Does Colour Matter?
What does colour mean to you?
‘The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.’ Coco Chanel
Do you think about what colours you wear and what it says about you?
The Queen of colour
By Eudora Pascall
It’s nearly the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State, acts as a focus for national identity, unity, stability and pride. Strictly neutral in political matters, she is known for her perfectionism.
70 years ago, the Queen quickly developed a signature style to reflect her opinions and leadership: block colour, one or two colours from head to toe. At 5ft3, she needed to stand out from the crowd. Her dressmakers make sure that every one of the 300 annual engagements hits the mark.
Colours have meaning and the Queen uses them to convey messages of leadership without speaking a word. At the 2011 State visit to Ireland, the first visit in 100 years she only wore green outfits apart from the State Banquet where she wore white. Green is the colour of Ireland, means balance and harmony. White means open mindedness and new beginnings. A visit of peace and renewal.
At Prince Phillip’s memorial service, she wore green and black with a touch of burgundy. Black means strength, authority and leadership. Red means power and confidence.
And what could wearing the right colour look like?
Years ago I remember being at a conference where there were 5 speakers on stage presenting, four men in dark suits and one woman in a red jacket. I saw how Dr Scilla Elworthy used colour to stand out and be taken seriously. Her white hair and red jacket stood out. Scilla had clearly thought in advance about how she wanted to come across both externally in what she wore and internally by speaking from her heart and being authentic. The topic was disarmament. The audience were captivated by her words.
‘Authenticity is more than speaking; Authenticity is also about doing. Every decision we make says something about who we are.’ Simon Sinek
What gets me up in the morning is helping people unknot their knots so that they understand what is holding them back from showing up as the best version of themselves in the world, both at work and at home. I love helping people step more authentically into who they are both internally, how they choose to experience and respond to situations and externally, what they choose to wear.
The reason I love doing this for others, is that I want to offer the support and learnings I wish someone else had given me when I was at my most darkest and lost. We can all find ourselves stuck in a mud-pit with no obvious way out but with the support and help from others there are always more options and choice than we initially think.
I remember I found it difficult to imagine myself stepping confidently back into the world of work as a single mother with a very young child. I was holding down two jobs and doing most of the childcare. I was exhausted and barely had time to get enough sleep let alone think about how I was showing up in the world. The turning point was when I realised that I was being bullied at work and allowing my ex-husband to push me around. I had no support from my immediate family. I felt alone in the world with an 18 month old daughter. I needed to do something radical to change the world I was experiencing. After doing personal development work and learning what colours and clothing style suited me, I started to show up differently in my world. I used the anger that interactions with my ex-husband invoked in me to find the strength to make big changes. I stood up to my line manager and changed jobs. I started to understand the emotions I was experiencing and realised I had options. I could decide how I responded to what I was experiencing.
Self guided activity – Take a moment for yourself
Open your wardrobe and look at what colours you are choosing to wear. What does it say about you?
What messages are your clothes saying about you
Do you know what colours suit you?
Are you showing up as your authentic self both internally and externally?
More about our work
Our work on Authentic Leadership looks at internal: how you show up and external: how what you wear reflects who you are. We use colour analysis, personal styling as well as coaching to help you communicate the authentic you. When your internal and external worlds are in harmony, and you step into your full potential.
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