For most of us, choosing an outfit for a first date is an exciting part of pre-date preparation. Unfortunately for others, it can pose all kinds of problems. Will you be too dressy or too casual? Will your outfit give out the wrong message? Should I dress simply, or add a bit of personality? The way you dress for a first date matters more than we care to admit, but how do you choose between your best jeans and a casual shirt, or trousers with a collar and tie? Is it best to wear the new dress you bought for a night on the town, or the dress your mother always says looks nice? Read our simple guide on how to dress for a first date, with useful ideas on how to crack this sartorial conundrum so you can feel confident about your outfit choice.
CLASSY WILL ALWAYS GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE
First dates can mean venturing into unknown territory, especially if you've never been to the place where you're meeting. You may choose to meet at a venue where the others are dressed more casually than you, or you may suddenly feel out of place if you're wearing jeans and everyone else is dressed up to the nines! It's always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, but that doesn't mean to say that you should turn up in black tie attire.If you're meeting someone for the first time, choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable - whether it's an old wardrobe favourite or something you've bought especially for the occasion. It may pay to do a little research on the venue and find out the usual dress code.
LEAVE YOUR 'CRAZY' CLOTHES IN THE WARDROBE
You may love to dress in colourful Hawaiian shirts or have an obsession with leather and studs, but unless the occasion calls for it, it's best to leave your less conventional outfits in the wardrobe when you first meet.
CONTROL THE FOCUS POINT
This part is especially important for women. Ideally, you want your date to be looking at your face and listening to what you're saying, rather than their attention being fixated on your cleavage or legs. Wear statement earrings to attract attention to your face, and don't forget to wear a smile! In saying this, don't feel like you can't show off the bits of your figure you're most proud of. If your bust does happen to be your best asset, show it off with a form fitted top or wrap dress. If it's your waist, wear a belt. Have you got fantastic legs, or a shapely derriere? Wear a form fitting pair of skinny jeans. Just don't wear anything that's too tight or requires constant adjustment or pulling down. It'll draw attention to areas you don't want to draw attention to, and it'll make both of you feel uncomfortable.A general rule for both genders is to wear clothing that's well cut, flatters your figure, is modest, and highlights your best assets.
DON'T TRY A NEW LOOK
Remember that a first date is not a time for extremes or trying new things. If you've never worn a certain style of clothing before, this is not the time to start. You're not going to impress your date if you're trying on a whole new look or trying to create a new persona, when it's obvious that it's not you.
WHAT IF IT'S GOING TO BE A FORMAL EVENT?
If you've been invited to some kind of charity ball or a large annual event, find out as much as you can about the dress code beforehand. If it's an annual event, you'll probably be able to find photos of last year's event online to get inspiration from. If it's a very formal occasion, women can't go wrong with a simple but classy long black dress; short cocktail dresses may be better for less formal engagements. Keep your accessories to a minimum, and add some colour with a nice handbag or clutch.Guys will need to find out whether the event is black tie. If so, hire or buy a good quality tuxedo and pair it with a traditional white shirt, black shoes and simple cufflinks. If it's not quite that formal, a dark navy suit is ideal. Pair it with a striped or plain dress shirt, and a pair of formal shoes.
DRESSING DOWN FOR AN ULTRA-CASUAL DATE
Even if the venue is extremely casual, remember to stay in YOUR comfort zone. Ladies, don't be drawn into wearing jeans or shorts if you never usually wear them. Guys may want to consider wearing smart shorts and a polo shirt with deck shoes or flip-flops.
WEAR SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT AND COMFORTABLE
If in doubt, choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable, and concentrate on enjoying your date. After all, your meeting is all about getting to know each other - not about getting to know the contents of each other's wardrobe.