It’s no secret to those of you following me on Twitter that I am looking for work. I have been busy updating my profile on LinkedIn and anywhere else I have an online presence. It’s tough out there so I want to make sure I have all my avenues covered. While doing all this updating my next challenge also dawned on me – I’m going to need an interview suit.
From chatting to staff in various outlets I was advised that I’d need ‘something smart, presentable, on trend and with a nice cut’. This of course I already knew, but they were very nice with a job to do and if truth be told I was enjoying the attention and the fuss.
One thing that struck me (much later in the day) about my ‘suiting and booting’ process was, not one person mentioned the use of colour, either as an accessory by way of a scarf, or even by wearing a different colour jacket with the trousers. Granted, I didn’t think of asking about it either, it was when I got home I had a bit of a ‘lightbulb’ moment. All the suits I was shown were various shades of charcoal or black, and all were trouser suits. In an interview situation dark trousers and jacket are fine, but in the broader world of business I”m wondering and asking “is it acceptable to wear colour”?
I’m not talking about doing a total ‘Legally Blonde‘ here, I’m just talking about adding a splash or touch of colour to work attire that can otherwise look very bland. Dark colours don’t suit every complexion either.
During my image search on Google using the search term ‘business woman’ I can safely say that 99% of images displayed were the fairly typical dark suit. But for me the reason for this albeit very basic research, is that colour has such an impact on people. Not just the person wearing it, but also those that come into contact with them.
Colour is like music, it can affect your mood. Think about when you last decorated for a moment – did you pick soft pastels for a reason in a lounge/sitting-room? Are the colours in your home a reflection of your personality?
Take for example Red - is a physical color which calls for action to be taken. Its high energy and strength draws attention to itself and demands to be noticed. Or how about Blue - is the safest color to use in most applications, implying honesty, trust and dependability. (source: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-meanings-in-business.html)
I know that some industries and professions like the uniformity of the dark suit. It may not be stated as a uniform but it is the accepted norm. And so, I’m left with a lot of questions:
Would colour in a woman’s jacket in the boardroom be considered a distraction?
Is femininity something to be hidden? or heaven forbid even feared?
Have some women allowed themselves to be streamlined by the mainstream? Falling into the ‘acceptable’ look that nearly all senior management seem to wear?
Or am I painting everyone with the same brush?
When I add colour I’m reflecting my personality – I’m an outgoing person. So just maybe there are plenty of women out there like me who also love to do the same.