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How to Get a Man or Woman Attracted with Color

Can clothing color help boost attractiveness?

Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor

Sometimes it can be hard to find love and get a man or woman to notice you. Creating attraction, passion, and finding the right chemistry can be challenging, too. You may benefit from the right color symbolism in your wardrobe.

Kayser, Elliot, and Feltman (2010) evaluated the effect of women wearing red on the feelings and behavior of men. In two experiments, men were asked to interact with women wearing a red shirt, or one of another color (green or blue). Men talking with women in red asked more intimate questions and sat closer. Overall, women wearing red were more sought-after and seen as more attractive.

Similar research by Elliot, et al. (2010) also evaluated the effect of men wearing red on the feelings and behavior of women. This time seven different experiments by the authors supported the "red is attractive" effect. Women who viewed men against a red background or in red clothing found them more sexually desirable and perceived that they were of higher social status.

For the psychology-savvy, "red acts as a basic, non-lexical prime, influencing reproduction-relevant behavior in like manner across species," the researchers suggest (Kayser, Elliot, & Feltman, 2010, p. 901). In plain English, this means that the color red may trigger a basic, primal response in humans as a signal of sexuality and fertility. The color red signals health, status, and fertility in many animals as well (think the bright red feathers of a healthy male cardinal, or the red rump of a female macaque monkey in heat).

A simple color cue that ignites the passion of our animal cousins, it seems, may also influence our own amorous feelings.

© 2011 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.


Elliot, A. J., Kayser, D. N., Greitemeyer, T. , Lichtenfeld, S., Gramzow, R. H., Maier, M. A., & Liu, H.(2010). Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 399-417.

Kayser, D., Elliot, A. J., & Feltman, R. (2010). Red and romantic behavior in men viewing women. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 901-908.

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