Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reconsider red in your speaker wardrobe

Featured on BlogHer.comDo you favor a red jacket or suit when you speak in public? Lots of women refer to their red jackets as their "power" outfits, and prefer them for public speaking, presentations and television appearances as a way to stand out. But do they know what they're communicating?

Red makes you sexy, dumb, attractive and repellant sums up a lot of research on how red is perceived when it's worn by women. Yes, it makes you more attractive in others' eyes, but it also can signal that you're interested in sex, or stress out your observers. There are positive and negative perceptions that have been measured, most of which aren't (I'm guessing) how you want to be seen or the impact you want to have on your audience.

But I've got them beat with a reason to reconsider red: Especially on camera--whether for a web video or television--red looks like it's "bleeding" or disintegrating around the edges. That's true whether you're wearing a red jacket or red lipstick. Opt for a saturated but less vibrant color close to your face, and a dark jacket for a crisp look on camera. If you have light hair or white hair, a dark jacket will give you a better frame as well.

Looking for famous speeches by women? Check out The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Women's Speeches, with a wide variety of women speakers, types of speeches and topics to inspire your next speech. Each one comes with lessons for speakers, plus video or audio and a transcript, where available.


Louise Armstrong said...

Oh no. As an introvert who has to speak in public occasionally, I've learned a lot of little tricks to look and feel more confident and less nervous. Wearing red is one of them although it's usually more about boosting my self-esteem (a kind of colour therapy) than aiming to look more powerful.

I'll certainly remember these tips for any on-camera appearances (which are even more nerve-wracking for me).

I have discovered your blog recently and I really enjoy it.

Denise Graveline said...

Louise, you sound like a lot of women I know, who choose red for how it makes them feel rather than thinking about how it makes them look. But you need not give it up entirely. Just think twice about using it where it defines an edge (like lipstick or a jacket). A red scarf or accessory probably isn't as much of a problem.

natural girl said...

I tend to opt for red underwear! Helps me feel powerfl and confident but not as confronting as a red outfit.

Dana Vickers Shelley said...

Great post, Denise -- and why I love blue (navy, royal blue, even purple). These are rich colors that complement many complexions and hair colors without "fighting" with technology.