Why you should consider making this power move with your professional wardrobe

It turns out, men wearing color in the office can be a powerful move. Here is how to add more color to your work wardrobe.

Though major strides have been made for men in fashion in the last few years, when it comes to office attire many men still shy away from color. Yes, in casual and athletic-wear (just think of all the color you see on a golf course) the brights abound, but in the office, it is all grays, blacks, browns, and other neutrals. But it turns out, men wearing color in the office can be a powerful move.

Jacob Gallagher recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “A closet wholly devoid of color can make you look as repressed and stern (and out-of-date) as a character in an Ingmar Bergman film.” Though a recent SmartRecruiters survey that looked at 180 job applicants who were hired, the 70% that were hired said they wore black, color in the workplace does have a place. For example, red is considered a color that signifies success and prosperity. “Colors are a lot more powerful than we think they are. They all represent different things and send different messages to our subconscious,” John Boitnott wrote in Inc., 

Basically if you put on a bright color, your mood will actually change and people will respond to that. For example, blue, a common color for men, does convey trust, calmness and confidence, but so do purple and green. However, these colors carry that message, but in a less aggressive way. And though men often tend to shy away from pink they should really consider wearing it at work as a recent Cotton USA study found that men who wear pink shirts earn an extra $1,600 a year and are found to be better qualified, more confident, and get a greater number of compliments from female colleagues. Take that!

“I am all for men embracing color into their wardrobes in the workplace.  I think it showcases character and lets one separate himself stylistically, by making a small clothing statement,” Brittney Levine, fashion and trend expert who regularly appears on NBC, CBS,  and E! News, told Ladders. Though she does understand that figuring out how to incorporate color into one’s work wardrobe can be a bit challenging, at least at first.  “While I understand it can be daunting to undo a ‘monochramatic mind-set,’ introducing color can be as simple as adding a brighter hued tie, such as these from Hermes to a grey or blue suit.  Eventually, introducing a red, pink or turquoise sweater to go under a neutral sports coat can be a gradual relaxed office ensemble.  Pair with jeans or slacks for a more relaxed feel.”

Plus, do remember that even very corporate work settings are getting more casual and will be more open to color.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.