Are Women in Red More Attractive?

For many years now, women wearing red, whether it’s a red dress or red lipstick, have been seen as more attractive. The iconic red dress/red lipstick has become one of the world’s most famous sex symbols. In ancient times, red was a symbol of status and power which was considered sexy for women, kings throughout history were known to wear red robes, and even today red cars are very popular in that sense. Not to mention that love has been the color of romantic love across cultures and times, with Valentine’s Day as proof to that. Many studies over the past years have experimented with the nature and mechanisms of the associations between the color red and sexual attraction.

In a study done by Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta, two psychologists from the university of Rochester, they demonstrated that the color red makes men more attracted to women. The study tested this:

Ho: There is no relationship between women wearing red and attractiveness

Ha: There is no relationship between women wearing red and attractiveness

Their research consisted of 5 different experiments. The overall study took men and showed them photographs of women under a variety of different color appearances. One of the experiments had men look at a photo of a woman that was bordered with red or white and were asked different questions. They were asked questions similar to “how pretty do you think this woman is?” and “how attracted are you to this woman?”. The other experiments were the same, but included borders with either red or blue, red or green, and red or gray. The last study changed the colors of the women’s shirts instead of the boarder around their photo. When looking at the pictures of the women wearing either a red shirt or a different color shirt, they were asked more in depth questions such as “If you took this woman on a date and you had $100 dollars, how much of it would you spend on this woman?”. Examples of photos that were used are shown below.


The results of each condition that was tested showed that men were significantly more attracted to the women when they were wearing red or the border around the photo was red than the ones without red. The photos that they were showed even presented the same women in both red and other colors and the same woman was considered more attractive when associated with the color red. When in red, the women were also more likely to be asked on a date. Other studies have also found the same results, such as one in 2012 which involved restaurant customers. What was found was that men tipped higher to waitresses who wore red over the ones that wore white.


Despite these findings in men, the color red does not seem to have had the same effect on women when looking at other women or men in red. Similarly, red did not change how men viewed women in terms of kindness or intelligence, just in terms of attractiveness. The findings do however prove that when a woman who wear red are seen by men as available or interested, however, it does not mean that a woman is actually available or interested. Knowing this information and seeing how the color red makes women more attractive to men leads to questions about so many more things such as, “what colors have what effect on people?” or  “are there other colors that make women feel more powerful or attractive?”. After research this topic I think it is safe to say that I will be buying some more red clothes and lipstick this weekend.

Works Cited


2 thoughts on “Are Women in Red More Attractive?

  1. Gulianna E Garry

    I enjoyed your post about whether or not the color red did indeed have an effect on women. I loved how you took it a step further and talked about if it was vise versa. I read something about men also being attracted to women with red lipstick. I wonder if it has the same effect when men look at women wearing red. Overall, really good post and information!

  2. Taylor M Lender

    Great post Annalise! Early this morning, I was listing to YouTube videos when I was making breakfast, and this video was on cue and started playing. In this video “8 Features That Attract People The Most”, this Rochester study was mentioned at the end of the video! How strange that I came across this topic twice in one day? Since the color does not influence women’s perceived attractiveness of other men or women, I wonder if the color has an effect on men’s perceptions because of the way culture has marketed female sexuality? I think that the color red has been marketed as feminine and sex for so long that people see it as attractive. There could be ways that men present themselves that women find attractive only because we have been told to by marketing.

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