From Burgundy Socks To Maroon Neckties: Using Red As An Accent Color
Have you ever wondered why fire trucks and stop signs are red? Well, there is a reason red is used for such items: the color grabs our attention. It demands to be noticed and forces us to stop what we are doing and make note of that thing covered in red. If you already react to red in this way, just imagine what that color can do when you add it to your wardrobe. If you do it right, you will not be ignored.
Red does not blend into the crowd. Wearing red is a bit like having a siren sounding as you enter a room. Everyone will stop what they are doing to take a look. Not a glance. Red makes any outfit scream for attention. If you are an outgoing person, wearing red could be your go-to color to get your way, depending on the setting and the purpose of the event you are attending. But make no mistake, red is your friend. Let’s take a look at how you can use the many different shades of red to your advantage without being a fire engine.
The Science of Wearing Red
According to a study conducted in 2014 and published in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing, wearing red makes you appear to be more persuasive. Here’s what the study revealed: a male made a presentation to a room full of people. The presentation was made several times with just one difference – he wore a red sweater once and then repeated the presentation wearing a white sweater.
Then he did it two more times, but wore a dark suit with a red tie one last time with a blue tie. The audience rated the presenter after each presentation. When he wore red in his outfit, he was believed to be “more accurate” on his topic than when he did without red in his outfit.
The color red made the presenter seem more reliable, authentic, and persuasive. Lawyers have been using this trick for quite some time. Analyses of trials show that when male witnesses wear a dark suit paired with a white shirt and red tie the result of the court case is often favorable.
Color scientists show red as a trigger of our subconscious danger response, the fight-or-flight reaction. Red elicits a greater response than any other color in the spectrum. But even though red tends to get attention, don’t expect it to work on everyone. If you were considering wearing a red tie when asking for a raise or promotion, don’t be too alarmed if that trick doesn’t produce the desired effect. It might, but it also might not.
Using Red as an Accent Color
How much red do you need to trigger those responses from the people around you? Just a little. For example, a red tie or pocket square is all you need to get yourself noticed. Here are a few tips on how to make red pop in your wardrobe.
1 – Seek the Right Shade of Red
Of the tips listed here, this one is probably the most important. Before you start adding red to your wardrobe, you have to take into consideration your skin tone. You may lean towards crimson but find that burgundy or ruby red or an orange-red combination works best for your complexion. And, of course, that tone will change if you get tanned or happen to have a pale hue from being in self-isolation so long during the pandemic. Having various reds in your closet will come in handy sooner or later.
2 – Mix Reds With Clean Whites
As you probably already know, contrasting colors work best. There is something about red that looks best with white. Maybe it reminds us of ambulances or that stop signs are always outlined in white with the word “STOP” in white. White allows red to stand out while creating a pleasing combination for the eye. If you are not trying to blind someone with your clothing choice, red on white is not only safe, but it gets the job done without being pushy about it.
3 – You Can Wear It Top-to-Bottom
One of the best things about red is that you can use varied shades of it to create the right fit for anything you choose to wear. You could have a bright scarlet scarf, a Salmon pink shirt, barn red shoes, rusty red slacks, pink tie, and a burgundy pair of socks and wear all of these items together and still look good. Burgundy socks, for example, can add a subtle pop of color without being too dramatic. No Cold Feet’s advice is helpful if you want to expand your sock wardrobe.
4 – Match the Christmas Colors
Green is one color that certainly goes well with red. We call red and green the Christmas colors because they are typically paired together at that time of year. You know, red decorations on a green Christmas tree. What makes this combination stand out is the pairing of the correct shades of red and green. The simple, easy match is to go with a pine tree green and a fire engine red. You can go a bit lighter with the green but your red still needs to be bright, not in the pink end of the scale.
5 – Use It As A Statement
If you are not brave enough to go all out and wear red as the dominant color of your outfit, you can go the other direction and use it to make a bold statement. Women do this with lipstick. You’ve probably been mesmerized by the sight. You know, a female co-worker all in black and wearing a bright shade of red – possibly blood red – on her lips. It makes a definite statement. You can do the same with a bright red tie over your clean white shirt. Or opt for red shoes to go with Earth tones from your ankles up.
6 – Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
One unique property of red is that you can’t mess up with it in your wardrobe. That’s because red can work with your personality. If you are outgoing, loud and the focus of attention wherever you go, bright reds will be your best friends. Even if you are a little tamer than that, why not give your personality a shake-up by wearing some loud and noisy red for a change? You may like what it does to your wardrobe and, according to science, you may become more persuasive for your trouble.
Of all the colors in the spectrum, red is the one that demands to be noticed. It triggers responses from our subconscious. Good news: when you use red to your advantage, you won’t get lost in the crowd. The odds are that the crowd will follow you wherever you go.