Women find a man in a plain white T-shirt up to 12 per cent more attractive, scientists claim.
A plain white T-shirt can create an illusion that broadens the shoulders and slims the waist, producing a more V-shaped body, which is a top sign of masculinity.
The highest increase in good looks were for men who were the most out of the shape, according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University.
Men who were already well toned only saw a slight increase in their attractiveness rating when they wore the white short-sleeved top with a large black letter T printed on the front.
In contrast, those wearing a top with an upside-down T, with the bar across their middle, were up to 12 per cent less attractive to women aged 18 to 25.
The results suggest shifting the focus to a man’s stomach reduces his desirability.
Nottingham Trent University psychologist Dr Andrew Dunn told the Daily Mail: “The effect was most notable for normal men with a waist as wide as their shoulders.
“Whereas with those who are already in good shape, the T was simply amplifying the body shape they already had, so the benefit was less marked.”
The team said a waist-to-chest ratio (WCR) of between 0.7 and 0.8 - where the shoulders are around 20 per cent broader than the hips - was seen as the ideal.
Dr Dunn said: “The wider barred ‘T’ seems to emphasise the upper chest when upright, which accentuates men’s ‘optimum’ shape. The opposite happens when inverted.
“WCR is one of just a number of body measures that humans use to judge attractiveness and health. Our ability to detect, process and use this information appears to be implicit.
“The brain and sensory mechanism underpinning this are probably evolved and are almost certainly managing what we look for and how we respond.”
He said that horizontal bar on the T-shirt had to be the same length or longer than the vertical bar for the most effect.
The study involved showing 30 female undergraduates, aged 18 to 25, images of five different male body shapes and asked them to mark their perceived attractiveness and health.
He added: “Clearly there are individual tastes and preferences, but we can see here how fashion could have an implicit positive or negative effect on perceived attractiveness and health.
“It suggests that you can use this kind of optical illusion that artists and fashion designers use all the time to tap into our basic sensory psychology.”
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Source: The Telegraph