What Your Outfit Reveals About Your Relationship

According to a new study, the clothing you pick could be a sign of how strong your bond is

Absolutely dying to get your hands on a new Louis Vuitton bag? It might be because you’re insecure about your relationship—at least, according to new research. Women view couples as more committed to each other when the woman in the relationship is wearing designer labels, finds a new series of studies from the University of Minnesota.

The Look of Love? So how did researchers come up with this out-of-left-field conclusion? In one experiment, they had women read one of two descriptions about a couple. The accounts were identical except for one difference: half described the woman as wearing a designer outfit, while the other half described her as wearing label-free clothing and accessories. Although the difference between the two descriptions wasn’t highlighted, participants who read that the woman was donning designer duds rated her partner as being more committed and in love.

In another experiment, participants were told to imagine that another woman was flirting with her boyfriend or husband. Shortly afterward, they performed a seemingly unrelated task in which they drew a luxury brand logo on a handbag, shoe, car, and T-shirt they would want to purchase. When the women felt jealous, they drew logos that were twice as large as when they weren’t jealous, suggesting they wanted to show the logos off to competitors, say researchers.

What’s Behind the Crazy Connection Caution: The following statement may set off your sexism radar. Still with us? Researchers say that many women subconsciously assume luxury products are being paid for—at least in part—by a partner. Which is presumably why the participants in the first study (the one with the descriptions of the couples) figured the man was more committed to his partner when she was wearing designer clothing. The women from that study even said they would be less likely to pursue the dude in that couple than the one in the other, label-free relationship.

Of course, designer labels don’t automatically equal love (plenty of women pay for their own pricey bags and clothing, thank you very much). And there are lots of other, more common reasons to want to buy designer goods than feeling insecure about your relationship (like they look chic and feel luxurious, for example). And regardless of what’s sitting in your closet right now, it’s your man’s real—not perceived—devotion that matters most. But still an interesting finding, nonetheless.

photo: Creatas/Thinkstock

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