When I go out on a first date I always think about what planning elements, within my control, will most help me make a good first impression. Certainly finding an agreeable time and place to meet are at the top of my priorities list; but other components, such as how I present myself, are also exceedingly important to consider.

I believe wholeheartedly that it is imperative to be yourself on a first date, which includes what you say, how you act and how you present yourself aesthetically. Everyone, whether they profess to care much about their outward appearance or not, has a style that is uniquely his or her own. For me, generally speaking, when I go out I dress up in one of two ways; 1) jeans and a concert or graphic tee or 2) jeans, button down shirt and tie (loosely tied of course).

Of course there are variations of these two specific styles that I’ll use from time to time to alter my look; for the most part these are the main two presentations that I prefer when I go out. Both say something about my personality – that I’m laid back but definitely care about and put time into my appearance, and also that style is important to me.

This is not to say that if you typically wear sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt everyday that you should put on a collared shirt and khakis just because you have a date because that wouldn’t be projecting the real you. Personally I am not a real big polo guy, therefore, even though polos are very standard for guys to wear on dates, you’ll rarely see me wearing one because that’s not my style and therefore I wouldn’t feel completely comfortable.

In the end, what you wear is just another element that contributes to your overall ability to feel like, and therefore be, yourself. So, even if you aren’t someone who normally cares about their appearance I would encourage you to take a few extra moments in order to make sure you aren’t trying to present yourself in a way that you think will appeal most to the person you are going out on the date with, and instead simply showing off the real you.