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Suited and booted

The office can often be a sea of grey – possibly even 50 shades of, as the workplace fills with suits, skirts and trousers in varying greys, blacks, navy…. Nothing to inspire a productive working day there then. Nothing to draw attention to a happy, effective, successful worker. And nothing to inspire your customer to engage and buy. In short, another dreary day of office ‘uniform’. But what if a world of colour was hiding waiting to be discovered? What about a theory that says dressing in certain colours can help you work more effectively, get better results, sell more and inspire trust? Cue a lot of happy bosses!


With evidence that some up-styling or colour changing can impact positively on workplace success of all types, tapping into the technology is surely a no-brainer. A quarter of men and women (23%) agreed that seeing others in patterned and bright clothes made them feel happier in the workplace. One in 5 (21%) admit they admire fashion sense of colourful co-workers, whilst one in ten (11%) wished they had more confidence to copy them. And quoted a study in the London Times reporting 64% of directors said that women who wore make-up looked more professional.


Suited and booted in such dull shades is a stereotype for lawyers around the world. The nature of their work requires a sombre look and serious shades. Or does it?


To investigate this and brighten up their working look, 4 legal eagles from Worcester’s SME Solicitors took the plunge into the world of workplace styling and colour. Each felt there was scope to improve how they dressed for work and were interested to see if it made a difference. Samantha Lloyd, SME’s Head of Probate said: “Often business wear is worn as a uniform without any of the individuals’ personality showing through.”


The expert on hand is Jane Brook, herself a colour queen and stylist by trade. Jane has transformed business men and women into a better, more colourful version of themselves. “People are often scared of wearing too much colour,” Jane says. “Some colours can make us look ill, tired or even downright dodgy and that is not what we want in a solicitor! We expect our solicitors and accountants to be professionally dressed but sometimes that can look a little boring. Adding some colour can give off more positive messages.”


Jane says correct colour choices in clothes will add authority and wearing a great colour for your skin tone right under your chin will make you look healthier and younger as well as more professional, approachable and interesting. Time to cinch that deal!


During recent workshops with lawyers Yvonne Tivey, Stacey Humm, Samantha Lloyd and Elizabeth surname, Jane has identified what some of non verbal message they want to impart and encouraged them to each chose colours that work with their skin tones, and styles that suit their frame and shape.


SME’s Managing Partner Yvonne Tivey already uses the knowledge on a daily basis. “The psychology of colour has long been used in business, but only recently has it become something that individual workers can tap into in clothing and styling. I’m working hard to get away from an entirely black or grey suit and am steadily introducing more colour. According to Jane’s analysis, a bright blue is a fantastic shade for my skin tone, so I’ve bought a work jacket in this shade.”


SME’s Stacey Humm says: “I’m now wearing less black. I stand out more at business networking events and get more compliments! A stronger shade of lipstick or scarf are great ways to bring in colour.”


These findings are backed up by psychologist Sir Cary Cooper, a Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School, who has said wearing colourful work clothes tells people you are creative and want to be noticed. Sir Cary, 75, also said women tend to wear a splash of colour to improve their mood when they are feeling low.


And as if that wasn’t enough to make you rush out to buy new colourful work wear, British study has found men with a taste for colour in the office are more likely to receive pay rises and earn more promotions in their career. I a survey by the UK’s Case Station of 2,000 young professionals aged 18 to 34, 1 in 5 interviewed credited getting a promotion to wearing bright or colourful clothing. Meanwhile, 20% said colour helped in securing a pay raise.

Come and see our new colourful team!

Added: 04 Feb 2016 12:12

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