A recent survey taken by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) revealed that 56% of the respondents said that they wore black to work most of the time. Eight per cent wore gray, brown or another neutral. Only 1.61% said they wore something bright most of the time.
The four women in the top center photo above are dressed nearly identically: black suit, white shirt, and black heels. There is nothing to differentiate one from the other. They could all be members of the secretarial pool or administrative assistants. None of them appear to be executives.
If black is your “uniform” for the office, you need to know a few things so you won’t look like a nondescript robot.
First, wear lipstick when you wear black. Black is the darkest color of all, so it will wear you unless you have even the tiniest amount of “bright” color nearby. It’s like lighting one candle in a dark room and, voila, the darkness is gone. When you wear black, the severity is gone. Compare the two women with lipstick in the top photo to the two women in the bottom photo who wear no lipstick. In the bottom photo, the woman in the center stands out. She looks polished, professional and highly credible. The two women who flank her look washed out and ordinary.
Of course, hair is also a factor when it comes to conveying an image of authority or credibility. If you have long hair, make sure it doesn’t hang limply; otherwise, pull it back at the nape of the neck – not in a ponytail.
Second, if you want to augment your power, add a pair of bold earrings, or a bold necklace or brooch.
If black is your office uniform, make certain you look like a general, not a PFC.