Dressing to impress: which colour shirts do women prefer on a man?

When deciding on a shirt to wear, a few considerations might cross a man’s mind: will it match with my jeans? Does the material feel of high quality? Is it appropriate for the dress code? One question that men should also be asking is — what does this colour say about me?

Researchers have conducted studies which have explored the effects of colour on how the wearer is perceived. For example, if you’re looking to come across as powerful; choose red. If you want to show confidence, always opt for black. We have teamed up with Charles Tyrwhitt, experts in gentlemen’s fashion and retailers of men’s formal shirts, to investigate further and find out which colours women prefer on men.

Dressing to impress

Deciding the colour

If you’re looking to dress to impress, consider purchasing one of the following coloured shirts on your next shopping trip…


Black is a go-to colour when you are looking to dress smart and classy. Although originally kept for mourning, black is now worn for various occasions by many fashion followers. Similar to red, black can be perceived as the colour of self-assurance — 56% of women said that it inspired confidence. Other comments included that the colour black made the wearer appear more intelligent and sexy — perfect for a first date!

When opting to dress in black, be careful as too much can be overpowering. For example, if you opt for a black shirt you should avoid pairing it with a black jacket, pants and shoes, too. It is a versatile colour, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. For example, denim jeans and a black shirt is a good casual outfit for many events.


Similar to when the colour is used in advertising and branding, red clothing is associated with romance and passion. It is thought that the attraction to red comes from our biological roots — many animals such as baboons are attracted to the opposite sex if they display bright colours. To wear this on a first date might be slightly overpowering, however, it does give off some vibes that your date might be interested in.

Some men dress to display their confidence, and red is a good choice if you’re looking to do this as it is associated with power and social status. Research found that wearing red can actually boost the wearer’s self-esteem, which will be a good thing during a first date for women who are looking for an assured man. A red shirt can indicate that you have good health and are financially stable, two more things a woman may have on her checklist when looking for a new partner.

Research has been carried out which looked at how attractive women found men who were dressed in different colours. Red was found to be more attractive than blue or green. This perception was a global consensus — so wherever in the world you go wearing a red shirt, expect to get a similar reception.

Despite the colour red ticking all the boxes for confidence, it was not associated with kindness or sociability — these traits might have to be expressed in other ways!


White scored highly when it came to likeability. It was perceived to be the least arrogant colour and instead gave off the impression that the wearer was full of optimism!

A white shirt is a nice and classic look for when you are trying to impress at a formal event. However, during research, it was the definitive white t-shirt and jeans combo that caught women’s eyes and was perceived to be the more attractive look for a man.

Colours to avoid

Although all colours can be dressed up or down for different occasions, there are a few colours that didn’t rate very highly on the attractiveness scale. In many surveys revolving around the attractiveness of colour, orange and brown consistently performed poorly. They often are perceived as quite boring, drab shades, although a bright orange shirt could brighten up an outfit nicely on a summer’s day.

Pink didn’t go down very well either. Only 5% of people thought that intelligent people would wear this colour!

More top tips

When shopping for a new shirt, consider the following tips:

  • Many men look great in a colour that matches their eyes, if you have green eyes perhaps opt for a moss-green shirt — a popular colour this season.
  • Avoid wearing dark colours if you have a light complexion, this can really draw your skin tone out and make you appear paler.
  • If you have dark hair, opt for bright colours as these are likely to complement you more.