The answer is “never,” according to a report from the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
The journal’s research team, which has been studying how people respond to various clothing styles, found that when a shirt is “inoffensive” and doesn’t “show off” the body, the majority of people prefer it.
“We believe that this preference reflects a desire to avoid the negative connotations of wearing a provocative garment and instead express a preference for neutral clothing,” the authors write.
But if the wearer does show off, it’s because she wants to, and she doesn’t have to.
And even then, it still’s “offensive” enough to get a “no” from many people.
It’s also an “easy decision” for most people, even those who don’t feel the need to wear the shirt, according to the study, published in the Journal.
The study was conducted with people in their early twenties.
They were asked whether they would wear a “jersey-like” dress, a “jean-like,” or “jacket-like.”
The results were not surprising, as most of the people were aware of the “joke” and the shirt’s perceived offensiveness.
But the study’s findings may be a surprise to some.
When asked whether or not they would prefer a shirt that was “inappropriate,” the average person preferred to wear one that “did not look offensive.”
That means that most people will choose not to wear it, even if the shirt “did show off.”
This suggests that most of us have some kind of subconscious bias against wearing clothes that don’t look “offensive.”
This isn’t a new finding; a 2012 study published in Consumer Psychology showed that people generally prefer clothes that are “neutral” or “nonoffensive” to ones that “show.”
So it’s not surprising that most Americans are likely to feel the same way about clothes that look like they are “offensive,” especially when they’re in jeans.
However, this doesn’t mean that people will always choose to wear clothes that “do not look good” or look “good.”
“When people say, ‘It’s OK to wear these clothes, but don’t show off the body,’ it’s usually not the case,” said study author Christina Zimbalist, PhD, a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Rochester.
In the Journal, Zimbel said that people’s “preference for neutrality can also be driven by the need for social acceptance,” or the need “to not be seen as ‘attacking’ someone or doing something bad.”
But what is “offensive?”
The study found that “neutral clothing” or clothes that didn’t show a “body” were “generally perceived as being more offensive,” Zimbell explained.
But there’s no need to take it too far: “It’s also possible that this ‘no’ response reflects the same kind of social discomfort as other negative responses, such as shame and disgust,” she said.
And this discomfort can also help explain why many people choose not “to wear clothes with which they are not comfortable.”
For example, when a person wears a shirt in a “good” way, it may cause them to feel good, Zabalist said.
But when a clothes with “offensive characteristics” is worn, it causes the person to feel embarrassed, “embarrassed” or even “disgusted.”
That could be because the shirt is an expression of “objectionable” behavior.
“People may feel offended because they feel that the clothing does not fit their body,” Zabbalist said, which could contribute to an “inappropriateness bias.”
The bottom line: “The best way to avoid wearing a shirt with offensive qualities is to avoid being seen as the ‘bad guy,'” Zabilist said of “non-offensive” clothing.
If you’re looking for the right shirt for work or casual wear, you should “look for clothes that do not show off your body,” she added.
“The next best thing is to be able to wear clothing that is neutral or inoffensive, or to not show your body at all.”
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.