Think of a fitted red dress. What kind of person is the first to pop up in your mind wearing that dress? Probably a seductress, or some kind of steamy, sexy woman? Why do most people think sexy when they see a red dress? Because red is associated with passionate love, overflowing power, lust, excitement, liberation, emergency, blood- all things that make your heart race and your blood pressure rise (which red has actually been found to do!)
The colors that someone wears affects our perception of them. Movies realize this and have dressed their characters accordingly. For example, think of Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” She is the image of a sultry vixen, with her voluptuous figure highlighted in a flashy, sequined red dress that’s more a second skin than a dress. She can’t walk past any man without having their jaws drop to the ground and steam pour out of their ears. In the “Matrix,” Neo is distracted by a captivating woman in a red dress during a simulation.
Two University of Rochester psychologists, Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta, found in a study that the color red makes men more attracted to women. In their experiments, they showed men a photograph of a woman and asked them to rate her attractiveness. In some photos, the woman was wearing a red shirt. In others, the same woman was wearing a blue shirt. The woman in the red shirt was consistently rated more attractive and sexually desirable than the same woman in a blue shirt. Guys were also more interested in dating the red-shirted woman, as well as wanting to spend more money on her in a date. When the men were asked if the color of the woman’s shirt influenced their decisions, none said it did. This shows that color indeed influences our opinions in a subconscious way.
But, there might be a more primitive reason for red being attractive. Research shows that male primates are particularly attracted to females who display red. Female baboons and chimpanzees turn red when they’re nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal to attract males. Another theory is that back in the day of cavemen, red signaled that you were healthy and still had blood pumping in you- that you weren’t dead. It signaled that a cave-babe wasn’t sick and capable of being a healthy mother.
But, it’s not only men that are more attracted to red. A recent study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that women found men in red clothing more attractive and desirable. Ladies subconsciously saw men wearing red as having a higher status and earning a good salary.
Whether conjuring up thoughts of pouty red lips, police sirens, fire, or a matador’s cape, it can’t be denied that red attracts, repels, elevates, and enrages. Try wearing red or bring it into your home or accessories and see how differently you feel and the world reacts to you!