The lady in red may be synonymous with sexuality and attraction, but as highlighted in a recent article from Slate, there is really no scientific or even observational evidence to support this idea. So, if red doesn’t make you seem more attractive, what does? Here’s where things get complicated.

Several studies have shown that wearing red does not make women seem any more attractive, with the most recent of these taking place in 2016. In this particular report, researchers surveyed more than 800 people and found that there was no difference in attraction.

It’s not that the idea of associating red with attraction is made-up, as several studies have suggested that red is sexier, with a 2010 study determining that men stared at women wearing red lipstick for longer because they found it more attractive. These studies are not wrong; rather, they only show one side of a very complicated story. According to Robert Calin-Jageman, a researcher from the Dominican University in River Forest Illinois who studied the effect of the color red on sexual attraction, the reason that this idea has persisted so much is because studies supporting the myth are published while those disproving it are not published.

“It seems clear that we’re burying negative evidence,” Calin-Jageman told Slate. “We should all work to stop doing that.”

Read: The Science Of Attraction: Men Perceive Women With Average, Youthful Facial Features As Beautiful

In the end, it seems that red most likely doesn’t do all that much to improve your luck with the opposite sex, but science has proved that other factors do actually help to get you a date. For example, a study published this week found that attraction is not based on one trait, but rather a combination of many. However, a person’s voice and smell may be significantly more important than other traits when countering in overall attraction, CNN reported. The study found that a person’s voice can help another make judgements about a person’s sex, age, dominance, strength, and possibility of fertility, all important factors in determining attraction.

As for smell, not only can we find the smell of someone else as “sexy,” but odor can also give insight into their overall health, and clues as to whether or not we want to mate with them, CNN reported.

While we may not have much power over how our voice sounds or our natural odors, there are other ways to increase your attraction. For example, while it likely doesn’t matter what color you wear on a first date, ensuring that you’re smiling may help, especially if you’re a woman. According to The Telegraph, men are more attracted to women who smile and seem nice and approachable. However, if you’re a man, smiling too much could backfire, as The Telegraph reported that women are less attracted to men who show too much emotion.

Source: Leonard S. Peperkoorn, S. Craig Roberts, Thomas V. Pollet. Revisiting the Red Effect on Attractiveness and Sexual Receptivity. No Effect of the Color Red on Human Mate Preferences. Evolutionary Biology. 2017

See Also

The Science Of Attraction: Men Perceive Women With Average, Youthful Facial Features As Beautiful

Is She Attracted To Me? Sexual Cues And Mixed Signals