Home Articles Don’t dress to depress! Your backstage guide to influencing clients through contrast

Don’t dress to depress! Your backstage guide to influencing clients through contrast


Have you ever wondered which techniques musicians and actors use to fiercely dominate their genre and influence their fan base?

After all, if you knew what they were and how to apply them, they could dramatically increase your sales, help you attract much needed media exposure and command ‘instant’ attention in your niche quite literally overnight.

Fortunately for you, here’s your backstage VIP pass to one of the secret formulas the well known use to command influence and attention.

Commanding attention & influencing your market through your attire

The first step to influencing large groups of individuals is to understand how your physical appearance can shift perception within an instant.

For example, most politicians know this and use it whenever in the public eye by wearing soft blues, proven to build rapport and gain trust. (I say ‘most’ given recent and already well publicised political fashion faux pas. Did someone say Budgie Smuggler?)

Colour doesn’t only affect how others view us but contrast in colour combinations can also dramatically shift impressions within your target audience.

Contrast is a key component when managing your impressions in any marketplace. The observer’s mind picks up on contrast (colour variation) and quite literally awakens to the stimuli provided by your attire.

The outcome is the wearer being remembered, taken notice of and listened to when high-contrast clothing combinations are worn.

However, when low-contrast combinations are adorned, it quite frequently results in the wearer becoming invisible and disappearing into the background – not great when you’re trying to make sales and stand out in your industry.

High Contrast: Show them who’s top dog

High-contrast clothing combinations include bright combined with dark or bright combined with bright.

For example, the highest contrast for corporate wear is the striking black or dark navy suit teamed with a white shirt and dark tie. However this can be toned down for your specific environment by wearing more casual clothes that still demonstrate contrast through the ‘high’ variation in colour (i.e. red on brown = high contrast, opposed to brown on brown = low contrast = low influence).

This style of dressing can make others feel mediocre and will have you screaming at the top of your lungs, “Bow down, my minions!”

Okay, so not really. However this style is most suitable in situations where you require others to truly listen to your message and what you have to say.

Subconsciously they won’t know why they’re hanging onto every word, but they will hang on – just back it up with something profound to say and you will have found a winning combination.

Medium Contrast: Appear welcoming and approachable

Medium-contrast combinations are the most socially responsible.

They are welcoming and make the wearer appear easygoing and sociable yet still influential – although not as influential as the high ‘c’ combination.

Use medium contrast for environments that require you to appear ‘approachable.’

Medium-contrast combinations include light/medium or dark/medium variations in colour.

Picture light grey pinstripe suit with white/blue shirt – the combination is non-offensive and welcoming in nature. Or, alternatively khaki pants with a black polo top for the men.

Low Contrast: ‘Wear’ the hell did you go?

If you’re having an ugly day, and God knows we all have them from time to time, and you want to hide from the crowds of manic fans, low contrast is your best bet.

Low-contrast combinations are where there is minor or no colour difference between garments. The good old favourite for those that want to hide from the paparazzi (or the debt collector) is black on black, such as black pants with a black shirt.

Low contrast can at times be seen as ‘on trend’, even fashionable.

In situations where you require high influence, it renders the wearer as unimpressive. Not a great combo when you’re trying to score yourself a date, get your partner to look up from the television at you or convert a new client.

But I don’t judge others by what they wear!

Oh, excuse me – Who are you trying to kid! The day that we stop choosing our life partners partly based on physical attraction, is the day that I will believe that you don’t judge others on the way that they look in a work context.

We all want to be judged based on who we are and our skill set. However, this is not always possible. If most people only get the chance to see your clothes (and not you), the messages that your clothes send and the messages that you deliver verbally need to be in alignment for ‘true’ impact.

These techniques aren’t for the fainthearted and are employed on a daily basis by those in the know who need to command influence and gain their audience’s attention ‘instantly’. Watch the news tonight and you will see what I mean.

Ben Angel is the author of the new controversial book, Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing More Customers. Go to www.benangel.com.au to grab your copy today.

Image by Martin Kingsley