When I was a guest on The Rachael Ray Show, the producers gave me specific instructions on what to wear. "We need you in a solid, brightly colored top," they said upon my arrival. Looking down at my own business-like black garb, I realized this meant a trip to a nearby department store to pick out a few shirts for the producers to choose from. While hunting amongst the racks of clothes, I heard someone read my mind.
"Excuse me," the voice said, "Can you help us find some solid, brightly colored shirts?" Peering over the racks, I saw 3 women, a grandmother, mother, and daughter, talking to the store clerk and walked over to approach them.
"Hey there, are you by any chance guests on the Rachael Ray Show too?" I asked.
"Oh us? No, we're in the audience!" they replied.
They explained that the audience members are instructed to wear solid, bright colors as well. Watching my appearance later on TV, the reason for this "Rachael Ray-nbow" was abundantly evident. When the camera sweeps out over the applauding audience, the resulting mosaic of bright colors provides a dynamic landscape—making everyone look excited, fun, and happy—no matter what their facial expressions or body language is saying.
Whether we're alone or in groups, colors are an incredibly important part of how we're perceived. For example, people who dress in dark colors, such as all black, are frequently viewed as more powerful and authoritative (think Darth Vader). Conversely, lighter colors make you look more friendly and approachable. A boss trying to tighten the reins on her employees may want to dress in a black pantsuit, while one trying to appear more congenial will want to try a pastel, like light blue or green.
Colors can also influence our bodies and minds in strange ways. In the late 1970s, researchers discovered that a certain shade of pink had a marked effect on aggression. Two US Naval officers named Baker and Miller painted an admissions cell at the U.S. Naval a shade of pink that resembled Pepto-Bismol. After monitoring acts of aggression for those in the pink cell versus other cells, they found that prisoners held in the pink cell calmed down more quickly than their normal cell counterparts. This shade of pink, called Baker-Miller pink, had previously been credited with calming influences by a researcher named Alexander Schauss. According to a study published in 1981 by Schauss, following exposure to Baker-Miller pink participants experienced physiological changes including lower heart rates, breathing rates, and strength.
"How does this help me?" you may be asking yourself. "Should I drape myself in soothing salmon tones and coat my office walls with Pepto paint to keep everyone I encounter as calm as can be?" Obviously not. However you can use this information to boost your bottom line, particularly if you're in sales.
Sales pitches are often high-pressure, stressful situations for potential buyers, who can feel imprisoned by pushy salesmen. If you're worried you come off as brash or heavy-handed, try wearing a pink tie with a pink shirt to soften your appearance. Women can do the same with a pink blouse or polo. The pink-on-pink sends soothing signals, creating a more comfortable buying atmosphere.
Remember: wear pink and you'll get more green!