What determines physical attraction?

I often find myself gravitating towards certain specific builds, hair colors, faces, and even lip shapes. Looking back on previous relationships, six of the nine women shared a very similar look. They were tall, athletic, had shorter black hair, brown/hazel eyes, pale skin, and Greek/Aquiline noses; often with a small amount of East Asian ancestry. It seems rather unlikely to be a coincidence, especially given the relative rarity of that combination.

Why are people attracted to certain “styles,” and not others? Is it biological, learned, or some combination of the two?

There actually have been studies on this. While beauty is subjective (‘in the eye of the beholder’) there are some universal traits that have bubbled to the top in tests where gay and straight men & women were shown faces, and asked to judge them on attractiveness. Among the factors are clear eyes and skin, not-too-big nose, a discernable chin, and a ‘manly’ look for men (rectangular brow, full head of hair, square jaw ) & ‘womanly’ for women (big or alluring eyes, distinctive cheekbones, pouty mouth, full lips). Equally important for both is symmetry - each side of the face looks like the other. This ain’t as common as you’d think - many people have slight variances, i.e. 1 eye droopier, a broken nose that didn’t heal straight, scars, etc. The show I watched sliced pictures of peoples’ faces in 1/2, then re-assembled them with the 2 matching 1/2s (right side with a copy of the right side flipped, & then the same for the left). Some differences were startling - the right & left ‘twins’ didn’t look like they belonged to the same face. The faces that were judged most attractive, male and female, were the ones where the ‘twins’ looked most alike, i.e. faces were symmetrical.
For bodies, there was a bigger disparity. Women with the most attractive bodies have the 70% ratio - their waist measured 70% as much as their hips. So, for example, a woman with a 28 inch waist and 40 inch hips got the highest attractiveness for her body. For men, it was the ‘upside-down triangle’ that was reported for the highest scores- that is, wide shoulders, narrow waist, & small ass.

Of course there are many exceptions, variations, and permutations, and of course there’s more to attractiveness than the physical (especially for women, who didn’t judge looks to be as important as men did for overall attractiveness), but in general it’s symmetry, lack of scars, and ‘healthy’ body type that emerge as generalities.

Interesting information there. I gather those traits would be most conductive to healthier offspring and survival. Aside from the basic universal traits, why might individuals from the same cultural background find very different appearances attractive? For example, a friend is a big fan of the blonde, buxom look. Jessica Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, etc. For whatever reason, women that resemble that hardly warrant a second glance to me.

I guess what I’m trying to ask is if there’s some sort of biological reason that I might prefer a Shannon Misiniec or Devin Tailes over a Marilyn Monroe, or is a learned preference?

Well, of course, putting in the disclaimer that all generalities are general, u pretty much nailed it: the traits mentioned in the studies I related are thought to convey health & desirable traits of reproduction. That is, our limbic or reptilian section of the brain sub-consciously passes along visual cues our club-wielding ancestors learned to recognize as signs most likely to indicate healthy offspring. For what it’s worth, even tho I tend to favor blondes & redheads, only 1 of the women u mentioned does anything for me (Shannon), and she’s a brunette - altho looking at a few pix, loox like she conforms to the symmetry and 70% ratio rules. Anna Nicole, Jessica Simpson, & Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t attract me, even tho they’re blond, my preferred hair color. I’ve had a couple of brunette girlfriends, altho both had lite eyes and freckles, which I consider a redhead trait.
Of course, every1 is individual, your mileage may vary, bla bla bla. Maybe certain personality types (like type A alpha males) are more governed by these biological dictates than others. And of course, race plays a factor too, as does what’s available in your locale - doubtful many Asian men in Asia would go hunting specifically for redheads, for example. On the other hand, there are blonde women who only are attracted to Black men. In general, all other things being equal, the studies showed that even across different races, the symmetry/clear eyes & skin and other signs of health/ 70% ratio for women & upside-down triangle for men body type, held true. We’re hard-wired to listen to our limbic system, with the goal of reproducing healthy kids. Of course, in a modern society, these can be overruled.