color analysis

Blue Blues and Blue Rules

Colors can be your key to dressing for success, provided you know what the research says about how color affects people. Our clients are primarily professionals and artists, and they need to know which color suits, shirts, ties, and shoes will be most helpful for them in interacting with clients, associates, and even audiences, such as juries, boards of directors, and audiences at musical events. We have done a good amount of research into exactly how color can help or hinder the working lawyer, doctor, scientist, banker, accountant, and performing artist.

Take the color blue, for example. It is a ubiquitous color in the legal profession, and for good reason. There it is highly effective for most male and female attorneys. But how effective is it for bankers, accountants, and CPAs? Ah, there’s the rub! Interestingly, it is less effective for these professionals than gray. This is because men and women in gray suits inspire more confidence in people when it comes to money. They prefer a banker or financial advisor who is wearing a gray suit, and people generally attribute more competence to him or her, more integrity, and more ability to help them.

But this does not mean that blue is wrong for people in banking or for accountants. Blue can work for them, but it must be combined with the right color footwear, and the right hairstyle for maximum effectiveness. A blue suit often entices a man to wear brown shoes to look stylish. In actuality our research convincingly demonstrates that he is hurting his chances of success with brown shoes. The only color shoe a man should wear is black.

Women almost always make the mistake of trying to coordinate their footwear with their outfits. This leads to the significant mistake of wearing gray shoes with a gray suit, or blue shoes with a blue suit. While the latter might not be too objectionable, it is significantly less effective than black pumps would be on the same woman. The general rule is that a woman’s shoes should not match her outfit but should be rather darker than her suit color. And the only shoe that is effective for a woman attorney, banker, teacher, scientist, or doctor is the pump. End of story.

Artists, on the other hand, such as musicians, painters, and poets, have a greater ability to vary their outfits and footwear, and even their hairstyles. In fact, a poet who dresses like a banker might even be impeding his or her chances for success. In each case, we do specific testing with the client, we run focus groups, and we dress the client in various outfits and then test them with about a hundred subjects before we make our final recommendations. Only by testing can you be sure that an artist has discovered the most effective image. We call it the signature look since it should ideally vary from person to person, expressing something unique about them and their artistic vision.

You won’t hear us recommend the latest fashions, either. We’re not about what is fashionable, we’re all about what is effective. Especially when it comes to the color blue.

Color analysis for professional people

Most people want a color analysis for the wrong reason. They mistakenly believe it will tell them what colors look good on them. This is not the case because unfortunately most image consultants use the now discredited Color Me Beautiful system, which categorizes people in one of four seasons, a system with no empirical basis.

president of argentina

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

The truth of the matter is that the real purpose of a color analysis should not be to tell you what colors you’ll look good in, but rather what colors will make you more effective in your profession. If you’re a socialite, a color analysis should tell you what colors will make you more effective when meeting with people at cocktail parties and social functions. Along the way you’ll also look good, but not because of some illogical reason like a seasonal color analysis, but rather because you will be highly effective in the colors in question.

Manhattan Makeovers has access to an extensive database which reveals which colors have tested best for law, medicine, academia, sales, PhDs, and numerous other professions. With this knowledge, you can be sure to be wearing a color combination that will make you excel.

What do we mean by effective?

The answer is that we mean you will be more accepted by clients, more respected by colleagues, and less offensive to decision-makers, such as judges and supervisors. The only way to know this is to test the colors in various professional environments. For example, we know that salesmen wearing blue blazers and beige pants sell more than the same men wearing gray suits. This kind of knowledge is available for almost every profession, and it is this knowledge that we share with clients.

If you are a woman and you wish to look good, we can also help you with that, of course. But we can do much more. We can also help you be more effective. And few image consultants can boast that they can do that.

BLACK OUTFITS

Black outfits, such as the one worn by Cristina Kirchner, the president of Argentina, are ineffective on most professionals because they are too severe and funereal. However, when you are the president of a country you can often bend the rules and wear what you want. Black outfits are, however, effective for short men and women, and for people who otherwise need to boost their authority.

Kirchner actually looks good in black because she has dark hair and fair skin. As a high-contrast person, she will enhance her appearance in high-contrast outfits. While the black outfit is not high contrast in and of itself, when placed against her fair skin, which is visible in her forearms and neck, it is a high-contrast outfit, similar to John Singer Sargent’s Madame X.

It goes without saying that everyone wants to look good. But for a professional it is ultimately more important to be effective than to be fashionable. This is why the critical color data we share with clients can help them improve their relations with others by making them more effective.

When we meet clients we also tell them fun information, such as what colors test best for impressing the opposite sex. Usually these outfits are completely different from the ones that are most effective at work.