OK, you’ve nailed down a date. Nice work! Now, time to panic: what should you wear? Selecting an outfit can be stressful – especially when you are meeting someone for the first time and want to make a good impression. To start picking out a date look, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is my personal style? What types of things do I typically wear? A first date is not necessarily the best time to try out a denim jumpsuit to see if you like it.
- Who is my date? A grad student? A lawyer? A single dad? This doesn’t necessarily determine your date’s style, but it can provide a hint as to his level of formality.
- Where are we going? If you aren’t familiar with the place, do a little research. Websites usually have photos and reviews where you can get a good idea of the vibe.
As much as we like to think that a date is only evaluating your personality, that’s just not realistic. The truth is that your date is 78% more likely to ask you on a second date if he likes the way you look. OK, I made up that statistic, but your appearance IS a very important factor in determining whether or not you will get another chance. If you and your date are evaluating each other as potential soulmates, mutual attraction is one of the first things you’ll both notice.
A few general Dos and Don’ts about what to wear:
Do express your personal style but don’t dress in an extreme way. Especially if you have never met before in person, you don’t want to embarrass your date by sporting something generally considered odd, like a tutu over jeans, or coat and scarf when it’s 90 degrees outside. Also be weary of something super cool and trendy that may not be well understood by the opposite sex (harem pants, anyone?).
Do err on the side of being overdressed rather than underdressed. You want your date to know that you value the time you are spending together and that put effort into getting ready!
Don’t wear anything too revealing. Yes, it’s a date, and yes, you want to look good, but don’t display all your goods. Keep things in proportion by highlighting one body part – so if you wear a short dress, pair it with long sleeves or a high neck, and sleeveless tops work well with longer and bottoms.
Guys – you aren’t off the hook here. A first impression might even be MORE important for you, as girls (whether we like to admit it or not) tend to be more judgmental. Although there aren’t as many rules for men, it’s important to look polished! At a minimum, you should shower, shave, and comb your hair. No one is impressed that you came straight from the gym. Most date attire for men boils down to the skill of picking a combination of a shirt (polo/button down/sweater), pants (jeans or khakis), and shoes (no tennis shoes) that don’t horribly clash. If you want bonus points, tuck in your shirt. Avoid cargo pants, and make sure your socks match your shoes.
Readers – what do you think?
PS – special thanks to JA, my sister/aspiring stylist for her help with this post!