Should You Always Bet On Black?


Lots of people live in black clothes but don't be afraid to branch out to other colors. 100/Getty Images“Lots of people live in black clothes but don’t be afraid to branch out to other colors. 100/Getty Images

Pressure-cooker situations like job interviews, major meetings and first dates are supposed to be all about internal attributes such as intelligence, wit and charm … but who are we kidding, really? What matters most is the color you choose to wear.

One informal survey in the U.K. tried to get the true opinions of a thousand people in regard to color choices. Buytshirtsonline, an online clothing supplier and T-shirt printer was behind it. Not surprisingly, black was the No. 1 preference for just about any event or occasion, including job interviews, first dates, funerals, weddings, even "away football matches."

This comes despite the hue’s longtime association with death and sadness. The winning placement was probably thanks to its reputation for being “slimming,” as well as society’s ongoing love affair with the “little black dress.” Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said black helps people to feel confident, which is why it’s ideal for stressful situations.

On the other end of the spectrum, the colors the respondents picked least for these important events were brown, orange and pink. In particular, pink was singled out for giving off an air of frivolity, even a lack of intelligence. Ouch.

“It is sad that pink is getting such a bad rap,” says Ginger Burr, color expert and president of Total Image Consultants via an email interview. “It depends on how you style it and whether it looks good on you.”

Burr is also not so quick to dismiss brown and orange. “When worn well, brown engenders responsibility and dependability,” says Burr. “While I generally would not recommend wearing an entire outfit in orange for a job interview, a hint of it in a print or a top under a jacket in the appropriate shade for your skin tone can add a down-to-earth or creative feeling to an outfit, and that can help you stand out in a positive way from the competition.”

Besides, not all of us look good in black. "I would never recommend that everyone wear black to a job interview or, worse, a date! One person might shine in black and someone else will look intimidating or washed out," adds Burr. "For one client of mine we chose a soft mint green top for a first date and her date told her she looked even more beautiful than her picture."

You don’t have to stick to black for weddings either, though there are some color rules that still apply. “Red and white are not appropriate,” explains Tiffany Gore, of Canton, Georgia, who has coordinated more than 100 weddings. “More appropriate and elegant choices include royal blue, eggplant or even silver.”

But the most important fashion rule was pronounced by Nina Malloy, of Washington, D.C.: Just don’t grab all the attention. "It’s the bride’s day, not yours."

Now That’s Cool

The perfect colors will vary based on the color of a person’s hair, skin, eyes and their personality, but expert Ginger Burr says these four hues look great on nearly everyone: forest green, rich teal, deep periwinkle and watermelon.


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