When we launched our dating service, we were determined to surround it with top advice! We were really pleased when the fashion guru that is Jo Payton decided to help answer that age-old question, what to wear on a first date?
A first date is a tricky proposition – particularly if you’ve been out of the dating loop for a while. As well as wondering if you’ll actually have a spark, it can be a minefield of worry – from deciding where you should go and at what time, to what you’ll order from the menu at dinner (never spaghetti, trust me).
What to wear is another conundrum, but finding an outfit that looks gorgeous, feels comfortable and conveys the type of person you are is a surefire way to make yourself feel more confident about the whole dating process.
What you wear does depend on the type of date you’re going on; even if there’s a romantic “surprise” afoot, ask your date for as much information as possible so you can put the right look together; the date will not be a resounding success if you turn up to The Ivy in jeans and a pair of Converse.
Once you know if it’s a daytime jaunt or a classy evening affair, go through your wardrobe before splashing out on new clothes. Wearing something that has been tried and tested cannot be recommended highly enough for a first date. A much-complemented dress you’ve worn on a girls’ night out would be perfect. (Steer clear of anything you’ve worn on previous dates as nothing will throw you off your stride more than bumping into an ex wearing a dress that has been on his bedroom floor.)
A first date isn’t necessarily the time to be daring with your fashion choices. Trying to conceal the vibrant fashionista you are is pointless, but choose a look on the tamer side of your wardrobe for the first date. If your new partner loves your fashion-forward style you can break out the floral print jumpsuit and sky-high platforms for your next encounter.
Do try to get your personality across with your choices, though. If you’re a fun-loving carefree kinda gal, accessorise with at least one bright colour or bold print, such as a statement necklace or a brightly-printed scarf. If you’re a more serious and conservative person, express that with neutral colours, longer lengths and considered tailoring.
Figure-flattering cuts, classic designs and slightly formal, rather than out-and-out funky, are all good ways to go on a first date. Dress too casually and your date will assume you don’t care; wear a crazily expensive designer dress and he’ll immediately see a future where he’s funding your extravagant taste in couture. Be assured that he is going to look at what you’re wearing and make judgments, so choose your outfit carefully and work on sending the message that you want him to receive.
If you’re hoping that your date will get physical, drop hints, such as wearing a dress with a subtle lace panel that flashes a hint of bra strap, but don’t beat him over the head with your sexuality; low cut body con dresses, fake tan and animal prints smack of desperation and overt availability – is that really the way you want your date (and your babysitter) to see you at the start of the evening? It always makes sense to wear gorgeous underwear for a first date (even if you have no intention of sleeping with the guy, it will boost your confidence and body shape), but wearing a dress that shows your undies off to the world is just plain sleazy.
Most importantly of all; be prepared. If you’re going out dancing, wear your killer heels but carry a large tote bag containing a spare pair of flats – moaning about your blisters on the romantic walk home isn’t going to impress. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the time of year and temperature, so you can be spontaneous if you want to be. And, if you’re having a daytime rendezvous, prepare a day-to-night look, with clever accessories and make-up at your disposal. Then, you can look fabulous into the evening if the date goes so well that you just don’t want it to end…
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