Women should wear red if they want to give their date the green light, according to new research.
Bringing new meaning to the phrase 'scarlet woman', psychologists at the University of Rochester in New York found that men are more attracted to women wearing red because they send out subtle messages about how receptive they might be to amorous advances.
During the study, male participants were shown photographs of women framed with different colour borders and asked to rate them.
The 96 subjects, from Austria and the US, were then shown images of women in different colour tops and asked how receptive they thought the women would be to sexual advances.
The men were also asked the following question: “Imagine that you are going on a date with this person and have $100 in your wallet. How much money would you be willing to spend on your date?”
The women in red scored more highly in both tests.
The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, suggested the responses could stem from biological instincts.
Adam Pazda, a social psychologist from the university, said: “We find it fascinating that merely changing the colour of a woman's shirt can have such a strong influence on how she is perceived by men.”
He suggested the male response was not unfounded: “It is possible that women actually wear red clothing more when they are interested in sexual encounters. We are currently investigating this possibility, and preliminary evidence suggests that this is indeed happening."
He added: “Our finding that female red carries sexual meaning will likely be of considerable interest to fashion designers, marketers, and advertisers.”