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Can The Colors You Wear Affect People’s Perceptions of You? 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

The effect color has on our moods and feelings is hard to refute. For decades, color theory has been studied – from how red causes aggression, to blue creating a calming effect. It is possible to apply the same theories to the colors we wear and the emotional responses they evoke. Wearing certain colors can convey a message or create an impression to those around us. It is important to be aware of the colors we choose and the implications they have. 

When it comes to expressing yourself, color is one of the best ways to do so. Whether we’re aware or not, color affects our emotions, reactions, and moods. Undoubtedly, color plays a crucial role in how we perceive the world, whether inherent or learned. 

The clothes we wear can have a profound effect on our moods. And I’m not talking about the thrill you get after finding a great deal on shoes! We can express our personalities and make a statement through the color of our clothing. It’s important to remember that the colors you choose should be a reflection of who you are as an individual. Your clothes should make you feel powerful and confident. 


White is one of the most versatile colors on the spectrum. White can be paired with almost any color and still look classic and stylish. It’s also a great color for layering and for creating a monochromatic look. While many think that white is boring and plain, it can actually do much more than you realize. White is associated with cleanliness, freshness, and simplicity. It’s a great choice if you want to make a statement without going overboard.

When you wear white, it typically insinuates that you are put together, cool, calm, and collected, innocent/pure, elegant and sleek, and professional. 

White is a timeless color that can be dressed up or down. It’s a great choice for any occasion, and it’s sure to make you stand out. So, wear white if you want to look innocent, professional, or elegant. There’s no doubt that white is a versatile color, but just be careful about spills!  


Taking a complete turn to the other end of the color wheel, black is one of the most complex colors. In terms of black, there isn’t just one interpretation; it is a highly versatile color, which is why everyone typically has a black tank top or pair of pants. Depending on how you approach it, black can be seen as elegant, mysterious, powerful, formal, or edgy. On the other hand, it can be pretty depressing. Black is a color that can evoke a range of emotions.. It’s important to be mindful of how black is used in different contexts, as it can evoke different reactions from different people.

With that being said, wearing black may make you appear: elegant and classic, bold and authoritative, serious, and edgy/gothic.  

Black can give off a variety of vibes depending on how you style your outfit and the context of your surroundings. You may appear elegant and classy if you wear an all-black dress to an event, but respectable and serious if you wear the same dress to a funeral. Investing in a basic black tank and jeans is one of the best wardrobe choices one can make. Just remember to keep a lint roller handy!


Red remains one of the most expressive and bold colors on the spectrum. Red often evokes intense emotions, and is a great color to wear if you want to feel lustful and attractive. While red is an inherently sexual color, it doesn’t have to be all about romance. Red can boost confidence and make you feel powerful.

Red can make you appear: Attractive and desirable, assertive and goal-oriented, aggressive, and bold

There has been extensive research into the psychology of the color red over the past few decades. For psychological responses, there is an interesting contrast between physical attraction and aggression, according to BBC. Red is often associated with passion and confidence making it a great choice for a romantic night out, or simply to boost your self-esteem.  


Green is a primary color that has a primitive relationship with nature. Green is often used in branding and logos to promote a sense of freshness and rejuvenation, which can represent stability and safety. 

Green can make you appear: Down to earth, sincere and trustworthy, calm, fresh, and friendly.  

If you want to appear sincere and trustworthy, or if you want to give off a casual vibe, wearing green is the way to go. Green is also associated with luck and good fortune, so it may be a good choice for a job interview or other important events. Wearing green can also be a great way to show support for environmental causes or charities.


Unlike its complementary color of red, blue symbolizes serenity and calmness rather than passion and lust. When asked to think of a calming place, more often than not, people think of the ocean. Blue represents inner reflection, peacefulness, sincerity, compassion, and sympathy. Why do you think doctors and nurses often opt for blue scrubs? 

Blue makes you appear: Sympathetic, warm and compassionate, sincere, peaceful, and imaginative 

 Blue is also associated with trust and reliability, making it a great choice for professionals. Additionally, blue can help to reduce stress and anxiety, making it an ideal color to wear in the workplace.


Yellow is the brightest color on the spectrum; often, we associate this color with sunlight and summertime. Yellow is often used to attract attention (think of a yield sign), because it’s the most visible color to the human eye. It is also a color that is associated with optimism and cheerfulness. Yellow is associated with fresh ideas, productivity, happiness, and creativity. Studies have linked the color yellow with increased activity, enhanced mental capacity, and heightened awarenes.:

With that being said, wearing yellow can make you come across as: Positive/happy, successful, intelligent, warm, and loyal

In addition to making you appear happy and warm, wearing yellow can also enhance your productivity and mental capacity. So wear yellow if you are in a work funk and need an extra boost of motivation, or if you simply want more serotonin in your life. 


Similar to yellow and red, oranges can stir up strong emotions. Orange is often associated with persuasiveness, optimism, and cheerfulness. Studies have shown that oranges can suggest strong feelings such as love or even dominance. Orange borders the line of both intensity and positivity. 

Orange can be perceived as: Happy/positive, ambitious, creative, and enthusiastic. 

 Orange can also evoke a sense of extraversion and creativity. It can help reduce anxiety and make you feel more confident in social situations. Orange is the perfect color for anyone looking to boost their mood.


Pink is known as the most gentle and soft color on the spectrum. Pink is often associated with love, vulnerability, youth, hope, optimism, and femininity. 

The color pink is one of the least threatening colors on the color wheel; while there are different shades and tones, wearing any kind of pink can portray you as: Innocent, kind, youthful, feminine, optimistic, naive, gentle, and nurturing 

While pink is a lovely, calm color, our brains interpret pink the same way we do red (just a little less intensly.) Pink is a very interesting color as it evokes strong emotions while subtly conveying innocence, youngness, sweetness, and femininity. 


The color purple combines the colors blue and red beautifully. Purple creates an aesthetic effect that is somewhere in between the sensations of red and blue. Purple is often associated with royalty, luxury, and power. The red tones of purple pull out the tangible aspects of wealth, money, energy, and ambition. Unlike red, blue tones create feelings of wisdom and power through relaxation and stability. 

If you wear purple, you will come across as: Wealthy, luxurious, ambitious, independent, and mysterious. 

Purple is a color that demands attention and signifies individuality, it is also a symbol of creativity and passion; So wear purple to show your creative side. Purple is also associated with wealth and opulence, which makes it the perfect color for a luxurious look.


Moving on to a more serious and grounding color, we arrive at brown. There are many shades and hues of brown, but most of the time, our feelings about brown remain the same. Brown symbolizes stability and security, as it is often associated with the earth and natural elements. It is a sign of stability and security, suggesting that you can rely on it. When you think of brown, you may think of a parental figure or a teacher, someone who you know you can trust. 

Brown can often provoke feelings of: Calmness, respect, dependability, resilience, and honesty. 

Brown is a color that doesn’t draw much attention as it is associated with nature and natural elements, providing a sense of comfort and reassurance. It’s a great choice for those wanting to feel grounded and secure. 

When it comes to clothing color, you can experiment in any way you like. Color perceptions and opinions differ from person to person, so this will not be a 100% accurate assessment. At the end of the day, color and clothing should make you feel good about yourself, but if you want an extra boost of confidence or look professional, consider the psychology and perception of colors.

 We often put so much pressure on how we appear to others; now that you have the knowledge of color theory under your belt, getting dressed may be more manageable. As we discussed how colors will appear to others, we forgot to talk about the most important factor of all: how you feel wearing certain clothing colors. We spend most of our lives in clothing, which is why your number one priority should be to wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable with your body. And remember, it’s never too late to try something new! Go put your newfound knowledge to good use, and have fun getting dressed (…or not, that’s none of my business).

Hi my name is Hadley, and I'm a Sophomore. When I'm not writing for Her Campus I'm usually reading, hanging out with friends, or binge watching TV shows on Netflix