Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wear a Red Dress?

My answer would be “sure.”  Red is my number one favorite color.  Anyone who knows me has heard me say that “the only colors I need in my closet are black, white, red and purple.”  I was tickled “pink,” then, when one of my daily Delancey Place emails came across the wire with the title Wear a Red Dress. 

These daily write-ups inspired by non-fiction books contain excerpts from the referenced book.  On this day, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave had caught the eye of the Delancey Place writer. One of the studies in the book discovered that men in particular pay more attention to women in red.  You might think anyone would, simply because the color is so noticeable. 
The experiments conducted in France, though, show that red makes more of a difference to men.  An experiment in which women hitchhikers wore different colors throughout the day concluded that “female drivers weren't particularly sympathetic, stopping only 5-9 percent of the time regardless of the color of the hitchhikers' T-shirts. Male motorists, on the other hand, were more considerate and more discerning: whereas only 12-14 percent of all male motorists stopped when the women wore black, white, yellow, blue, or green, 21 percent stopped when the women wore red shirts.”
In a similar study on a personals website, the colors worn by women were rotated on a regular basis to see whether color would impact the number of emails they received.  “During the nine-month period, 14-16 percent of their e-mails arrived when they wore the black, white, yellow, blue, and green shirts -- but 21 percent arrived when they wore the red shirt.”   Interesting indeed.
This quirky bit of information prompted me to click on the link to the book to learn more about it.  After reading a few reviews, I added the title to my Amazon Wish List.  In some ways, the descriptions made me think of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, with its fascinating stories and statistics on an odd assortment of things.  I don’t read much non-fiction at all, preferring the many murder mysteries I devour each week, but every once and a while, something like Drunk Tank Pink catches my eye.
Back to wearing red, though. The article made me think of a red Christian Dior suit I wore in the 80’s.  I found it deeply discounted on a sale rack at Macy’s and recall my mother being horrified that I had paid $150 for what back then was probably a $400 suit. I loved that suit and wore it once a week for at least six months of the year—for several years. Not only was it red, but it was unusually styled because, after all, it was a Christian Dior. The styling also accented my then tiny waist, and I felt special whenever I wore it.
I’ve always heard that red is a power color, but for me, it is simply the color I think I look best in—a blue red to suit my winter coloring.  And if you now wonder what on earth I’m talking about, you may have to check out Color Me Beautiful.  I don’t think I have the book anymore, but I still have the color swatches I got when I went with girlfriends for a color consultation.  I’m sure that experience is why, to this day, everything in my closet coordinates with everything else.  And, I’m smiling as I sit here typing this on my, you guessed it, red laptop.