Guys, curious if your date with thinks you’re hot? Check out the color of her clothes. If she’s wearing red, chances are she thinks your handsome.
A recent study finds that women wear red when they believe they’re meeting an attractive man and avoid the color when they're around men they aren't attracted to, proving women subconsciously use color to express romantic interest.
“We found that the link between red and female attractiveness may have implications for behaviors women use to attract highly desirable mates,” says Daniela Niesta Kayser, a professor of sociology at Potsdam University and an author of the study.
“Red simply draws the attention faster.”
Niesta Kayser asked 74 women attracted to men to have their pictures taken for a study. A follow-up email included a photo of either an attractive or unattractive male employee who would allegedly be at the lab on picture day. When the women arrived, they learned that the man they thought they were meeting wasn’t available. Another person took photos to capture the details of what the women wore.
Ladies who thought they were meeting the handsome man wore red clothes and makeup more often than chance would allow. And, they avoided red if they thought they were meeting with an unattractive man.
“These findings show that red has a special status in mating contexts — it is employed to possibly attract higher-quality mates…and perhaps actively avoided when low quality mates are present,” says Alex Jones, a psychology lecturer at Swansea University in Wales who’s not affiliated with the study.
The findings reinforce what experts already know about the color red. In lab settings, women pick red if they were told they were meeting an attractive man. But this paper shows that women in natural environments—with their entire wardrobes at their disposal — still chose red when meeting a hot guy.
So, what is it about red that makes people associate it with female attractiveness? Cultures have long associated red with sex — think red light districts or even red lipstick — and people inherently connect the two. A women wearing red simply seems sexier and stands out more.
Yet, Niesta Kayser says women should simply wear the colors they like. Red isn't going to predict a relationship's happiness or longevity.
“In the end, it is not the color which determines the chance of a date or a relationship — it might help though as an initial [catalyst].”