Recent research at California State University reveals that the fair-haired are rejected more often for jobs and paid less for top managerial positions. It has long been acknowledged that a dark suit conveys more authority than a lighter one. The same rule applies to hair. When two people are dressed similarly and are of the same approximate age, the one with the darker hair will command the most authority.

This doesn’t mean that all the fair-haired readers out there must dye their hair black in order to get ahead. What it does mean is that they must dress more authoritatively than their dark-haired counterparts. It is necessary to have a smartly-styled sophisticated hairstyle. Above all, clothing colors and styles must be more dynamic and powerful. Dark colors such as navy blue signal clout, but women can branch out into power colors such as red or magenta. They should also wear more powerful accessories. .

Unfortunately, the typical fair-haired man or woman does just the opposite. Men tend to wear tan suits, camel or soft brown sport jackets that “go” with their pale superficial appearance. They select shirts in “coordinated” soft pastels such as pink or Oxford blue, and ties in “matching” pastels or soft brown paisleys. It is not necessary to forego all “light” colors when it comes to suits. Tan summer suits can look more powerful with a French blue shirt (not too deep a shade, however) and bold yellow or red power tie. Just resist the urge to “match” your tan suit with “harmonizing” washed-out ties. In the winter, go for suits in power colors like navy blue or dark charcoal..

Women, in particular, veer toward colors that match the “pale and delicate” superficial appearance – colors such as pastel pink, peach and mauve. And the hairdo is usually soft and feminine looking, to “go” with the delicate appearance. Think of all the blondes you know. Do they have soft, feminine hairstyles? Do they usually wear pinks and other soft pastels? When I pick up popular magazines with photos of celebrities, it’s definitely what I typically see. At the August Emmy Awards in Hollywood, most of the blonde actresses were in pastels. Even though their gowns were spectacular, their personas paled (pun intended) in comparison to their counterparts in purple and red.

Women are drawn to pastels more so than men. If you are a fair-haired woman and wear pastels such as pink, consider this. Pink is, indeed a soft, feminine color, but pink exists in dynamic “power” versions as well as passive pastel shades. Try wearing fuchsia, magenta or shocking pink for a few days and see what happens. Don’t wear your new “power” color with your old makeup, however, or your fuchsia or magenta garment will wear you. Instead, go for harmony with your new colors and wear a brighter shade of pink lipstick. If you can muster up the courage, go for a fuchsia lipstick.

Keep in mind that it takes a week to get used to a “bright” lipstick when you’ve been wearing the popular brown-toned shades. However, it only takes a day to get used to compliments. Pink is pretty. And it is symbolic of love in color psychology, so it is actually the perfect lipstick color for fair-haired women. Brown tones, in fact, do not complement the fair-haired.

Many of the original “color” systems advocated pastels and other muted colors for the fair-haired. It sounded so logical that no one doubted that it worked. Experience and practice have shown that pastel hair and skin need contrast in order to be shown off effectively. Pastel garments do just the opposite. They produce a monotonous, monochromatic boring look. Like Communism, the original color systems sounded great on paper, but in reality, they simply don’t produce positive results.

It should be noted that two popular colors, yellow and white, are often judged to be pastels, but they do not produce the negative results that true pastels do. These colors result in just enough contrast with the fair-haired to make a difference. Cream and ivory are not as effective, nor is a very washed out yellow.

In corporate workshops over the past eighteen months, I have presented photos of four women, and I have asked the audience to identify the one with the most power. Three women have dark hair. One woman is a blonde. The blonde ALWAYS gets the votes. She is wearing fuchsia lipstick, bold earrings and a bold necklace. The brunettes are wearing no accessories and very pale lipstick. I rest my case.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Dumont is an image consultant with 30 years experience serving Fortune 500 companies as well as individuals. For more image tips, visit her website,