We all intuitively know that red is a sexy color. Images spring immediately to mind, like the flowy red skirt from the movie “Carmen.” We know that red attracts the attention of bulls… but does it also attract partners, or is that part – ahem – bullshit?
Multiple studies have actually looked into this. Men tend to sit closer to women who are wearing red, as opposed to those in blue. Also, women who picked red outfits when they went out to a bar were hit on by men much more often. Maybe it’s because red is generally associated with attraction and desire and this is now acting as a social cue.
But no issue in life is just black and white. Red has many negative connotations, too; in Christian tradition, red is frequently used as a symbol of guilt, sin, anger, and animosity. It is also, of course, the color of blood. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” says a biblical passage from Isaiah.
American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne penned “The Scarlet Letter,” which found additional fame through the Emma Stone career-making smash hit “Easy A.” Related: here are Emma’s tips for dealing with anxiety, courtesy of Littlepinktop.com. Anyway, Hawthorne’s 1850 novel tells the story of a woman in a puritan community in New England. She was punished for adultery with social ostracism and a red letter “A” was sewn into her clothes. Probably not the kind of accessory you want.
Red is also identified as a violent color. Artistic and literary works often associate red with violence. This is probably why the Brothers Grimm picked this color for “Little Red Riding Hood.” Red identifies fear of predation and fear of strangers.
Consider the figure of speech “caught red-handed.” This expression was first used to describe a murderer with their hands red from the victim’s blood. It is now used to describe someone being caught in the act of any wrongdoing, not necessarily a horrible crime.
Under other conditions, red is perceived as vibrant, stimulating, and energizing, so it can be helpful for tiredness and lethargy. Believe it or not, red can also stimulate the appetite.
Interestingly enough, yellow, also known as the color of happiness, has been found to stimulate hunger, as well. Watch out for Big Bird if you are on a diet! And try not to pair yellow and red as it can make you even hungrier. Marketers explained this effect in their “Ketchup and Mustard Theory” (yep, it’s a thing).
It looks like McDonald’s is on to something with their golden arches against a red background! Red and yellow not only look great together; this ideal mix makes you think of and crave burgers and hot dogs as mustard and ketchup are always spread on them. So whenever you see this color combination, it evokes a mental image of America’s favorite foods.
Big fast food chains are being shrewd when they incorporate Ketchup and Mustard Theory techniques into their branding, color schemes, and logos. You can incorporate red into your wardrobe.
Whenever you have your next girls’ night out, post-pandemic, and want to feel sexy, you now know what to wear if you want to attract a mate… or make people think about food.