How to Dress for a First Date
Dress for the occasion. Obviously, you’re not going to wear a three-piece suit to go on a hike, so make sure you know what’s appropriate for your first date. What you want to do with your outfit is make a good impression on your date and dressing inappropriately is a sure way to not impress!
- For casual settings like a going to a movie, or out for coffee, choose clean jeans that are in good condition or casual dress pants and a nice T-shirt or button down top. If you usually wear a hoodie, or holey jeans, keep them in the closet and take your attire up a notch. You want to make it somewhat special even if it’s a casual first date.
- It’s good to stay away from all black ensembles (unless you’re going on a mime date or a goth date) and drab, muted colors. Try to add a bit of color to your outfit, nothing super bright and flamboyant like fire engine red or fluorescent colors. Go for jewel tones: emerald green, cobalt blue, maroon, even dark purple if you’re daring.
- If you’re doing something less casual like a fancy dinner you’ll want to wear something a little more dressy. Go for dress slacks in black or charcoal and a nice button down. If you’re daring, maybe wear a vest. You probably don’t need to wear a tie and a suit jacket unless you’re going to one of the fancier restaurants in town.
- If you’re dressing up a bit, make sure you have a pair of black or dark brown dress shoes to go with your attire. If the date is more casual, wear a nice pair of slip-ons or clean sneakers. Fresh laces and a damp paper towel can make your everyday sneakers more date-worthy.
- A good semi-casual outfit would be nice jeans, a jewel-tone sweater over a basic button-down. Add a pair of casual shoes and you’re good to go!
Wear what you’re comfortable in. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’re wearing your date will be sure to notice. This does not mean, however, that you get to go on the date in sweatpants and your ratty hoodie, but you should try to avoid wearing something that you constantly have to fiddle with and adjust because you aren’t used to it.
- Don’t try a new trend or outfit on a first date. Chances are you’ll feel uncomfortable in it and that will make you come off as an uncomfortable to your date. Stick to the outfits that you know!
- Also, if you’re wearing what makes you comfortable and what is typical of you, your date isn’t going to start expecting you to be dressed a certain way that doesn’t work for you (like really dressed up all the time, or something).
Play up your unique style. Don’t go overboard on a first date trying to show how different you are from everyone else, but do try to demonstrate some sort of individuality in your choice of outfit. You need to find a balance, some way to get a little of that individuality across without being completely overwhelming.
- You might wear some sort of interesting watch, or necklace, or belt, something that gives you a little bit of flair, but that won’t overwhelm your date (for example, unless your date is super into goth things, breaking out the all black attire, fancy make-up and sweeping cape probably won’t win you many points).
- Try for patterned socks of some fun design. Don’t wear plain old boring white socks, mix it up a little.
- If you have an awesome, subtle shirt with a cool design, wear that and a pair of nice jeans or slacks.
Avoid outfit blunders. There are certain items of clothing that are just a bad choice for a first date. They either aren’t flattering or are irritating to a date. Avoiding these will go a long way towards impressing your date with your attire.
- Ditch the khakis. These trousers (or shorts) are really not the way to go for a first date. They’re fine for day to day use, but you’ll want to look more put together for your date and there are very, very few people who think khakis are sexy.
- Avoid joke tees. A band tee is fine, especially if your date is interested in the same band, but things like FBI (female body inspector) shirts need to be left at home (or gotten rid on in a ritualized bonfire).
- Wear no flip flops or crocs; not ever on a date. Sandals are fine if you’re in an area and on a date that allows for them (at a bonfire on the beach, for example). But flipflops need to be left behind. You’ll look too casual, like you’re not taking the date seriously or don’t know how to dress up.
Flatter your best features. You want to emphasize your best physical traits, so that those are what your date is drawn to. Of course your date will hopefully be drawn to your personality, too, but first impressions tend to come from looks and showing your best physical attributes will benefit that first impression.
- Pay attention to how your clothing fits. Trousers that are too tight look odd, and too baggy look sloppy and like you don’t care about the date. Make sure your trousers fit well around the waist – you should be able to put three fingers comfortably in the waistband, but not much more – and that the hems hit around the bottom of your ankles.
- If your clothing fits poorly, consider finding a local tailor or seamstress. Most will do basic alterations for a fairly low fee.
- Find colors that work for you. When you’re picking out a shirt, choose a shade that flatters your natural coloring. To highlight blue or green eyes, try a cool, dark color such as slate grey or navy blue. To highlight brown or hazel eyes, try a warm, light color such as maroon or off-white. If you’re worried about how your skin looks, use the color of your shirt to downplay it by avoiding bight reds or whites – these colors will draw more attention to red spots.
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