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Colour Psychology: Black and Red


Men are sometimes wary of using colour in their wardrobe; you’ll still find men who won’t wear a pink shirt or a shirt with colourful flowery patterns. For these men, the only items of colour tend to be their ties (if they wear one). However, a basic understanding of simple colour psychology may give you the confidence to not shy away from certain colours. This series on colour psychology will pair two colours that go well together starting with black and red.

Black and red are both seen as colours of authority and assertiveness. Either colour worn on its own gives out these signals; wear both colours together and you will appear one confident man.


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In colour psychology, black implies self-control, discipline, independence and a strong will. Wearing black exudes authority and power with a hint of mystery, remember the connotation “tall, dark and handsome?”. Black is considered to be a formal, sophisticated, elegant, and prestigious colour as in black tie event, black Mercedes, or the little black dress for women. A black outfit can also make you look like you have a slimmer body build as it hides your extra pounds.

On the other hand, red is a very emotionally intense colour. It captures attention and has very high visibility.


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Context plays a big part when using red. For instance, when red is placed on a black background, it glows; on a white background, it appears to have less of an impact; in contrast with orange, red appears unanimated. Notice how the red square appears larger on a black background or in combination.


If you wear a black shirt, keep it casual, as a formal black shirt may convey the wrong message. Charcoals and medium greys are more approachable than blacks.

Whether you are choosing a casual shirt, tie or pocket square, make sure you get the right red for your colouring. For example, raspberry and burgundy are blue-based, tomato and red orange are yellow based – some say that males are more attracted to the tomato reds while females to the berry reds. Wearing red with black will have an energising effect on you and those who see it – choose these colours if you want to make sure your point of view gets across.

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