As sport has shown us, winners wear red. A study of almost 60 years of match results found that red shirt wearing football teams win more matches.
According to scientists from Plymouth and Durham University, who analysed the winning history of 68 top English teams, the colour red subconsciously boosted the player’s confidence, as well as affecting their opponents.
Regardless of experience, teams that wore red won more than they lost.
Red, a colour traditionally associated with wealth, has long been thought to hold influence. During the reign of Henry VIII, no Englishman under the rank of knight of the garter was allowed to wear crimson velvet in their gowns, coats or any other part of their clothing so that the common person would instantly recognise those in power.
But what about in an office environment?
According to research from Princeton University, when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second. While we can’t do much about our face, we can, according to research, project authority through our clothing.
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors, did better on tests than those who wore casual clothes, or those who thought the coats belonged to artists.
“Wearing the right colours makes us feel positive about ourselves, appear healthy and vibrant and means people are more likely to buy into our confidence and leadership qualities which gives us a competitive edge”, says Maria Macklin, Colour Consultant with House of Colour Ireland.
“Research participants who wore red in one study reported feeling more physically attractive, which is interesting because primary red is the only colour that suits absolutely everybody.”
In the study, published in 2017, researchers from Germany had 180 university students wear either a red or blue shirt. In two of the three experiments, participants were told to sit in front of a mirror and observe their own reflections before completing a survey.
Students who wore red rated themselves higher in attractiveness and sexual appeal than students who wore blue.
The wrong colours can alter our moods negatively, which affects the way we behave and the impression we give to everyone around us.
Researchers on the study flagged a possible limitation though – it may not be the colour itself that makes people perceive themselves as more attractive, but rather the sheer fact that red draws the eye’s attention.
“The increase in attractiveness could just evolve from the fact that people start to notice the object/person and judge it/he/she,” the study’s corresponding author, researcher Anne Berthold, told PsyPost in 2017.
So should we aim for a splash of red daily to feel more attractive and powerful?
“The wrong colours can make us look drained and typecast and can alter our moods negatively which affects the way we behave and the impression we give to everyone around us”, advises Maria.
“If you look like you take care of yourself and have thought about your appearance, you are more likely to win new business, do well in presentations and build successful work relationships.”
“Understand how to project authority by wearing your best authority colours. For example, darker colours carry more authority, but black only suits a quarter of us. It’s important to know your best impact colours so that you’re visible and appear successful.”