There may be something in the scarlet woman stereotype – according to a new study women feel threatened by other females wearing red.
Researchers at the University of Rochester joined forces with Trnava University in Slovakia and the Slovak Academy of Sciences to find out the impact a woman’s dress colour has on other women in her vicinity.
It has previously been evidenced that men perceive women wearing red as more attractive and sexually receptive, but women’s opinions are less formally documented.
And the recent study, published on the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that women also view red as an erotic colour.
But forget the sisterhood - read "erotic" in terms of a sexual threat rather than an alluring invitation.
Scientists carried out three experiments to gauge several hundred women’s responses to images of a woman dressed variably in red, white or green.
The first experiment found that women perceive another woman in red as sexually receptive, compared to one in white, while the second experiment demonstrated that women are more likely to view a woman wearing red as promiscuous.
And the third experiment showed that women were therefore more likely to “guard” their romantic partner from a lady in red, compared to one in green.
Adam Pazda, the study’s lead author, told ABC News: “We tend to take colour for granted.
“It’s not just a pretty thing in our environment that adds to the aesthetic experience in the world. Behind the scenes, it can affect us psychologically in the way we perceive others or ourselves.”
He added: "Men think red is attractive and sexually receptive. You might think twice about wearing red to send off the wrong vibes.
"If you are wearing red out and about, you might be perceived negatively by other women. It won’t happen in every situation, but be aware of the signals to other women and men that you’re interested in sex."
Then again, you might just like red.