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9 Things Actual Scientific Studies Teach Us About Fashion

Wearing red might make you rich, but white will make you smarter.

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1. If you want to get paid, wear red.

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In one study, waitresses who wore red made between 14.6% and 26.1% more in tips from male patrons than those who wore other colors. Men may find red more attractive than other shades in general — some have speculated that it's because the color mimics women's genitals, but this has been debunked.

2. A skirt may help too.

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Participants in a 2011 study rated women in skirt suits as more confident and flexible than women in pants. They also thought the beskirted women had higher salaries. This doesn't speak particularly well of people or our preconceived notions, but it's possible that skirts will help you at work — though you will probably want to put on a shirt, unlike this model at Oscar De La Renta.


3. For successful flirtation, cultivate a sunny appearance.

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In a study published earlier this year, women were close to 10% more likely to give their phone numbers to flirty strangers when it was sunny than when it was cloudy out. It's not spring yet, but you can make believe by wearing sunglasses indoors like this model at Rachel Comey. However there is no justification, scientific or otherwise, for leather pants.

4. A white jacket could make you smarter.

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In a 2012 study, people who wore white coats performed significantly better on a standard cognitive test than those who didn't. The catch — they needed to be told it was a lab coat. If they were told it was an "artist's coat," the effect disappeared. So Willow Smith's white jacket (she's pictured here at Michael Kors) might not help her do better on the SATs, though she does look stylish.

5. If you wear shoes like these, just never take them off.

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A 2010 study found that wearing high heels frequently shortened women's calf muscles and stiffened their tendons, making it harder for their legs to stretch back into a flat-footed position. The result: pain and discomfort when wearing flat shoes. So if you wear heels like these at the Alejandro Ingelmo presentation, it's probably best to just keep them on all the time.

6. They may also confuse your conception of gender.

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Looking at high heels a lot also may make people more likely to perceive androgynous people as male, according to a 2012 study. That's because looking at something for a long time can make you see its opposite, the way staring at a red wall can make you see green when you look away. This Michael Kors look isn't that androgynous, but who knows what too much heel-staring can do?

7. Men need not fear being labeled "metrosexual."

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Because the term is totally over, according to a real study conducted by a sociologist really named Casanova, in 2012. The men Casanova surveyed said the term was being used less and less as all men paid more attention to their appearance. So go ahead, grow your hair out and don a mauve sweater like this one from Michael Bastian.

8. Wearing jeans too much might mean you're depressed.

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In a 2012 study, over half of women said they wore jeans when depressed, while only a third would wear them when happy. Baggy tops were also popular depression-wear, with 57% of women saying they'd put one on when they were sad. The study author said clothing could also affect mood, not just reflect it: "Clothing doesn't just influence others, it reflects and influences the wearer's mood too. Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore." Apparently clothes most likely to make women feel good "were well-cut, figure enhancing, and made from bright and beautiful fabrics." So while you might want to slip into these DL 1961 Premium Denim jeans and flowy top when feeling depressed, something brighter might actually perk you up — at least according to this research.

And by this logic Anna Wintour must be pretty damn happy every day.

9. You don't have to be a designer to get famous.

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Earlier this year, researchers turned their attention to fashion bloggers. They found a kind of feedback loop: "Once a blogger has established a large audience through repeated displays of good taste, this audience begins to attract the attention of the fashion system, and this then provides social and economic resources to the blogger, further augmenting her audience." So put on some furs like Bryan Boy (above) and go out and get photographed — if you're stylish enough, you could be the next fashion celebrity.