You can never make a second first impression and deciding what to wear on a first date is crucial if you want to impress. It’s also important to dress for the occasion, which means you shouldn’t overdress for the cinema or fail to look smart for your dinner reservation.
Here’s our handy guide to help you decide how you could dress on your first date –
Make sure you dress for the occasion
If you are just meeting up for a coffee, then suitable attire may be a nice pair of jeans and a nice t-shirt. You don’t need to overdress if you’re meeting up in a coffee shop one afternoon, or even if you’re going to the cinema. In all fairness, the cinema is never a great place to meet on a first date because you don’t get the chance to have a chat, and a dark cinema won’t really give you a chance to impress.
Make sure you ditch the hoodie or your tatty jeans if this is what you’d usually wear, and just go for a nice smart but very casual look. You don’t want to overdress in this situation, as it may put your date off and make them feel underdressed. But at the same time you want your date to notice that you’ve made the effort to be smart, and that they are worth the effort too. Be subtle – but noticeable!
Try to stay away from any really dark colours, as well as any really bright colours. Again, try to find a t-shirt that’s subtle which doesn’t attract too much attention like a bright yellow, but also isn’t too dark and boring. A nice blue or green would be perfect for example.
Finally, if you’re going to a fancy restaurant then now’s your chance to really impress – but again, don’t overdo it. For example, you don’t need to be wearing your tuxedo from last years Xmas party!
To play it safe you are usually better off settling for a nice pair of trousers, a nicely crisp ironed white shirt, and finally a suit jacket. There is not really a need for a tie as this is usually best saved for weddings. If you are dead keen on wearing a tie, then you might need to ditch the jacket, as you might just about get away with a tie if the restaurant is really swanky.
As for footwear, our advice would be to go for a nice pair of trainers for the coffee date, and a nice pair of black or dark brown smart shoes for the restaurant. Don’t however wear extremely bright brand new white trainers as this can be a bit too much. So ideally you want to find a fairly dark or grey pair of trainers. Any pair of colourful trainers would be fine, as long as they aren’t too bright. Canvas plimsolls or casual shoes would also be OK.
Wear something you are comfortable in
Although we’ve been fairly specific as to what you could wear for a first date, it’s always important to wear something you are comfortable in, and something that matches your personality. If you put something on that just isn’t you, then ditch it! Your date will know instantly know if you’re trying to be somebody that you’re not, and at the end of the day you want them to like you for who you are and what you ultimately like to wear, so you must stay true to yourself.
However, this shouldn’t mean that you bring back the hoodie or the jeans with lots of holes hanging five inches below your waist, and you should always consider something smart and appropriate. Your date will always expect you to make an effort, as they will too, and if you turn up looking like you do when you’re having a stroll through town on a Sunday afternoon, then they won’t think you’re interested in making an effort, and ultimately, not interested in them.
Try to also avoid anything that’s really tight or baggy. If you try to squeeze into a shirt or pair of trousers that are too tight, then you are going to feel uncomfortable all night and you won’t be able to relax. From a fashion perspective, it won’t look very good either!
If your outfit is too baggy, then again, it won’t look so good. Make sure you spend plenty of time in front of the mirror to double check everything looks like it fits perfectly. It can be very nerve racking on a date, so the last thing you want to worry about is what you’re wearing, so it’s important to put the effort in before hand to be absolutely sure you are going to be able to relax during the date.
Outfit no nos!
There are some outfits that are just not suitable if you want to make a great first impression. Shorts for example are just not worth taking the risk! Sure, if it’s a red hot summer and you plan to eat outside in the glorious sunshine, then you just might get away with a nice pair of khaki shorts. But this would be the only exception, and meeting indoors or at a restaurant would mean that you need to leave the shorts at home.
Try to also avoid any joke t-shirts, especially as they could cause offence. Some t-shirts can come across as very sexist, and although you might think they’re funny, you’re date may not. Save these kinds of t-shirts for your mates, and ditch them for the date.
As for footwear, avoid any type of sandal or flip flop. Unless you and your date happen to be meeting at the beach and everyone else will be wearing them. Your date may think you’re not taking it very seriously, so stick with the trainers or shoes.