Wardrobe Colors Convey Subtle Messages
What irony! In the first Presidential Debate this week, Democrat Hillary Clinton wore red, the color symbolizing the Republican Party. And Republican Donald Trump trumped blue, the color representing the Democratic Party.
Beyond the very irony of the candidates’ color choices, as a certified color and image consultant I watched the presidential debate with a different eye, literally. I not only took note of the colors each candidate chose to wear but the intended meaning of those colors.
You can be certain their choice of colors was intentional, part of the branding and image-building process and emotional impact intended by their political advisors and image consultants.
Red for Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton chose a vivid red pantsuit, an excellent choice for a woman vying for a position of authority. The color red is THE most powerful of colors. It signifies leadership and authority. It also evokes stimulation, excitement, strength and vitality. And it is the color of nobility, as evidenced by the color of robes worn by cardinals and kings.
Note how different her color choice was from the Democratic Convention, during which she wore white. This color signifies empowerment, wholeness, purity, goodness, innocence, humility and understanding. The color white also symbolizes possibilities and new beginnings. Perhaps to soften her image, she chose white to represent wholeness, goodness and understanding.
But she may have chosen to wear white as homage to the National Woman’s Party and the suffragist movement. Along with purple and gold, white was one of the party’s three official colors in the U.S. According to the group’s early mission statement, “white, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose.”
Note that Geraldine Ferraro, the first female candidate for vice president of the United States, also wore white to the 1984 Democratic convention.
Blue Trumped by Trump
During the first presidential debate, “The Donald,” aka Donald Trump, wore a deep blue suit and a cobalt blue tie. The color blue signifies authority, trust and integrity, the deeper the color the more authority it conveys. It also symbolizes security and dependability, which is why it is the color of police and military uniforms.
Also note that Trump’s color choice of tie at the Republican Convention was red, symbolizing leadership, power and authority. And he has teamed the red tie with a black suit and crisp white shirt—a color combination that is THE most powerful palette trio of all: black, white and red. Perhaps in an effort to seem more trustworthy and dependable than powerful during the presidential debate, he chose blue.
Wouldn’t you agree that Clinton’s choice of the powerful, leader-oriented red and Trump’s choice of the dependable, trustworthy blue were excellent for the subtle psychological mages they were trying to convey?
Lesson learned: Color counts! Even in the presidential race. And isn’t it interesting that the candidates’ color choices are always red, white and blue?!