Wearing red trousers makes you look more dominant, says new study

Is this the most Durham research ever?

Profs at Durham have revealed that men in red are more dominant. 

According to a new study, if you wear your red chinos people are more likely to describe you as aggressive, angry and threatening.

Red has a psychological effect on the people around you, making them see you as intimidating.

Researchers at Durham University showed 100 people some photos of men that had been photoshopped into three different t-shirts: red, grey and blue.

The results found participants significantly more intimidated when a man wore a red t-shirt in the images.

Dr Russell Hill from Durham University explained said: “the images presented to people were identical, it was just the colour information that was changed.

“The fact that such striking results could be found simply by changing the colour suggests that even though these colours disappear into the background in normal life, they could be important – the way we dress could be a subconscious way of illustrating dominance.”

This school of thought goes way back in the animal kingdom. A red face, caused by blood pumping close to the surface of skin, is seen as a sign of dominance amongst some primates.

We spoke to body language expert Judi James, who explained why red was therefore a bad colour choice for situations where you want to make a good impression.

Judi said that red is a traditional colour for ties because it connects to their origin: “It goes back to the days when men used to dual.

“They used to tie of a piece of red fabric around their neck to make it look like they had blood on them from the dual, hence it became a traditional colour for ties.

“The only time you see men wearing a solid block of red now would probably be in the form of a sporting strip or some sort of traditional army uniform which would be worn to look brave but also intimidating. As a result, we associate the colour red with anger.”

Although it is traditional, Judi says to steer clear of red when dressing for a job interview: “Avoid red. Even if a woman walks into a job interview wearing a red jacket, I think it can look a little bit too dominant which, in the boardroom, we tend to associate with aggressive behaviours.

“For an interview you are probably better off wearing something that makes you look very clean, so a white shirt or a white blouse is a good idea.

“And then something in a classic colour, like blue, something that wouldn’t direct their opinion in either an aggressive or romantic direction, and lets their judgement clear instead.”

An interview-appropriate outfit choice according to Judi

Judi explains that “There’s a school of thought that says that the colour red has a physical effect on people, it excites the nervous system and causes people to have a reaction towards it.

“You rarely see it as an interior design colour for this reason. It can make people angry; it’s not a soothing or relaxing colour.”

However, wearing red to the gym or on a first date can boost your success rates.

It has been proven that sportspeople wearing red have a better chance of winning. When you wear red, you have an increased heart rate, you perform better in strength tests and if you are a boy then your levels of testosterone increase as well, giving you an edge which could help to intensify your workout in the gym.

Similarly, girls who wear red are rated as more attractive and more likely to be asked out on a date. A boy is also likely to spend more money on you if you wear red to a romantic rendezvous.

Judi suggests that this is more to do with gender stereotypes than genuine psychological differences. “For women, I imagine people would assume that red ties more into seduction than aggression.

“But, to be honest, I think it’s completely the same for both genders, the only divide is the tradition people have grown up with and when and how we imagine people are feeling when they wear it.”