Clothes really do make a difference.
Today, I’ll focus on clothes and the color red: Red conveys energy, passion, and sex. It makes men more attractive to women. It makes women more attractive to men. The abstract from one of the studies explains:
In Experiment 1, men who viewed an ostensible conversation partner in a red versus a green shirt chose to ask her more intimate questions. In Experiment 2, men who viewed an ostensible interaction partner in a red versus a blue shirt chose to sit closer to her. These effects were observed across participants’ perceptions of their own attractiveness (Experiment 1) and general activation and mood (Experiment 2). Our findings suggest that red acts as a basic, non-lexical prime, influencing reproduction-relevant behavior in like manner across species.
We demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing, and we additionally show that status perceptions are responsible for this red effect. The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion. Participants showed no awareness that the research focused on the influence of color. These findings indicate that color not only has aesthetic value but can carry meaning and impact psychological functioning in subtle, important, and provocative ways.
For those who hitchhike:
In a different study, researchers found that wearing red helps hitchhikers get picked up. Women who were wearing red solicited a higher response in the number of male drivers who stopped to offer them a ride. Unfortunately, the same effect could not be replicated with female drivers.
According to Hill and Barton’s study, published in the prestigious science journal Nature in 2005, athletes dressed in red had a measurable advantage. This was particularly the case with Taekwondo, where competitors who were assigned to be on the red side or team won 57 percent of all match-ups. They found similar results for boxing as well, with boxers wearing red gloves and red shorts having a 55 percent victory quotient.
I think it’s pretty clear what we need to do now: Go out and buy some red clothes!!
“Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men.” Journal of Experimental Psychology. (2010)
“Red and romantic behavior in men viewing women.” European Journal of Social Psychology. (2010)