clothesSure, I write about lots of useful menstrual cycle tips, such as menstrual cramp-busters, premenstrual mood-boosters and study-proven natural remedies for all sorts of cycle-related issues.

But, sometimes there’s a study that’s interesting to know because it’s funny or quirky, but really has very little practical value. For instance, I’ve written about how you make more right turns during your period and how you perceive left-handed men as more masculine during ovulation. See what I mean–interesting, but not exactly life-changing.

Well, today I’m sharing a study with you that’s this same kind of interesting, but not exactly useful cycle factoid. But, I like it because I find it kinda funny and I think it’ll probably make you ponder your outfit a little more the next time you get dressed to go on a date or head to work, school, a party or networking event or simply to run errands.

Anyway, to the research: If you’re a longtime Hormonology reader, then you probably already know that when you get dressed during your Week 2 (the week leading up to and including ovulation), you tend to use more makeup, wear a more revealing outfit and use more jewelry and other accessories. I’ve reported on this before from past research.

Well, a 2014 study in the journal PLOS One adds a little more to this story: Turns out, while part of your Week 2 urge to get gussied up is to be more attractive to cuties you might come across, an even bigger motivation for your Week 2 extra adornment is a subconscious desire to outdo potential romantic rivals–in other words, to look better than the other women in the room.

But, interestingly, this flips around once you head into Week 3 of your cycle–the week right after ovulation called your “luteal” phase. This same study found that while you’re less likely to use as much cosmetics or dress up on these days, when you do, it’s primarily to catch the eye of the hottie you’re after or the sweetie you already have rather than to outshine other women.

Why the difference?

The researchers theorize that we focus on trying to look more attractive than other women in our Week 2 as a way to scare them away from the mate we want. That’s because it’s the fertile phase of our cycle when the chance of conception is highest, which–at least in our biology’s eyes–makes the target of our affection more valuable and, therefore, worth trying to outmuscle other women by donning high heels that pinch, push-up bras that squeeze and tight skirts that make it nearly impossible to climb stairs or get into cars.

And they believe we then shift our attention to impressing the hottie we want or the sweetie we already have in our Week 3 as a way to help keep our relationship solid. This way, if we got pregnant during ovulation, we’d have an extra set of hands around to change nappies. I can attest that I’m much more likely to wear my husband’s Detroit-emblazoned sweatshirt during my Week 3, not only because it’s more comfortable than a skin-tight mini-dress, but also because as a Detroit native he finds me utterly irresistible when I wear it.

As I warned, this information about your cycle isn’t going to change your life. But, I bet it does cross your mind the next time you get dressed during your Week 2 and Week 3….

 [Photo: Mira Kim]