Conventional wisdom: The color of Victorian men’s waistcoats and lace handkerchiefs, pink resonates with romantics. Later written-off as girlie, this delicate color has made a comeback, thanks in part to the aggressive marketing of pastel button-downs by Banana Republic and J. Crew.
Science says: Pink represents femininity, and it is physically soothing. According to a 2005 study on color preferences by Pantone and BuzzBack Market Research, peony pink was labeled “feminine” by 33 percent of the nearly 2,800 respondents, while 14 percent called the slightly deeper blush “cozy” and “nurturing.”
The bottom line: Pink is the ideal first-date color, since it helps a woman appear good-natured and approachable. But beware of the downside: overdosing on baby pinks relays the message “I’m young and innocent and fragile,” says Barbara Jacobs, an accredited color consultant and the founder of architectural color consulting firm Barbara Jacobs Color and Design. Avoid the naïve and sinless shtick by opting for darker hues.
Not your color? Peach and coral also give off the aura of a tender femme fatale.
Conventional wisdom: A red cocktail dress is daring choice that turns heads, while red lipstick conquers the world (or at least the lounge).
Science says: Athletes wearing red often win over their physical equals in blue, according to a 2005 study by British anthropologists Russell Hill and Robert Barton of the University of Durham. The pair analyzed results from the 2004 Summer Olympics, where the staff randomly assigned competitors red or blue uniforms. In close matches, the wrestlers or boxers clad in red prevailed.