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You are what you wear – the psychology of colour.

You are what you wear – the psychology of colour.

The colour you wear affects your mood and other people’s first impressions.

Seasoned fashion writer and author of Wardrobe 101 Dijanna Mulhearn, has extensively researched the subliminal messages our clothing sends. Along with authoring a number of books on the topic of practical fashion, she has worked with major Australian and international brands helping them create the right corporate image.

“What you wear makes suggestions about your moods, your aspirations and your attention to detail,” Dijanna says. “To send the right messages, you need to be sure of who your audience is and exactly what you want your personal style to say.”

Clients will have expectations of you and at the bare minimum you should look the part so they can feel confident, comfortable and understood.

Dijanna’s advice to real estate agents? “While a polished appearance is always recommended, make sure your appearance reflects your clients’ best interests, rather than what your ego dictates,” she says. “Is your target market looking for a slick professional or someone who understands the needs of a hard-working family?”

They’re not going to ‘read into’ your look in a literal way, but your style presents subconscious suggestions that will register as a gut instinct. If the way you dress makes clients uneasy, you will have to work harder to gain common ground.

Dijanna shares her top colour tips for real estate agents. Know what your colour choices say about you!

Blue

This colour is a worldwide favourite for good reason. Dark blue represents trust, authority and stability (consider the fact that most police uniforms around the world are blue). “Lighter shades of blue suggest creativity and open mindedness,” Dijanna says, “so in a sales environment where the trust factor is important, you can marry a darker shade with a certain level of creativity to appear more dynamic.”

Red

This colour inspires action, whether it’s passion or rage. A pop of red will get you attention and say you are a go-getter, but Dijanna warns that you should avoid wearing too much red as it can come across as aggressive.

Orange

Research implies that orange inspires happiness in the modern western world. The risk of going overboard on this vibrant tone in your wardrobe is that you can come across as flippant or garish, so go with moderation.

Yellow

According to Dijanna yellow is an an upbeat colour that brings smiles, but only in the short term. “Over time yellow tires the eyes and becomes an irritant,” Dijanna explains, “to make a quick, sharp impression – go with this tone. If it is a lengthy meeting, steer clear.”

Purple

This colour isn’t the best choice for real estate agents. A clean shade of purple can be seen as regal but a deeper or darker shade is often interpreted as mystical and esoteric. It is not the best match for someone who should be seen to deal in facts.

Black

Black can send conflicting messages depending on how you wear it. “In order to look chic, black needs to be sharp and tailored. This shade can be used as a serious base, however all black can be seen as sinister. Never wear slouchy or shapeless black in front of a client, it comes across as lazy or even worse, gives the impression you are hiding something.”

For a foolproof ‘psychology of colour’ strategy, Dijanna recommends dressing in a classic base colour like black, blue, grey or white and then adding a shot of colour or a print. If you want to incorporate a third colour for depth, make sure it ties back to the base colour and the highlight colour (or print) to complete the look.

Real estate is all about image. Give the right first impression through your wardrobe and personal style, then rely on your industry knowledge and experience to create lasting relationships with your clients.

Fashion author and consultant Dijanna Mulhearn. Book series 'Wardrobe 101'.
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