Fashion advice column after fashion advice column has advised women to wear red if they want to more successfully attract a man. USA Today recently published the results of a study that show the converse is true too: women are more attracted to men who wear red. Red registers status, i.e., it signals that the guy is more likely to “make money and climb the social ladder.” (Study: Women attracted to men wearing red)
We can debate whether women need men to be our keys to social and economic success anymore. But this study doesn’t measure considered reactions, just the immediate, instinctive ones that occur at a primitive level. This makes sense, as red has been associated with the rich and powerful for centuries and across societies — think our “red carpet.”
What I do question is why RED? Why not purple, another color associated with royalty, or blue, etc? All we know is that the color attracts attention, but WHY?
Though I haven’t done any scientific studies on the subject, I would argue that red is so powerful a color because it’s the color of blood. Blood in many cultures, Judaism being one, represents life which is why Jews are prohibited from eating it. Ultimately we are attracted to red because we seek from our partners a sense of life, vigor and joie de vivre. This enthusiasm for life doesn’t have to be menacing, subjugating or exclusive as the term “power” suggests; it can be a communal, loving, exciting or energetic sensibility.
This month’s edition of In Style quotes Donna Karan as saying “the best thing about women today is that they no longer strive to be men. For men, it’s still about power. Women, I’m delighted to say, are about energy. And energy is what we need for a better future.”
Sure gray may be the color this season but let’s keep our red outfits close by to remind us how much potential for energy we all have.