You get a call at the last minute to deliver a presentation. Maybe it’s a meeting with the board, or it’s a chance to talk about your products and services at a networking group. You have just enough time to pick out something to wear.
How will you do it? How can you quickly decide what looks best on you and helps you convey the message you want to get across?
Knowing your best colors for you is critical. Not only will it save you time getting dressed and money when shopping for your wardrobe, but the right colors will give you the upscaled, powerful stage presence you need to be confident while speaking.
What you wear is an outer expression of who you are on the inside. Here are 3 tips that every speaker should know about choosing the right colors and showing up as your true and authentic self:
1 – Know your undertones.
The first step in determining your most flattering colors is to understand if you are cool or warm. Each person has either cool (blue based) or warm (yellow based) undertones in their natural hair, skin, and eye color. The goal is to select colors that compliment and flatter your undertones. In general, cool-toned women look best in shades and tones of blues and pinks with silver jewelry, while warmer-toned women are complemented by earthy colors like shades of orange, yellow and teal with gold jewelry.
Wearing colors that are not aligned with your natural undertones can make all the difference in how you show up on stage and the message people receive without you even opening your mouth! Get this wrong, and you could end up looking washed out, tired or just blending in the background. Get it right, and you could give off a glow of confidence and energy with a memorable and lasting impression.
Once you know your most flattering, complimentary colors, you can easily shop for and pick out items to complete a flattering, polished and put together look with ease and grace. You’ll know what to purge out of your closet that doesn’t really serve you and what to buy to coordinate with your core wardrobe essentials to make getting dressed simple.
Some of the additional benefits of knowing what colors are most flattering for you is that it will serve as a filter for all your decision making processes like shopping, getting dressed and eliminating things that don’t serve you!
It will totally take the guesswork out of knowing how to select the following:
- Makeup color –If you have ever bought a lipstick or foundation that didn’t quite “work” and it ended up in the drawer with countless others, it is probably because the undertones are not yours. Knowing what undertones to look for in your lipstick, foundation, and eyeshadow will not only make you have a “healthy glow” with little effort, but also save you so much time and money at the makeup counter.
- Accessories – Once you have the basics down, you can select purses, shoes and jewelry to add splashes of color to your wardrobe. When it is in alignment with what is best for you, you will feel confident about spending the money on signature pieces you KNOW will work with everything else in your closet.
- Hair colors – This can be tricky and be a game changer; it can throw everything off if you don’t get it right. Don’t choose a hair color that competes with your natural coloring and undertones. Not only is it a huge distraction and can age you significantly, but all the other items in your closet and makeup drawer won’t work either.
2 – Remember color psychology.
Many people think red is a power color. However, red also means STOP. If you’re selling from the stage and you want to convey a sense of trust and honesty, do you really want your audience to STOP listening to you? Or, to be turned off from your message because the color of your jacket is screaming at them?
It doesn’t mean you can’t wear red on the stage, but there’s an entire branch of science, psychology and art theory that focuses on the meaning behind colors. Just because a color has a universal meaning doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Take brown, for example. People usually associate brown with trusting and reliability (see: UPS), but that doesn’t mean that UPS brown is a good color for you! Maybe a different shade of brown, like chocolate, would be a better choice with your skin tone and your message…or maybe not at all. You want to know what each color represents, but you also need to know that it will be a flattering choice for you as well.
3 – Match your colors to your brand image.
This is the one tip that many professional speakers ignore. As you are choosing your brand colors, you should consider which colors look good on you as an individual as well. If you are going to be surrounded by this color, it really should be flattering!
So let’s take the instance of you being photographed in front of your banner, and the bright canary yellow of your logo clashes or competes with the fuschia pink color of your blouse – it can be very distracting. You won’t look professional, and your audience might even distrust you because of the sense of conflict in the photo or put sunglasses on from the glare!
As you can see, understanding what your best colors are makes a huge difference in selecting what to wear and what to have in your wardrobe both on and off the stage. Always consider your color choices wisely before you step out on any stage.
Congratulations – you now have a new awareness and understanding of the importance of selecting the right colors for YOU and for your wardrobe. So the next step is to take action! Notice what colors get you compliments and makes your skin glow. Take note of what makes you look tired, your skin look uneven or creates shadows (BTW black is usually one of them!)
Start purging your closet of the items that don’t compliment your best coloring, because the sooner you do, the sooner you can pull together a flattering look with confidence and be prepared for ANY invitation to speak at the drop of a hat.