According to scientists from the University of Rochester in New York, men really do prefer a lady in red because they are less likely to be rejected.
The finding of this study may help to explain why red is the hue most associated with love and romance in popular culture.
For the study, the researchers asked men to rate photographs of women framed by different coloured borders - and the same women in red were consistently rated more attractive.
The men were then shown women wearing shirts of different colours, and asked how receptive they thought the woman would be to romantic and sexual propositions.
Another question asked "imagine that you are going on a date with this person and have 100-dollar in your wallet. How much money would you be willing to spend on your date?"
Women in red scored more highly on both of these points.
The authors of the study said that this response to red probably stems from biological instincts rather than simply social perception of the vibrant colour.
Research has shown that non-human male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red.
Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.
The colour is always popular on the catwalk and is regularly worn to star-studded events by the world's most attractive female celebrities.
"We find it fascinating that merely changing the colour of a woman's shirt can have such a strong influence on how she is perceived by men," the Daily Mail quoted Adam Pazda, a social psychologist from the university as saying.
The study, which tested 96 men from the United States and Austria, also found that the men felt the women in red would respond positively to their advances.
Pazda said the idea that women wear red clothing more when they are interested in sexual encounters appeared to be on target, and
"preliminary evidence suggests that this is indeed happening".
"From a pragmatic standpoint, our results suggest that women may need to be judicious in their use of red clothing.
"More generally, our finding that female red carries sexual meaning will likely be of considerable interest to fashion designers, marketers, and advertisers," he added.
The authors concluded that "as much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive."
The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.