“Your Suit is Talking to Me!”

Color Psychology and your Choice of Clothing

Fashion colors for spring 2012 are the most “normal” and accessible that we have seen in many seasons. According to those who decide such things, a range of prep school friendly blues, a cooler red, grass green, and solar power yellow lead the way, trailing only the color of the year – tangerine tango. The shade of blue that is central to current fashion is like the ocean off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. (If that shade of blue is too difficult to picture, maybe it’s time to pack a bag and call your travel adviser?) Simply put, your new blue suit or blazer for 2012 should be bluer than standard – that is, pick the bluest shade of navy that works with your complexion (skin tone, hair and eye color). For the most part, work the other suggested colors into your shirts, ties, accessories, and sportswear.

Back in the day, in the experimental 60’s, someone famously told another person at a party, “You’ve turned a whiter shade of pale.” I say “famously” because that catch of phrase became the title of a #1 single in the UK and #5 in the USA in 1967, and has been by far the most publicly played song in the UK ever since. A whiter shade of pale may not be in your sartorial future, nor your desired skin tone, but the shade of blue or gray or brown that you choose to wear this spring and summer deserves careful consideration.

I singled out those three colors because they are the dominant and most popular suit colors for business. Some would argue that “no brown in town,” still holds true, and not only for shoes, but in most places the dress code is relaxed enough that even a darker shade earth-tone suit may be considered relatively formal and in the warmer months a summer tan suit is a timeless standard. And I will always advocate that brown shoes provide decidedly masculine and elegant of dress footwear with a broad range of suit colors.

Could the colors that you choose to wear really influence the outcome of human inter action – whether a planned meeting or a chance encounter? Yes. Emphatically, yes!!! Color is an emotional language, replete with nuanced meanings, subjective perception, and highly charged impact. In terms of emotional influence, suit colors can be grouped into a few basic categories. Each category conveys its own meanings and elicits a certain set of responses, but a single theme runs through all color categories: formality and the perception of authority increase as the shade of color darkens. For a more detailed overview of how to apply the 3 most popular suit color categories to some common business situations, visit the Virtual Tailor. Look for more to come here as well on the subtleties of color, including meaning and how to put it together.

Your suit is talking to me. Hope it’s sending the right message.


Sartorial Regards,



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