Natalie Southwick
August 31, 2015 3:18 pm

When I was in high school, practically every item of clothing I owned was black (maybe dark blue, if I felt extra adventurous). During my search for a senior prom dress, I vowed to wear something a little less angsty. I tried on at least a dozen different dresses — and of course, ended up buying the only black one in the bunch.

Almost 10 years later, I’ve made a little headway into the color spectrum — I even bought a pair of purple shorts this year! Still, black remains a major staple of my wardrobe, and I know I’m not the only one — Victoria Beckham and Angelina Jolie have been winning the LBD game for years, while New Yorkers have practically made wearing the shade a requirement for living in the city.

Now, science is on our side, confirming what we nocturnal dressers have known all along: Black just makes us look and feel better.

A new survey out of the UK has found that wearing black makes people perceive you as more confident, intelligent and even sexy, no matter your gender.

The survey polled 1,000 people on which colors they associated with a range of positive and negative personality traits, from intelligence to arrogance. Black clothing came in first or second in the rankings for almost every positive trait, and had low association with the negative ones.

More than half of respondents (56 percent) said they wore black when they wanted to feel more confident — to a job interview, for example, or on a first date. Orange and brown were seen as the worst choices for an interview or date, with less than 5 percent of people saying they’d dare to wear either color to make a first impression.

One interesting result showed that people liked to see the other gender dressed in the same clothes that made them feel confident, with black, white, red and blue taking the top spots for perceived attractiveness, and orange and brown once again at the bottom.

Fiery red drew mixed reviews — while 54 percent of women said wearing red made them feel more confident or sexy on a first date and 56 percent of men said they preferred women in red, 28 percent of respondents also saw red as the color most closely associated with arrogance. White, on the other hand, got the wearer a free pass, with just 6 percent of those polled saying they viewed people wearing white as more conceited.

When it came to intelligence, black was again the clear winner, followed by blue, white and green. If your personal style runs more toward the neon pop star school of fashion, you might want to think twice before getting dressed for school, though — just 5 percent of respondents said an intelligent person would wear pink, and orange and yellow didn’t fare much better (this says a lot about how we associate stereotypically gendered colors with intelligence, but that’s a subject for another article).

The only positive area that didn’t see black perform well was in the rankings for perceived generosity, where it was actually second from the bottom, saved only by the unpopular brown. Still, if people already see you as confident and intelligent based on your dark color palette, all you have to do is simply act generous — after all, actions still speak louder than clothes, right?

(Image via Paramount Pictures.)

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