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The 5 Best Times to Wear Red, According to Stylists

You can't go wrong with bold color in these specific scenarios.

When choosing what color to wear, you might consider three things: the season, the occasion, and what kind of energy, mood, or emotion you're seeking to exude. But there's no bolder choice than red, according to stylists. And numerous studies have shown that wearing this particular hue can actually affect the way you—and the people around you—feel.

"Donning red is like striking the loudest chord, ensuring you're both seen and remembered," says Anna Grace Du Noyer, a sustainable fashion stylist. "But contrary to popular belief, red isn't just for those special showstopper moments. It's a versatile color that can be embraced every day."

With that in mind, here are a handful of situations in which you'll definitely want to rock the color red.

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First Date

Black man and woman on date
Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

Across the board, experts agree that a first date presents the perfect opportunity to wear red. After all, this color is associated with love, romance, and passion.

"There's no better occasion to express your vivacious personality than a first date, and red is just the color to do that," De Noyer explains. "Be it a sultry red dress or a smart red jacket, red adds a dash of intrigue and allure to your ensemble."

And as Josh Herbert—style expert and founder of the footwear blog Captain Creps—points out, red can convey a certain level of confidence, which is universally attractive.

In fact, a 2017 study found that people perceive themselves as more attractive when wearing red. It's also worth mentioning that research has repeatedly shown both men and women are more attracted to the opposite sex when they're wearing red.

Sally Samuels, fashion expert and head of design at Savile Row Company, adds that wearing red can also help create a memorable, lasting impression on a first date.

Job Interview

older woman in red blazer

The goal in any job interview is to stand out amongst the other candidates—and red can help you do just that.

"In a corporate world often dominated by grays and blacks, a touch of red declares your confidence, creativity, and readiness to take risks," explains Du Noyer.

An older study published in Nature found that when athletic teams wear red, they're more likely to win. Researchers suggested that this may be because red tends to give the wearer more confidence while also reflecting dominance to their opponents—a scenario that can help when trying to land your dream job.

Herbert suggests opting for a red accessory—like a pocket square or pair of heels—if you don't feel comfortable donning a bold all-red ensemble.

"A bright red handbag, a statement red tie, or even a simple swipe of red lipstick can help you stand out, underlining your presence in the room," adds De Noyer.

Even when you aren't interviewing for a job, red is a great color to wear in other work-related contexts—say, a networking event, conference, or client meeting.

"A red blouse or blazer, for example, can infuse lively energy into your professional ensemble," explains De Noyer. "It communicates that you're not afraid to push boundaries."

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Man and woman hugging at a restaurants. She's wearing a red dress.
4 PM production / Shutterstock

Whether you're attending an elegant winter affair at a swanky hotel or a rustic summer celebration by the ocean, experts agree that red is a fantastic color to wear at a wedding—in part because it has an inherently romantic vibe.

"While red is not traditionally associated with wedding attire in the Western world, it holds significant symbolism in many other cultures," explains Samuels. "In Chinese, Indian, or other cultural weddings, red is considered auspicious, symbolizing love, prosperity, and happiness."

That doesn't mean you have to go all out with a red dress or suit, however. Du Noyer suggests adding a touch of this bold, festive color with a chic red hat, piece of statement jewelry, or shoes.

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On Stage

Red patent leather flat shoes
Senyuk Mykola / Shutterstock

When you have to give a speech, present an award, or otherwise command an audience's attention on stage, you can't go wrong with a red ensemble, shoes, or accessories.

"Wearing red can create a sense of authority," explains Samuels. "The color has been associated with power, confidence, and strong leadership qualities."

A 2015 study in Color Research and Application also revealed that wearing or being exposed to the color red can cause physiological changes that naturally spike your energy levels—which may help fuel you through that big presentation.


A beautiful brunette woman wearing a backless red sequin dress with matching red lips and ruby earrings
VAndreas / Shutterstock

Have a gala or formal dinner party coming up? Consider wearing a striking red jumpsuit, dress, tie, or suit jacket. Du Noyer says this color might make you feel more self-assured while you're chatting with other guests.

"A hint of red in a belt, a handbag, or a scarf can also bring a pop of color without overwhelming your look," she adds.

Cara Buckland, fashion expert and founder of luxury brand Adore Fashion, says red is an especially ideal color to wear if you're hosting the event or playing an otherwise important role.

"Not only will you stand out from the crowd in red, but it can also convey a sense of liveliness and sociability, perfect for mingling in a new crowd," she explains.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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