Here's what science says you should wear on the first date

When you’re choosing an outfit for your first date, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

Namely: keep it contextual, keep it comfortable, keep it “you”.

And while it’s certainly important to properly represent yourself on a first date, science has a thing or two say about what you should wear. Wear what makes you confident whether it be a favourite sundress or leather jacket, and wear a lot of red (we’ll return to that shortly). 

So what exactly does science have to say about dressing on a first date? And what should you wear when you meet your match with Wandure or for those digital dates you’re going on during COVID-19 times?

More than you might think, it turns out. 

There’s Something to be Said About Colour

In 2013, Cosmopolitan revealed the best and worst colours to wear on a first date.

A poll, prompted by an increased search on “first date dress” revealed how clothing choices can affect levels of attraction. It revealed that men didn't necessarily notice cut, patterns or shape - but they definitely noticed colour. 

When asked if the colour that their current partner was wearing on their first date affected how much they were attracted to them, 69% of men admitted that it did. Turns out that not a lot of men are fans of yellow and brown, while women were turned off by men wearing pink or yellow.

Long story short, science says don’t wear yellow. 

Wearing Red Could Boost your Chances of a Second Date

In 2008, a study by two University of Rochester psychologists revealed that red enhances men’s attraction to women, bringing a whole new meaning to the term “lady in red”. It’s the only study that documents the effects of colour on relationships, and it says a lot about what the cloud of your winter coat means for a second date. 

Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, were able to demonstrate that the colour red makes men, “feel more amorous toward women.” 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as stores, coffee shops and bakeries immediately fill their windows with red roses and hearts once February rolls around. It’s a colour associated with romance and passion that spans cultures and millennia. 

Not only did the study show that men perceived women wearing red as more desirable, but also women standing against red backgrounds.

Unfortunately the men admitted that women wearing red were more attractive, the same perception doesn’t extend to females. 

So lads, no need to wear red on a date. It isn't likely to have an effect.

Black is Always Flattering - Just not in the way red is

So maybe you’re not a fan of red? It’s an attention grabber and for some people that’s a little too much.  Don’t worry, red and black are perceived as being equally attractive, just in different ways. While red’s attractiveness is associated more with sexuality, another study suggests that black suggests the person is more fashionable.

Researchers analyzed the TV series First Dates, revealing that single people wear more black or darker colours when meeting someone for the first time.

“Red is traditionally seen as the colour of love but more recently research has shown that both black and red are perceived as equally attractive, and that the two colours may simply increase attractiveness in different ways,” said Dr Robin Kramer, lead researcher from the University of Lincoln's School of Psychology. “While red may increase perceived attractiveness through evolutionary mechanisms, dates appear to rely more heavily on black in order to attract a potential mate, suggesting that cultural and societal influences may play a much larger role in the way people dress than the use of evolutionary signals.”

So, let’s recap: Colour wise, choose something red or black and you’ll appear more attractive to other people (and avoid yellow at all costs!) When in doubt, stay contextual, stay comfortable, and stay you! It's not all about that lighting - put on your best outfit, and during COVID-19 sit on the couch and get dating.

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