Wearing this color makes you less attractive to men



First-date jitters can have us standing in front of our closets for hours wondering what to wear. It’s totally up to you (and perhaps the three best friends you’ve FaceTimed) what you decide to wear. But could we be so bold as to offer a helpful hint? It may be best to steer clear of the color yellow.

A 2010 study in Evolutionary Psychology found that people judged the opposite sex as less attractive when they wore a yellow t-shirt, compared to black and red. This might get you to toss out anything yellow, but hold on. When the researchers obscured the shirt colors, males were rated as less attractive when they wore white t-shirts. Females rated their female counterparts less attractive when they wore yellow–even when the raters couldn’t see the shirt color. This means the color the person wore might have influenced their facial expressions, posture, and head tilt while taking the photos.

The third experiment in the study digitally altered the color of the t-shirt in the pictures. In other words, people might have posed wearing red, but the raters saw them in white shirts. Therefore, males who were photographed in red but digitally altered to white were judged as more attractive than males photographed in white and not digitally altered. Similarly, males photographed in red and not digitally altered were rated more attractive than males in white and digitally altered to red.

A deep dive into psychological research shows that people perceive red differently than most colors. A 2021 study in Current Psychology compared pictures of women in red and green lingerie and found women wearing red were more sexually receptive, attractive, and sexually appealing. But this doesn’t apply to males. Men who wear red are perceived to be more dominant, aggressive, and angry than if they wore blue or gray, according to a 2015 study in Biology Letters. However, wearing red might make us feel more attractive. In a 2017 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, people who wore red rated themselves more attractive than people who wore blue.

Overall, it might not even matter what color women wear to make them more or less attractive to men. A 2016 study in Evolutionary Psychology argued that much of the research on clothing color and attractiveness varied. The researchers had 206 Dutch males look at dating profiles of women dressed in white, black, or red, figuring that red signaled sexuality and white signaled purity or marriage. Black was used as the control color since it’s also a popular fashion color. Males could choose profiles of women looking for short-term or long-term relationships. However, researchers believed that choosing a long-term relationship would make women wearing white more attractive. In the end, women wearing red, white, and black were all judged to be equally attractive.

Turns out, preference for the color yellow might depend on where you live. A 2019 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology surveyed more than 6,000 people in 55 countries. People who prefer yellow live in countries with rainy climates that are further away from the equator. This is because yellow is often associated with joy, sunshine, and good weather.

Your age and gender could also signal differences in color preferences. A 2021 study in Color Research and Application looked at the preferences of 14 different colors from Pantone. Younger demographics preferred black, and older demographics favored brown or caramel cafe and ultra violet. Females preferred white, green-yellow, and bright yellow more than males. Overall, the most preferred color among all 146 participants was black, and the second was pink. What was the third most attractive? Yellow.

The researchers noted that although people believed yellow to be the third most attractive color, historically yellow had been preferred the least across several decades. “Yet, psychologically, yellow is the ‘happiest’ color in the color spectrum. One of the common factors is the idea that yellow is very cheerful and joyful and typically evokes a happy feeling. Yellow tends to stand out, and this could be why some find it off-putting and others find it attractive,” explained the researchers.