We live in a coloured world. We wear colour, we choose colours to live with in our houses, we are surrounded by colour. It plays a vital role in our lives. It determines colour palettes for fashions, interior design, moods and emotional states. We can use colour to create illusion and as a symbol for our ideas and personality.
A study done by the University of Durham found that sporting teams who wore red uniforms consistently won more frequently. Their findings were based on a study of four sports at the Olympic games in 2004.
British anthropologists Russell Hill and Robert Barton of the University of Durham reached that conclusion by studying the outcomes of one-on-one boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman-wresting, and freestyle-wrestling matches at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
In each event Olympic staff randomly assigned red or blue clothing or body protection to competitors. When otherwise equally matched with their opponent in fitness and skill, athletes wearing red were more likely to win the bout. Then after the Olympics, they digitally manipulated the footage and got international standard judges to score these matches again, and again the sportsperson wearing red won statistically significantly more.
“Where there was a large point difference—presumably because one contestant was far superior to the other—colour had no effect on the outcome,” Barton said. “Where there was a small point difference, the effect of colour was sufficient to tip the balance.”
In equally matched bouts, the preponderance of red wins was great enough that it could not be attributed to chance, the anthropologists say. Hill and Barton found similar results in a review of the colours worn at the Euro 2004 international soccer tournament.
Another study from Cornell University found that professional sporting teams who wore black uniforms were considered more aggressive than those wearing light coloured uniforms, even when the two teams performed nearly identical actions. There were more penalties given to teams with black uniforms.
According to research (and there is a ton of fascinating research out there) on colour, one aspect of colour that is often forgotten, and it relates to why colour is so important, is that colour makes it easier for our brains to remember.
Whether it’s learning something new or remembering a person, a coloured experience is easier for our brains to remember.
Colour Makes You Memorable
Psychologists have shown that colour helps us to process and store visual information more efficiently than colourless experiences. The colours worn can positively or negatively affect how a person remembers you. Between 62%-90% of the visual impression is based on colour alone according to a few studies on branding and consumer decision buying processes.
What’s that got to do with you? Well, the clothes you wear are your packaging and in the workforce, or a job interview, your packaging counts as to whether or not you will be chosen.
Given that when you’re applying for jobs, or need to be noticed in your workplace and stand out from the crowd, you need to be remembered. Wearing colours that suit you and enhance you will gain you a more positive memory in the minds of others.
Which Outfit Grabs Your Attention?
You can see how the coloured outfit above is much more memorable, in fact you’d remember seeing it. The black and white one? You’d forget it as soon as it leaves the room.
Now we love neutrals, why? Well because we don’t remember them so much. That’s the point. They are a great basis for our supporting acts, those pieces that we want to wear day in and day out without them being noticed. That’s why black pants, and denim jeans are such wardrobe staples and workhorses. They have huge uses. This is why an Australian TV presenter could wear the same navy suit every day for a year, and the Uniform Project worked … when one woman wore the same black dress every day for a year.
What did you notice about this video? It wasn’t the black dress, but the other colours in accessories and other garments that it was teamed with.
Add a Splash of Colour to Every Outfit
Unless you are an undercover agent or a corporate spy who needs to disappear into the background and be forgotten, add a splash or a dash of colour to every outfit. You don’t have to wear a head to toe coloured outfit, but think about adding in colours in accessories or just one garment to be seen and memorable.
Even a small amount of colour in an outfit makes it more noticeable, particularly if it’s from the warm overtone side of the colour wheel as these have advancing properties.
See how the red top has a greater impact than the blue, making the outfit more memorable and exciting?
I know that one of the reasons many are scared of colour is that they just aren’t sure which are the right colours to choose for them, which is why a personal colour analysis is part of my 7 Steps to Style program (along with body shape analysis) so that you can choose the best shades, tints and tones to create a cohesive and harmonious wardrobe that works for you.