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? Men – take note!!
The first date is often a nerve-wracking one. Given that first impressions count for so much, what you wear on the date is something that deserves a bit of care and attention. Plenty of guys have a “take me as you find me” attitude – particularly when they are busy single parents with tons to organise at home – but showing that you care about your date enough to scrub up well is an easy way to get the dating process off on the right foot. What you wear depends on where you’re going on the date; as the two are so closely interlinked, you might actually find that matching the date to the type of outfit you’re going to feel comfortable and confident in will provide the perfect venue.
If you love getting suited and booted, an upmarket restaurant could be the place; if a shirt and chinos is more your style, maybe a cinema trip followed by a funky and fashionable American-style diner is the way forward. And if you simply can’t bear to ditch your jeans, a daytime, outdoorsy date with adventure and laughs could be the dream ticket.
Even if you are wearing jeans, make sure it’s a clean, smart pair; it sounds obvious but iron everything (including your boxers!) so you look and feel well-groomed – you want it to be obvious that you’ve made an effort. Bright-coloured shirts, trousers or jackets are risky, so stick to classic colours for your basics and if you want to express your fashion-conscious side, go for it with a tie or other accessory. Your first date outfit should certainly express your personality, but don’t put everything out there on the first date; it’s always good to have some cards up your sleeve, so suss her out a bit before you fully reveal your love of paisley print shirts and quirky vintage jackets.
If you’re wearing a suit, make sure it’s comfortable and appropriate. While I’d never advise spending fortunes on a first date outfit, it might be wise to fork out for a well-fitted two piece if the only suit you have in your wardrobe is the one you wear for funerals (or saved as a memento from your first wedding day). Buy a well-cut, simple suit and then you can wear it on multiple occasions, accessorising with different shirts, shoes and ties – a good suit will even work with baseball boots if you prefer a hip finish. Make sure the suit fits well, and if you’ve bought off the peg, consider asking a local tailor to make some alterations. It costs lots less than you might think and is an investment if your date has to draw breath when you arrive to pick her up.
Although a lack of sartorial know-how can be charming once you get to know someone, you do want your date to be impressed with your choices. If you really have no fashion sense, buy a couple of men’s magazines and look at the fashion features and adverts for inspiration, or search online at sites like hm.com, Topman or even The Guardian’s fashion pages for some pointers.
And if your kids are old enough, ask them for some fashion advice; not only is it a good way to introduce the fact that you’re going on a date to them, it also gets them involved in some small way. It can actually make the idea of you dating seem less alienating to them. You’re showing that you trust their opinion and, let’s be honest, they probably have a much better idea than you of what today’s fashion is all about. Take some of their tips onboard about the brand of jean you should pick, or the type of print to wear on your tie, and you won’t be the only one feeling a teensy bit proud when you set off on that all-important first date.
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