The quandary of the red dress

Power colors have very real effects on perception, especially first impressions. Red is often described as an action color or a color which demands attention. Its an emotional color which can be linked to passion and excitement.

With all that being said, I don’t wear a lot of red generally. The closest I normally get is a lovely magenta or raspberry. Enter Gwynnie Bee. I closeted a red dress… and they sent it. This is the model wearing it, but the photo doesn’t quite do it justice.

London Times for Gwynnie Bee

When I received the dress, I immediately started plotting when I could wear it. Its much too pretty for a casual day at work. It has an appropriate neckline for a more formal occasion, while the eyelet overlay adds an air of casualness. The fit and flare silhouette flatters without clinging, and the belt draws attention to the waist. Accessories here make a difference. Classic, minimal jewelry for a more formal occasion, or large bright accessories for a more fun vibe.

And then I received a phone call from the writing center. They wanted me to interview with them on Tuesday. The perfect occasion arrived! Red is a great color to wear to an interview… right?

And then my mind started working. Red is an uncomfortable color for me to wear, possibly because of the attention it draws. But isn’t an interview all about attracting attention? Does ‘scientific editor’ qualify as a job that would appreciate a passionate color? Will such a dress give my interviewer a poor impression of my professionalism? I have really been struggling with this. I love the way the dress looks, but I would like to leave the appropriate impression on my interviewer, whatever that is.

I also have to wonder if I would be worrying about color so much as a male. I haven’t answered that question, but I read enough accounts of subtle, micro-sexism that it makes me wonder if my reluctance is based on a desire to fall into the background, even as I’m pushing myself to be successful in a new role.

Food for thought. If anyone has thoughts about wearing such a dress to an interview as a writing center editor at a university, feel free to chime in!

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