Ovulating women unconsciously buy sexier clothes, doing so not to impress men, say the University of Minnesota researchers who conducted the study, but to outdo rival women during the handful of days each month when they are ovulating.
“The desire for women at peak fertility to unconsciously choose products that enhance appearance is driven by a desire to outdo attractive rival women,” says researcher Kristina Durante. “If you look more desirable than your competition, you are more likely to stand out.”
Durante’s research, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, provides some of the first evidence of how, why, and when consumer behavior is influenced by hormonal factors.
Although the end result is to attract the best romantic partner available, Durante’s research found that ovulating women’s choice of dress is motivated by the other women in their environment. “In order to entice a desirable mate, a woman needs to assess the attractiveness of other women in her local environment to determine how eye-catching she needs to be to snare a good man,” Durante says.
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