Looking for a little confidence boost? Slip into something red.
A recent study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that people feel more physically attractive when they’re wearing the fiery color.
Researchers from Germany observed the behavior of 180 university students while they wore either red or blue shirts. They were put in small cubicles that contained mirrors to observe their own reflections. They also did one experiment where they took photos of themselves instead of looking in the mirror.
The study volunteers were told to complete a survey that included questions about how attractive they perceived themselves. However, researchers told the participants the study and the survey was to determine if they could predict certain personality traits based on facial features.
Those who wore red rated themselves higher in attractiveness compared to the others. They also rated themselves higher in sexual appeal.
There are some caveats with these results: The so called “red effect” may not work on everyone. Some people who may be more shy or don’t like to be the focus of attention may view themselves differently if they’re wearing red. The perception might also wear off over time, according to the study’s authors.
“We need to investigate if and how different personality characteristics interact with the effect,” study author Anne Berthold, a researcher from the University of Zurich, told PsyPost. “Also, it might be possible that the effect disappears when someone wears red every day.”
Berthold also said that it may not actually be the red that makes people think they look more attractive ― it could be the fact that it’s an attention-grabbing hue. That means the increase in perceived appeal, in this case, could just be because the person is noticing themselves more.
Additionally, 180 participants is a rather small sample size, so it’s hard to tell if this could apply to a general population. It’s also unclear whether the results applied to one gender or one skin tone more than another. That being said, there has been previous psychological research that supports the idea that color can alter a person’s perception.
A 2010 study found that women viewed men as more attractive when they wore red. Other studies also suggest the color is mentally associated with power and strength. Additionally, some research shows that looking at the color blue can make people more creative, while looking at red might make someone’s work more accurate.
So, all-in-all, it couldn’t hurt to give red a try. But don’t make it your go-to by any means: We’re sure you look great in every color.