How-to Dress For Your First Date

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A first date with somebody new can be a stressful experience. It can be particularly hard to decide how to dress on the first date, but by matching your style to the formality of the date, you can make a great first impression and look your best. Here are some tips and suggestions for how to dress on the first date for both men and women, whether it’s just grabbing a coffee or an elegant dinner date.

Women

Casual: Many first dates are a casual affair. If you’re just grabbing coffee with someone new, the key is to wear an outfit that is flattering, but doesn’t make it seem that you’re trying too hard. For the warmer seasons, a bright summer dress can be a perfect choice, especially paired with your favorite pair of sandals for a casual but elegant look. In fall or winter, consider the classic knit shirt and wool coat for a classic look, preferably in warm tones such as a light brown. (Dressing for A First Date) This can be paired with jeans–form-fitting to show off your legs–and a pair of heeled boots.

Semi-Formal: If your first date is a movie or a casual dinner, you’ll want to wear something a bit more formal, but still with a focus on sitting comfortably through the date. One good choice is a comfortable dress that shows off your figure without trying too hard. Anything too short or tight, or the classic ‘little black dress’ will make it look like you’re trying too hard, but a semi-formal dress is perfect. If it’s a little cooler, you can go with a pair of leggings that match the dress, and finish the look off with a pair of boots.

Formal: For the fancy dinner date, you’ll want to pull out all the stops. Go for a form-fitting dress, usually blue or black, and platform heels to show off your legs. On a dinner date, don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops!

Men

Casual:  On a casual first date, denim is your friend, but be selective. Faded blue or ripped jeans are never a good luck, so opt for slim-cut, dark blue or black jeans. For shirts, you’ll want to accentuate your torso, and although you don’t want to appear to be trying too hard, avoid anything excessively casual like logo T-shirts. A smart button-down or polo shirt is nearly always a good choice, and they can be paired with a casual coat if it’s cold. For shoes, no sneakers, ever–opt for leather lace-up shoes or loafers instead. (How To Dress For a First Date)

Semi-Formal: Dark denim pants can still work on a slightly more formal date, but a safer choice is to go with your favorite pair of khakis–still comfortable without looking too casual. You’ll almost always want a button-down for a semi-formal movie or dinner date, but to spice things up, try a V-neck sweater or cardigan over the shirt. This look is classy, but still won’t make you appear as if you’re trying too hard. For shoes, leather is a good choice once again here, but suede shoes or boots can also work wonders with a semi-formal outfit.

Formal: If your dinner date is at a swanky restaurant, then a suit and tie are your friends. Suits may come in many colors, but black is almost always the best choice. Dark grey can also work for some men, but in that case, switch the tie from black to grey as well. Suit pants are, of course, a must to pair with your suit, and black dress shoes finish off the look. However, if you don’t own a suit or are against wearing one, a dress shirt, tie and blazer can be a worthy substitute. If that’s the route you’re going, switch the suit pants out for classic brown chinos or grey flannel trousers, both of which will match well with a navy blazer. Derby shoes are a great choice here if you own them as a slightly more casual dress shoe, but if not, brown wingtip dress shoes, or similar non-black dress shoes, can also work.