men in dark suits or presenting against a dark backdrop.
Hungryroot’s Ben McKean, Kendo Brands’ (LVMH) Sapna Parikh, Lily AI’s Ahmed Naiem and LFX Venture … [+] Partner’s Janie Yu at the 2023 Retail Influencer CEO Forum, Featuring The Z Suite in New York City
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And color doesn’t always have to be bright. Today’s top stylists are putting women in a range of colors from vibrant jewel tones to muted earth tones to soothing neutrals. Dressing intentionally and in color lets others know you are self-assured and willing to take risks.
“For many years, women in the workplace were dressing to blend in, and that often meant reflecting the classic conservative suiting of their male counterparts,” says Deirdre Quinn. The co-founder and CEO of Lafayette 148 says that today, more and more women are harnessing their femininity as power and using color to stand out. “Color makes a statement, it commands attention. And powerful, accomplished women are sending that exact message by choosing color, from public appearances and events to a return to the office.”
Actor Kristen Bell styled by Nicole Chavez wears #L148Spring23 Pink Madder silk-linen suit
Lafayette 148, Instagram Live Your Life In Color Red
According to Pantone and the industry’s top stylists, red is the “it” color this year and something every woman should work into their wardrobe. “It’s like the world got the memo that we want to show up in color,” says Lindsey Bernay. “And this year’s color is red.” And every woman should try it.
The luxury stylist with Saks says the key to finding a red that looks powerful but not aggressive is to go with berry reds or deep bordeaux. “They are both soft reds that pair back nicely to black,” she says. Brescia agrees. “Red is a power color. It signifies confidence.”
Even traditionally minimalist brand Theory is getting in on the fun, featuring a collection of red pieces with the tag, “Red Alert: A Daring Commitment to Standing Out Among The Crowd.”
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – AUGUST 18: Jessica Alba attends the Fearless Fund Third Annual Fearless Venture … [+] Capital Summit
Pink is strong runner up as it’s a versatile color; there is a shade of pink that looks good with every skin tone and hair color. If you like bright pink, consider a power suit from brands like J. McLaughlin or Argent. The juxtaposition of the bold color and powerful silhouette sends the message that you are comfortable with who you are and are ready to take a seat at the table.
Or, if bright pink isn’t your thing, Brescia suggests going with more of a powder pink. “Go into a board room in a soft pink Victoria Beckham dress and everyone in the room will pay attention to you!”
J. McLaughlin’s Mercia Blazer and Newman Pants in Berry
J. McLaughlin Yellow
I’m also a fan of yellow for women of all complexions. Similar to pink, yellow can be worn in shades from a soft butter yellow to a bright neon and can pair nicely with black, navy or other neutrals. The color conveys brightness, energy and warmth. Wearing yellow will put you in a pleasant mood as well as those around you.
Women forget that neutrals, like cream, white and beige, are colors too. You can blend different neutrals or go head-to-toe sleek in a monochromatic look. “Many people are more scared of neutrals than colors,” says Bernay, but they shouldn’t be.
Brescia says neutrals – like sand, cream and taupe – are soothing and can actually draw people to you. He says women with blonde hair in particular look best in camels and yellows with gold jewelry – those tones illuminate the skin and eyes and look best in front of the camera.
Ralph Lauren Double-Breasted Wool-Blend Blazer
Ralph Lauren Black
Most women wear black frequently because it’s easy and, we’ve been told, slimming. The problem is, “when you wear black every day, you’re saying to the world, ‘I want to hide or conceal my body,’” says Bernay.
So, the solution is moderation. When worn from time to time, black has a place in every woman’s wardrobe. “Foundational pieces, like the little black dress, can serve as an anchor for almost any look,” shares fashion stylist Stacey Mayesh, who says black can make women feel powerful.
So how can women wear black effectively? Mayesh recommends “stripping away adornment, which puts the focus back on the woman, not on her clothing. This can be essential to commanding respect in the workplace.” And Brescia suggests the way to make black look “chic and fabulous” is to mix textures like cashmere with organza or leather. “Otherwise,” he says, “black can make you look old – it can look funereal and draining.”
Where To Begin
For those who have always shied away from color, the transition to a more vibrant wardrobe may take time. Bernay suggests wearing head-to-toe black for a day. Take mental notes about how your outfit makes you feel, especially when compared to other women around you glowing with color.
Also, choose one color that is outside your comfort zone and begin to pair it with safe pieces, like a familiar black pant or a comfortable pair of jeans. This small change will help ease the transition to living a new life in color.
It’s easy to generalize about colors and their associated effects on mood and confidence, but it really boils down to personal associations. Wear whatever color makes YOU feel your best. Because when you are happy, you will exude the confidence you need to command the respect you deserve.