Dr. C Explains: The Psychology of Red

Hi all,

For today’s edition of the Psychology Behind Fashion we are discussing the psychology behind the color red. I thought February was the most perfect time to discuss the color since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Red is symbolic for love, passion, anger, danger, assertiveness, and excitement. But did you ever think that red could actually affect our personality when we wear it? Well, let’s jump right in and discuss the psychology behind the color red.

The Effects of the Color Red

Research has shown that the color red has some interesting effects on our physical bodies. The color can increase our pulse, our heart rate, our blood pressure, and it can actually increase our appetite simply by seeing the color. Perhaps that’s why McDonald’s arc is red?

Research has also shown that those that wear red are perceived by others to be more attractive and dominant. When it comes to attractiveness, those that wear red via clothes or lipstick are perceived to be more attractive than those that wear other colors. Men were also more likely to approach women that wore red lipstick faster than those that wore other shades of lipsticks. Perhaps if you’re interested in meeting a guy, wearing red might be the easiest way to have a man approach you? Likewise, if you’re on girls night and are not interested in talking with a guy, perhaps pass on the color?


When it comes to dominance, studies have shown that you may just land a job if you choose to wear this hue because you’ll be coming off as assertive and bold. However, I’d suggest wearing a hint of red via lipstick or a shirt, as opposed to a suit because you may accidentaly come off as too domineering and it may just backfire unless the job you’re interviewing for is partner at a law firm, for example.

Wearing red in sports and being perceived as more dominant also holds true. In fact, you’re actually more likely to win! This is because when we wear red we perceive our own dominance and threat to be higher than if we were wearing another color, and that just may boost our performance level. But please don’t hold me to any bets if you place one tomorrow for the Super Bowl and lose. Wearing red doesn’t automatically make you a better player but it may just tip the scale when you’re similarly matched.

So I leave you with some food for thought, knowing this would you now be more likely to wear red on a date or rock red lipstick on a job interview?

don’t forget to check out older articles on the Psychology Behind Fashion, too!

Dr. C

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