Turns out, Virginia was exactly right in her color commentary about me. Before we get to that…

What’s the best color for YOU?

Emory University tells students to watch what they wear in professional settings. Colors, they explain, have an impact on your own energy and on how other people perceive you.

  • Red suggests action, power, and passion.
  • Green conveys growth, ideas, and vitality.
  • Brown? It’s practical and reliable, and sometimes perceived as dull.
  • Pink portrays compassion, understanding, and warmth. When guys wear pink, they’re seen as good communicators.
  • You won’t be surprised that gold paints a picture of wealth, prosperity, and luxury.
  • Black seems sophisticated, it’s classic. It can also be seen as depressing or intimidating—they recommend adding a little color when you wear a black suit.
  • In purple, you’ll appear inventive, creative, and intuitive. And purple projects authority.
  • Wearing white, you come across as clean, pure, and innocent.
  • Blue inspires confidence, success, and trust. Navy blue, they say, is the best color for business. And you’re more likely to get the job if you wear navy for your interview.

It’s worth a look at your own closet.

Stylist David Zyla says color has “a huge impact on the outcome of every business situation.”

Zyla told Fast Company even people who aren’t much into fashion make choices based on color. And people make judgements about us based on color.

Back to Virginia…when I did a workshop at the logistics company TMC last week, she told me my purple jacket was the perfect color for speaking.

Of course, she also told me she likes purple so much she named her daughter Violet. Still, it turns out Virginia is on to something.

Zyla says when you dress for public speaking or a presentation at work, you’re best off in your “power color” like blue, green, or, yes, purple.

And how do you find your particular power color? Check your wrist, of all things.

What’s the dominant vein color in your wrist? Could be a bluish purple, or turquoise, or even emerald green. Zyla says that’s the color that tells the world, “look at me, listen to me, I’m worth hearing out.”

Power isn’t everything though…

Your power color may be over-powering when it’s time for collaboration. When colleagues put their heads together, you don’t want to stand out as much—it’s important to be seen as part of the team.

So, the Emmy-winning stylist suggests a color that matches the darkest color in your eyes (you know, the windows to your soul). Zyla says that’ll make you seem open, honest and collaborative.

Want to be the chosen one?

It depends on the field you’re in, of course, but generally for job interviews, the experts recommend navy, black, and charcoal. That’s especially true if you’re in an industry that puts a premium on reliability and trust.

At the same time, the head of the Pantone Color Institute told Fast Company it’s hard to stand out from the crowd if you’re in the same uniform as every other applicant. She suggests adding something colorful that separates you from the rest. Could be a tie, maybe a piece of jewelry, something that catches attention.

Of course, if you’re in a more creative field where they put a premium on personality and individuality, that navy-black-gray thing is probably not your best bet. You’ll want to make a splash by wearing something that has more pizzazz.

There’s a caveat to the color code.

 So, colors have meanings attached to them. And there are some rules-of-thumb about what to wear to create the impression you want people to have.

The most important thing is that you feel confident in whatever you’re wearing.

The experts agree: in the end, you shouldn’t wear any color just because it’s this year’s trend or because somebody (even those same experts) told you it’s right for the situation. It needs to be right for you, too.

If you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, your energy will be off. And people will pay attention to that. No matter what the trend is, you’ll be at your best when you feel positive and self-assured in what you wear. Whatever it is.

I’m curious about your experience with color. Do you go with the trends? Stick with the business trinity of navy, black and gray? And what’s your power color, anyway?

Post a colorful comment below.