How to Dress for a First Date

first-date-table Image from Darling Magazine 

A single day is not a lot of time to get to know someone, but when it comes to dating, that’s all you’ve got.  One day, one activity, and one person who may or may not be the one you’ve dreamed of.  Just in case they are, you’ll want to make the best impression possible, and you only have so many tools at your disposal.  The first and most crucial of these is how you look.  I’m not saying looks are everything, or not to be true to yourself.  On the contrary, it’s imperative that you look like you, but make sure it’s the best version of you.  Make an effort!   Just as you hope that this person is everything you want them to be, dress the way you’ve always hoped you could look.  Be smart about what you choose.  If you don’t plan correctly, you might find yourself cold, overheated, uncomfortable, embarrassed or in pain: all of which will affect your behavior throughout the date.  So here are a few quick examples of what to wear depending on what you’re doing, and how to make the most or your night.

No frills

movie date Image from YouQueen 

In this day and age the most common date is dinner and a movie, whether it’s out at the theaters or at home with delivery.  It’s a safe choice for busy people with hectic schedules since everyone likes movies, and it can be accessed anytime day or night.  Your outfit should be as simple, but don’t fall into the trap of being overly casual.  If you wear jeans make sure they are in good condition, fit well, and are flattering.  Or try for a pair of skinny, stretchy slacks.  Never wear sneakers but choose comfortable shoes, like decorative flats, that can be slipped off if you want to curl up in your seat.  Avoid t-shirts, they are way too ordinary no matter what logo is on the front, and remember that theaters can be cold.  Try a loose but draping blouse and a light jacketor long sleeved sweater.  A little jewelry never hurt anyone, but if you’re going for large and heavy statement pieces, limit yourself to one.

Cultural differences

nutcracker balletImage from Los Angeles Theatre 

A more refined twist on the classic date is dinner and a show.  These tend to be live events like concerts, plays, the ballet or a comedy club.  It’s a little dressier and makes the date more of an event so your outfit should be as well.  If it’s a rock concert or a chic art gallery dress with a little more edge.  Try leather leggings or rolled up, form fitting jeans with heels and a leather jacket.  Keep the heels short, 2 to 3 inches, since you may be standing.  A conservative top with some sparkle, beading, or metallic accents can balance the line between artsy and dignified.  If you have a more classical night to look forward to a dress is definitely in order, or at least upgrade your look with silky slacks and a lacy top.  Don’t go overboard, it’s not the Oscars, but don’t wear a daytime dress either.   Rule of thumb: if you could wear it to a picnic, don’t wear it to the opera.  Last but not least, the best part of a fancy evening is the shoes.  Since you’ll probably be sitting all night you can break out those towering platforms that are better for strolling across a room then hiking up a hill.

Performance art

ballroom dancing Image from The Huffington Post 

There are some activities that require a bit of skill but are perfect for displaying your charms. These include karaoke, dancing the night away, on open mic night or a murder mystery dinner party.  It’s all in good fun, but you’re putting on a show, so punch up your attire with eye catching details.  A full, swinging skirt for dancing that will exaggerate your every move or bright, head turning colors and fabrics that make you stand out.  Don’t forget that a dance floor or the bright lights of a stage will make you overly warm.  Long sleeves or layers are definitely out of place, just as anything too tight, high hemmed, or low cut will make ease of movement difficult.

Play date

woman-on-fun-mini-golf-dateImage from SheKnows 

The sweetest first dates speak to our inner child, such as a picnic, miniature golf, bowling or the arcade.  In essence your outfit should be easy to move in, good for all temperatures, and most of all fun.  Choose leggings or long skirts that allow you to sit on the ground, bring layers, and here’s where you can break out the kitschy accents.  Bright colors, loud patterns, funny logos and nostalgic, vintage inspired clothing are all appropriate.  For instance try colorful capri’s with a peter pan collar blouse and a fitted button up sweater or jean jacket. Then top it off with a decorative headband and a whimsical purse.

Clothing is just another way to help the inner you shine through, so make sure whatever you wear tells your date exactly how special you are.