In terms of nerves, the first date is right up there with job interviews, tax audits and meeting the in-laws (if you’re lucky enough to get to that point). It’s bad enough that you’re wondering if this person will turn out to be the love of your life or an axe murderer, the last thing you want to worry about is how you look. Here are ten tips from fashion school experts for putting together an outfit that will make you simply irresistible.
1. Dress appropriately for the occasion. You’ll be more confident in what you’re wearing if you find out where you’re going and what you’re doing. You don’t want to dress too casually if you’re going to a fancy restaurant. And you would look uncomfortably out of place if you were wearing a slinky dress and high heels to a hockey game. They key is to fit in with the crowd, while still showing off your personal style.
2. Strike a balance. The look you’re going for is flirty, rather than flamboyant. Casual without being frumpy. And sophisticated, but still fun. You want to look like you put some effort into the outfit, but didn’t spend all day and every dollar on it You want the guy to get to know you, not be distracted by what you’re wearing (or not wearing). Just use your common sense, and relax: it’s just a date. Really.
3. Think separates. Be ready for anything by making your outfit more adaptable. Wear a smart blazer over a bustier top for a dressier venue, but remove it later in the evening if you’re hitting a club. Likewise, a chunky cardigan over a dress would be perfect for a casual coffee date, but if you decide to go to dinner afterwards, you can take off the sweater to reveal the chic dress underneath.
4. Show your colors. As tempting as it may be to put on the dependable Little Black Dress, try adding some romantic colors to your wardrobe. Fashion design experts and color psychologists believe that shades of red stimulate a faster heartbeat and breathing, so your date’s heart will go pitter patter. If you don’t want to come on so strong, hues such as pink, apricot and peach are more tranquil, but they still attract people to you because they mimic your skin tone when you blush.
5. Accentuate your best feature. You probably have at least one physical feature people are always complimenting you on, be it your legs, your eyes, your shoulders, or your smile. Show it off, without revealing too much. And notice we said “best feature” in singular. If you’re wearing a skirt that displays your legs to perfection, don’t wear a top with a plunging neckline, too.
6. Capture your personality. What do you want your clothes to say about you? If your vibe is rock and roll, go for the jeans and leather jacket. If your hobby is flea market shopping, show off your vintage frocks. The key is to be true to yourself, and not try to be someone you’re not.
7. Keep it simple. Although you want to show your personality, you do want to keep it understated. This date is supposed to be about the two of you, not your outfit. Don’t let what you’re wearing call too much attention to itself. You also want to stay away from flashy fashion design labels; you don’t want to come across as high maintenance.
8. Sport a conversation piece. Think of this is as your emergency button. At some point in your date, the conversation may start to lag. By including in your ensemble an accessory that has special meaning to you, or has a story around it, you’ll always have something to talk about. Perhaps it’s a piece of jewelry that you made, or a handbag that you found on vacation.
9. Stay comfortable. First dates are uncomfortable enough. You don’t want your clothes to be uncomfortable, too. Wear clothes that you feel good in and that fit well, so you’re not constantly adjusting or fidgeting. Also, there’s a good chance that in the course of the evening, you will be doing a lot of walking, getting in and out of a car, and maybe even running to make a reservation or show time. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, and that your pants or dress aren’t so tight that you can’t move in them.
10. Use the element of surprise. Say he greets you at the door and likes what he sees. (And he’d be insane not to.) Seal the deal by revealing a surprising fashion design element, like a scooped back he didn’t see coming from the demure front. It could be enough to turn him into pudding.
Of course, the most important thing to wear is confidence and a smile. Because even if the date doesn’t lead to a long-term romance, when you feel confident and good about yourself, you’ll still live happily ever after.