Last week: I’m in my Oakland home, preparing for a meeting that could lead to a massive partnership for Girls in Tech. The meeting I’m attending includes the CEO of a prominent women’s lifestyle brand and her senior entourage. While I don’t feel nervous for the meeting, I can’t deny that it’s a big day. So, when rifling through my rainbow-colored closet for what to wear, I felt immediately drawn to red. Anything red.
No, this wasn’t because I was “seeing red” or feeling romantic. It’s because I knew I had to give it my all in a meeting, and on days like that, I wear red because it’s my power color. It’s the color I wear when I feel like I have something to say, and when I want to make a statement.
It’s not about red. It’s about how red makes me feel.
People tend to associate red with passion, with boldness, with big ideas. It’s not the color you wear when you want to hide in the back of a conference room; it’s not the color you wear if you speak softly; it’s not for tiptoeing around serious discussions. Red makes an entrance; red is forward-thinking; red says, “I dare you.” Blanketing myself in not-subtle-whatsoever red gives me an inner, instant confidence boost. It sets my energy on turbo; it makes me feel like I’m the woman I’ve always wanted to be. When I wear it, I power through my day, look people in the eye and—maybe—my handshake is just a little bit firmer.
Is it all in my head? Maybe. But I don’t care—because it works. Red’s my jam.
A color for every mood
I’ve got other color weapons up my sleeve, too. Green is my all-time fave. Who doesn’t feel good wearing green or being around green things? It’s why nature makes us feel warm and fuzzy. Green is lively, it’s cheerful, it’s clean. And then there’s bright, brilliant blue. Blue gives me 10 years back on my life. It’s wide open skies and purity and all play.
Just as these colors uplift me, I notice that black and gray can have the opposite impact. There’s a certain dullness to black. It’s corporate. It’s safe. It’s all rules and serious discussion; heavy-worded contracts, endings. Bad news.
Find your color.
I had a friend in college who wore the same blue dress every time she had an exam. Unlike a lot of students who dragged themselves to class in sweat pants—or whatever they could find that was clean—this girl wore that blue dress, every time. Why? She tested better when she wore it. She felt put together. She felt like she knew her shit. And that’s hard to argue.
Wear colors that make you feel confident, secure, and happy. Your color doesn’t have to be red and if it’s black, so be it. But try to take note of how you feel when you’re wearing certain things and certain colors. So much of your work day’s success is rooted in how you feel and what your attitude is. If you know something makes you feel good or makes you over-perform, then wear it! Why wouldn’t you?