Shirt Colour Psychology 101

December 17th, 2015

What does Your Shirt Colour say about you?

Colour can have a major impact on how we feel. On a very deep psychological level colours affect our mood, our perceptions of other people and even the decisions that we make.

It’s no surprise then that colour is used to psychologically affect people both positively and negatively – from sports teams painting the away changing room pink (pink promotes tiredness) to politicians wearing red to show decisiveness and passion.

Clearly, colour psychology in shirts and ties is something that politicians and businessmen put a great deal of thought into. So how can you use colour to benefit you in your profession and social life? Whether you are a lawyer, fitness coach or a social butterfly, getting to grips with what your shirt colour says about you will help you to get ahead.

Here we run through seven key colours, and how shirt colour psychology can affect how clients, colleagues and even friends subconsciously perceive you as a result.

The Psychology of Blue Shirts

blue shirt

As one of the most popular colours in the spectrum, blue is generally a very safe option. The colour of the sky and the sea, blue conjures up thoughts of serenity and relaxation.

As a result, blue is one of the most common shirt colours that you are likely to see. Very frequently used in work uniforms, blue can make people perceive you as down to earth and trustworthy. In an office environment it can make you appear calm, composed and productive.

On the other side of the coin however, it can appear slightly passive or submissive. It is not generally a colour that instils much authority, making it a less beneficial choice for managers or someone guiding a meeting.

If you do want to command a little more respect in blue, it is better to go for darker shades of royal blue or navy.

The Psychology of Red Shirts

red shirt

It is fairly commonly accepted that red is the colour of passion, but this goes far beyond the romantic aspects of it. Think anger, strength and excitement. The vividness of red makes it a little startling – like a flag to a bull – but also can be very stimulating and motivating.

Representative of masculine energy – and bizarrely even hunger – red shirts should be worn to show drive and determination. If you are a team leader, or perhaps a motivational speaker, then vibrant reds should be a big player in your wardrobe.

It can take a confident person to pull off red effectively, so if you are more of a wallflower then you’re likely to stand out more like a sore thumb than a superstar. If you are wearing red on a night out, then you had better be witty, confident or a great dancer.

The Psychology of White Shirts

white shirt

The staple of the professional. There are more shirts produced in white around the world than any colour. A shade – as opposed to a colour – white’s neutrality makes it a very measured and respectable choice as a shirt colour.

In contrast to most shirt colour choices, white always appears very neat and that is likely how people will perceive you. Wearing white will make you appear respectable, organised and in a professional capacity, very capable. This is why white is so commonly the uniform of managers.

So if you are looking to appear as the gallantly pure, tidy and respectable gentleman, you won’t go far wrong with a white shirt.

The Psychology of Black Shirts

black shirt

A very bold choice, and the fact that black is a shade and not a colour takes nothing away from its impact.

Naturally slimming, black shirts can make you appear more dynamic but also more naturally masculine and authoritative. Like red, it is a confident choice in shirt colour but with a little more sophistication. A positive choice for personal trainers or business owners.

If you are going on a date however, you might want to rethink wearing black. While it has many positive qualities, black is also commonly associated with distance and deceit. You might start to come across as more arrogant than sophisticated if you’re not careful.

The Psychology of Yellow Shirts

yellow shirt

While many children will profess to yellow being their favourite colour, it can be a little different in the context of a shirt for an adult.

While it can naturally make you appear very cheerful and optimistic it can be a slightly startling choice in the workplace, making you more likely to seem impatient or impulsive. Choosing a more neutral shade however can appear very professional while still portraying a natural originality and confidence.

In a more social setting, yellow can be used in a broader range, showcasing a confident fun loving attitude and a lust for life.

The Psychology of Green Shirts

green shirt

The colour of nature, green is ‘literally’ the colour that is most easy on the eyes. The human eye actually processes the green part of the colour spectrum most easily making it a very calming colour choice.

In a work environment a green shirt can exhibit reliability and composure as well as thoughtfulness, making people more inclined to trust your opinions as well as your ability to meet deadlines.

Unfortunately, due to some of its negative connotations, such as with wealth and money, wearing green can – in some situations – make you appear materialistic, possessive or even greedy. On a date or night out, missing a drink or scrimping on a tip will be more keenly observed.

The Psychology of Purple Shirts

purple shirt

Throughout history purple has generally been seen as a very regal colour or that of religious figureheads. It’s a colour that seems to command respect but at the same time a certain element of creativity and imagination.

In business, purple shirts can paint you as unusual but individual. The unique vibe of the colour can make the wearer seem naturally more intuitive, creative and even a little more mysterious. Think fortune-tellers, gypsies or magicians and their common preference for purple.

As a result, wearing purple can be damaging if you want to appear authoritative, mature and organised. However, if you work in a creative industry it can have a much more positive impact. An artist can generally get away with more flair and extravagance in the first place but this can also work for graphic designers or someone working directly in fashion.

Even the minutest stimuli can have a remarkable impact on our perceptions, so when it comes to choosing a shirt there is a great deal more to think about than at first glance. Consider your personality when making a choice, as a shirt colour that reflects your positive attributes more keenly may unwittingly become a personal favourite.