Psychology of Color: The Red Dress Effect
If you want to stop traffic, wear red. In college I had a bootcamp trainer named Roland Burks who was known for his motivational motto, “don’t just turn heads…break necks.” Roland’s mantra can be applied to the color red when used in fashion – the color that is literally used to stop traffic on the roadways – and has become well-known for its ability to halt most men in their tracks; this phenomenon is known as The Red Dress Effect.
The Red Dress Effect is theorized to be the subconscious act of perceiving people wearing red clothing as more appealing than if they were wearing another color (Huff Post). The theory states that wearing the color red increases attractiveness, desire and sex appeal. Additionally, red has long been associated with passion and romance; think red roses and bright red lipstick.
“Red is arguably the most vibrant color on the color wheel,” according to color psychology. “It is attention-getting and induces a sense of power and excitement.” Red is a show of status and power; a color that makes both men and women feel and look more attractive and confident (Brain Fodder).
For example, In 2014, car manufacturer Kia took a survey of what makes people feel confident, a few of the things included in the top 10 list for women included: high heels, a little black dress, designer perfume and the color red. If you opt not to wear that LBD, red is the perfect year-round color and is always a show-stopper at holiday parties.
“Clothing significantly influences how others perceive you and how they respond to you,” Professor Karen J. Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) writes in her book Mind What You Wear: The Psychology of Fashion.“When we put on a piece of clothing we cannot help but adopt some of the characteristics associated with it, even if we are unaware of it.”
So if you want to feel powerful, vibrant, confident, attractive, passionate, desirable or sexy, in theory…wear red.
We are still swooning over this red-hot Beach Holiday photograph that appeared on the cover of last year’s November/December edition of The Thirty-A Review! Volume 10 of Thirty-A Review will always have a very special place in our hearts; it was our first cover to both style and shoot. Piper Arielle stuns in this red number from ISHI? on 30a (ISHI? now has locations in Homewood and Montgomery in addition to its 30a store – with an ISHI? Luxe boutique in Mountain Brook).
As a review of “30-A’s Finest People, Places and Things,” The Thirty-A Review is published every other month and focuses on the stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast commonly referred to as 30a. The magazine serves South Walton Beach and its surrounding areas and appeals to both locals and tourists alike (Thirty-A Review). We also had a Nautical Wedding feature in the issue – but we will save that for another time.