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We blame our hormones for the entire giant bar of chocolate we ate. We blame them for the pimple on our nose and that extra five pounds that make it tough to zip up the skinny jeans. Now, scientists have discovered one more foible that we can attribute to a particular time of the month: risqué clothing choices.
According to new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research, women unconsciously choose sexier clothes when they are ovulating. We do this, say the researchers at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, not to impress men, but in order to outdo other women. After all, we don't want men checking out other women when we're at our most fertile and ripe for the picking. Time is of the essence, people.
Researcher Kristina Durante, a post-doctoral fellow at the Carlson School, says that a woman assesses the attractiveness of other women in her locale, and based on that information, will determine just how eye-catching her outfit needs to be. In other words: the fiercer the competition, the more suggestive her outfit tends to be. Those who live in a Mormon community, after all, probably don't have to don tube tops and sequins to out-sex other women. I can't even imagine how strippers go about trying to outdo one another.
For the study, Durante and her team had ovulating women look at photographs of local women, and then had them pick out clothing and accessories that they would like to purchase. Those who looked at attractive women chose the sexiest clothing, while those who looked at images of unattractive women selected less revealing clothes. When the test was repeated on women who were not ovulating, images of other women had no affect on the clothes they decided to buy.
It's interesting to note that this study was carried out at a business school, where the goal is to influence consumer behavior. I'm not sure how apparel stores might use this information, except to hire attractive women, jack up the price of their sluttiest clothes and have the saleswomen gently inquire as to whether the shopper might be ovulating today. "If so, we have a glorious selection of gold lame halter tops that you might be interested in."
It obviously worked on me. Just the other day, I was perusing pictures of me and my friends from our party-girl days in San Diego. The clothes I wore made Paris Hilton's nightclub ensembles look tasteful. I can only conclude now after reading this story that for the entirety of my 20s, I never once stopped ovulating.
Time for closet confessions: What's the trashiest outfit you own--and how often do you still wear it? Chime in below.