A TV experiment has set out to establish exactly what men think about skimpy outfits on women - and the results suggest that less is not, in fact, more.
Presenter Hayley Pearce, who fronts a new BBC Three series exploring body issues, teamed up with evolutionary psychologist Professor Lance Workman to stage the experiment, which saw men asked to rate a woman in terms of her suitability as a girlfriend.
The same model was used throughout, but dressed in different looks that ranged from revealing to 'mumsy'.
After the men had seen all of the outfits - including a skintight nude bodysuit, a form-fitting mini dress, jeans and a strappy top and a knee-length dress - the results showed that the more revealing a woman's outfit, the less likely a man was to consider her a potential long-term partner.
Jess then went on to emerge in a knee-length black dress that was pronounced 'mumsy' by Hayley, a pair of ripped jeans teamed with a tight strappy top, and finally a neon yellow body-con mini dress with cut-out sections at the back.
The results clearly showed that the more revealing a woman's outfit, the less likely a man was to regard her as a potential long-term partner or someone he would introduce to his family.
Professor Workman said of the men's ratings: 'It’s interesting, if you look at the pictures where she is showing a lot of skin they rate her highly for a short-term relationship, but less highly for a long-term relationship.
'It’s clear the more covered up she is the more happy they are for her to meet the parents, in contrast to the ones that are more skimpy where she is really revealing quite a lot.'
The programme cited a previous study by the University of Leeds which found that if women show up to 40 per cent of flesh, men like it.
'But beyond that it’s a little bit too much,' the professor said.
'So you slip over from being "marriageable" to being somebody for having a good time with, but not necessarily marrying.'
PARTY MINI DRESS
Another outfit the group of men had to rate on girlfriend suitability was a bodycon mini dress with a cutout back.
The results of the experiment demonstrated that the skimpier the outfit the less likely the men would be to pursue a long-term relationship and take her home to their parents.
The group of men were asked to decide if they would take home a woman to meet their parents based on the clothes she wore.
The expert said that biological factors support the magic ratio of 40 per cent.
'In the evolutionary past, we were all competing to pass our genes on to future generations, and it may alter our reproductive, or mate choice behaviour,' Professor Workman said.
‘For example women tend to show a bit of flesh and one of the reasons for that is to show they are fertile. Women have a limited period of fertility compared to men. Men can produce offspring right into old age, and occasionally that happens.
‘Women need to show they’re youthful, which correlates with fertility, whereas it’s not so tied in with that with men. They tend to show things like status.'
Hayley was not impressed: ‘When me and the girls go out we flash our flesh and we do it for ourselves. But are you saying without even realising it, that we’re doing it to look more fertile?
'Well you’re doing it to show signs of fertility. Whether or not you want to get pregnant at the moment, you may well not want to,' he reasoned.
A stunned Hayley joked that she 'certainly' wasn't interested in having children just yet, and said she would start covering up.
‘Nobody consciously thinks “I’m doing this because I need to pass my genes into the next generation,"' said Professor Workman.
'We just do things through rule of thumb because those things were successful for our evolutionary ancestors.’