Changes in women’s choice of dress across the ovulatory cycle: Naturalistic and experimental evidence

Kristina M. Durante, University of Texas, Austin
Norman P. LI, Singapore Management University
Martie Haselton, University of California - Los Angeles


The authors tested the prediction that women prefer clothing that is more revealing and sexy when fertility is highest within the ovulatory cycle. Eighty-eight women reported to the lab twice: once on a low-fertility day of the cycle and once on a high-fertility day (confirmed using hormone tests). In each session, participants posed for full-body photographs in the clothing they wore to the lab, and they drew illustrations to indicate an outfit they would wear to a social event that evening. Although each data source supported the prediction, the authors found the most dramatic changes in clothing choice in the illustrations. Ovulatory shifts in clothing choice were moderated by sociosexuality, attractiveness, relationship status, and relationship satisfaction. Sexually unrestricted women, for example, showed greater shifts in preference for revealing clothing worn to the laboratory near ovulation. The authors suggest that clothing preference shifts could reflect an increase in female—female competition near ovulation.