What Your Date Outfit Communicates About You
What She Really Thinks About Your First Date Outfit, Revealed
In case you need a refresher: first impressions mean a lot when you’re dating. These days, you’re not only judged on what you write on an online dating profile, how witty your first message is, and what you pick for your initial meet-and-greet — but, of course, on how you look. Charlene Parsons, the fashion director of Miami International University of Art & Design, explains what you choose to wear is a connection to build an interaction when you walk into a room. “When a woman looks at your appearance, your look says who you are and gives a better idea of your personality because of the time you took to put yourself together,” she explains.
What can be stressful about selecting your attire is that how you dress depends on what city you’re in, the time of day, the place and the occasion. Dressing appropriately is paramount to most things — but the bottom line is to make yourself as put together as possible so you’re explaining who you are without words. If you’re unsure of what to pull out of your closet the next time you hit the scene, take these style notes from leading experts and influencers on what flies — and what doesn’t:
Sneakers vs. Dress Shoes
While women might have many decisions to make before a first date, for men, footwear is among the toughest decisions that can make or break a look. Unfortunately, deciding on what to lace or slip on before you head out the door is more complicated than a simple spur-of-the-moment choice. As best-selling author and style expert Jené Luciani explains, a man must first consider the setting of his date: “Sneakers are appropriate if the date is walking around the county fair. Shoes are appropriate at a restaurant. If you’re wearing sneakers to a nice restaurant, she may think you’re a slob — or clueless,” she says.
How can a man’s feet express so much? Founder of Cielo Brands Stephanie Higgs says it’s in associations a woman might form with them. She says while an athletic shoe reads laid-back and casual, a dress shoe might appear too stiff. That’s where styling comes in handy, as you match not only your footwear choices, but the purpose of your date, too. “It all depends on the location of the date and who you are with. If you are doing something chill together and your sneakers are fresh, a girl can tell you are active and have style. If you are going somewhere extra special and the dress code is fancy, come correct for the occasion,” suggests founder and designer of the Grungy Gentleman Jace Lipstein.
As a basic rule of thumb though? Instagram influencer and style expert Gregory DelliCarpini Jr. says stay away from dress shoes on a first date and suggest a more relaxed place to get to know one another. You can always pull out the leather loafers when you take her to a nice restaurant on the third date, after all.
Casual vs. Work-Attire
Here’s the deal: grabbing drinks after work is an easy go-to first date. But here’s the kicker: if you show up disheveled, looking overly stressed and exhausted, with a leftover smudge of lunch on your lapel — your date will be less than impressed. As influencer and entrepreneur Shervin Roohparvar explains, going on a date in your work clothes is a faux paus. “To look like you clocked out of your office and put zero effort in to change, shower, freshen up and then go on a date, will send a careless message,” he explains. However, he adds dressing too casual also sends the same message. “There are no points given for showering and freshening up — that’s required — so, if you clean up, then dress like you are about to run errands to the dry cleaners and grocery store, that’s also a major mistake for a date.”
What’s the solution? Planned casual, according to Parsons. “There are jeans and there are jeans — certain ages should never try to get their bodies in jeans, especially if they have extra skin hanging over the belt as an accessory. Dressing age-appropriate says it all,” she shares.
Managing director of Cad and the Dandy USA Jean-Francois Rodrigues says that setting is everything: While he says a tidied-up work look is appropriate for the post-work cheers, the same isn’t true for other settings. “For the weekends you might opt for a more casual look that can be smartened up with a nice sports coat. Go with a button-down shirt, classic blue blazer and a smart pair of beige or grey trousers for clean, everyday style,” he says.
Cologne vs. No Cologne
To spritz or not to spritz? While scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, there is a big difference between a subtle whiff of something seductive and an overbearing aftershave that reminds a woman of her strange uncle, twice removed. As Parsons says, if she asks you what fragrance you’re wearing within a few moments of meeting you, it’s likely you’ve gone too far.
Even so, style experts explain that cologne can say a lot about who you are. Here’s where you have to be careful about how much you dab on before you send her the “I’m on my way” text message. “A cologne tells you that the guy is clean and offers a little bit of insight into his personality. If the cologne is soft and sweet, it means that he looks for sweetness and simplicity in you. If the cologne is strong and loud, there you go, he is adventurous and outgoing,” explains fashion designer and alum of the Miami International University of Art & Design, Judith Cabrera.
So how do you master the right amount? DelliCarpini Jr. suggests misting in the air and walking through it before you head out. This ensures you have a subtle, mysterious scent without causing a woman you’re lusting after to cough at your arrival. Instead, you want to have her thinking about your smell — in a positive way! — long after you’ve parted ways. As Roohparvar reminds us, attraction is made on all sensory levels: “You have to please the eye with your look and clothes, make great conversation for your date to listen to, hold hands firmly so there is a sense of touch, ignite their sense of smell with the proper mix of aromas from your cologne and natural pheromones, and if you do all this correctly, there will be an opportunity for a taste when you kiss your date at the end of the night,” he says.
Clean Shaven vs. Facial Hair
Truth be told, this is a personal choice in terms of your style and image. Even so, experts argue that your choice to show off the scruff or shave it all off speaks volumes about your character. After all, you tend to entice the type of woman who would like a beard or not. The judgement will be based on how well you manicure and tend to your look: “If she met you and you had a beard, she likely likes the beard. You shouldn’t have to change who you are! But if you are typically a clean-shaven guy and you show up with a 5 o’clock shadow, she may think that you didn’t care enough to shave,” explains Luciani.
Generally speaking though, a super-long, untamed beard isn’t recommended while dating. Instead, consider a groomed facial hair approach that illustrates thought. “Today, it is trendy to have stubble or even a short beard, but it is important to keep it clean and well-groomed, as a messy beard shows laziness and lack of effort/style. Unless you are ZZ Top or a former cast member of Duck Dynasty, the long beard is currently not a good look,” Roohparvar says.
If you prefer to keep your face naked and worry you might come across as too uptight, don’t worry. Celebrity stylist and fashion expert Ali Levine predicts that, as we get further into 2018, many more men will turn to the razor and opt for a clean shaven look, since the beard has had it’s moment and the trend is now changing.
Hat vs. No Hat
You might be comfortable showing up to a first date brunch in your trusty college baseball hat, but Levine warns you might send the wrong message, right off the bat — no pun intended. While every woman is different, Levine says that many women don’t respect men who choose to wear a cap on the first date, since it feels too casual, making you appear thoughtless about your appearance. She also warns that women may wonder if you’re “hair-fishing” them, and attempting to hide the fact you have no hair under the lid.
Luciani agrees with Levine and suggests saving your ball cap for a more casual date down the line once a lady has had the chance to get to know you and how you tend to dress. He says they are appropriate for a sporting event, a hike, walking around a farmer’s market or the beach — but they have no place in a restaurant. And especially not on a first meeting.
This post was syndicated from askmen.com