If it sounds silly to consider color when planning how you'll look when speaking, consider this: I once watched a woman speaking about an important issue--getting young women out to vote--on CNN. She wore what I think many women would consider to be an ideal outfit. Her red collarless blazer had strong shoulders and framed a cream-colored blouse and pearls. Her hair, a pale blonde shade, almost matched the blouse...and so did her skin tone. She wore almost no makeup.
And here's what I saw: A red blob on either side, bleeding at the edges (as red sometimes does on television), with a ghost-like presence in the center. Her face and torso (aside from the blazer) were so monochromatic and pale that she almost was invisible. Her suit completely overshadowed her self, at least visually.
Here's a bolder example: Many observers were startled when photos came out before the Democratic National Convention in 2008 of Hillary Clinton staffers holding up suits of different colors against the blue backdrop that would be behind her. But it was a smart move, color-wise. Clinton ultimately chose a bold orange suit, one that not only complemented her coloring, but stood out against the blue and enlivened the picture. (Blue and orange are opposite one another on the color wheel, which means they're most energetic when paired together.) Here's video of Clinton in that suit, with that background:
Women will encounter color challenges more than men, given the wider range of colors they can wear--and that can be a plus or a minus. Here's some guidance that will work for both men and women:
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