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How to Dress for a First Date

Two Methods:Dressing as a GuyDressing as a Girl

Most relationships are built on a series of first impressions, and a first date is a prime opportunity to forge a stronger connection with someone. While it's not an exact science, see Step 1 to get started choosing the proper attire for your first date.

Method 1
Dressing as a Guy

  1. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 1
    Dress for the occasion. Obviously, you're not going to wear a three-piece suit to go on a hike, so make sure you know what's appropriate for your first date. What you want to do with your outfit is make a good impression on your date and dressing inappropriately is a sure way to not impress![1]
    • For casual settings like a going to a movie, or out for coffee, choose clean jeans that are in good condition or casual dress pants and a nice T-shirt or button down top. If you usually wear a hoodie, or holey jeans, keep them in the closet and take your attire up a notch. You want to make it somewhat special even if it's a casual first date.
    • It's good to stay away from all black ensembles (unless you're going on a mime date or a goth date) and drab, muted colors. Try to add a bit of color to your outfit, nothing super bright and flamboyant like fire engine red or fluorescent colors. Go for jewel tones: emerald green, cobalt blue, maroon, even dark purple if you're daring.
    • If you're doing something less casual like a fancy dinner you'll want to wear something a little more dressy. Go for dress slacks in black or charcoal and a nice button down. If you're daring, maybe wear a vest. You probably don't need to wear a tie and a suit jacket unless you're going to one of the fancier restaurants in town.
    • If you're dressing up a bit, make sure you have a pair of black or dark brown dress shoes to go with your attire. If the date is more casual, wear a nice pair of slip-ons or clean sneakers. Fresh laces and a damp paper towel can make your everyday sneakers more date-worthy.
    • A good semi-casual outfit would be nice jeans, a jewel-tone sweater over a basic button-down. Add a pair of casual shoes and you're good to go!
  2. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 2
    Wear what you're comfortable in. If you aren't comfortable in what you're wearing your date will be sure to notice. This does not mean, however, that you get to go on the date in sweatpants and your ratty hoodie, but you should try to avoid wearing something that you constantly have to fiddle with and adjust because you aren't used to it.
    • Don't try a new trend or outfit on a first date. Chances are you'll feel uncomfortable in it and that will make you come off as an uncomfortable to your date. Stick to the outfits that you know!
    • Also, if you're wearing what makes you comfortable and what is typical of you, your date isn't going to start expecting you to be dressed a certain way that doesn't work for you (like really dressed up all the time, or something).
  3. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 3
    Play up your unique style. Don't go overboard on a first date trying to show how different you are from everyone else, but do try to demonstrate some sort of individuality in your choice of outfit. You need to find a balance, some way to get a little of that individuality across without being completely overwhelming.
    • You might wear some sort of interesting watch, or necklace, or belt, something that gives you a little bit of flair, but that won't overwhelm your date (for example, unless your date is super into goth things, breaking out the all black attire, fancy make-up and sweeping cape probably won't win you many points).
    • Try for patterned socks of some fun design. Don't wear plain old boring white socks, mix it up a little.
    • If you have an awesome, subtle shirt with a cool design, wear that and a pair of nice jeans or slacks.
  4. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 4
    Avoid outfit blunders. There are certain items of clothing that are just a bad choice for a first date. They either aren't flattering or are irritating to a date. Avoiding these will go a long way towards impressing your date with your attire.[2]
    • Ditch the khakis. These trousers (or shorts) are really not the way to go for a first date. They're fine for day to day use, but you'll want to look more put together for your date and there are very, very few people who think khakis are sexy.
    • Avoid joke tees. A band tee is fine, especially if your date is interested in the same band, but things like FBI (female body inspector) shirts need to be left at home (or gotten rid on in a ritualized bonfire).
    • Wear no flip flops or crocs; not ever on a date. Sandals are fine if you're in an area and on a date that allows for them (at a bonfire on the beach, for example). But flipflops need to be left behind. You'll look too casual, like you're not taking the date seriously or don't know how to dress up.
  5. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 5
    Flatter your best features. You want to emphasize your best physical traits, so that those are what your date is drawn to. Of course your date will hopefully be drawn to your personality, too, but first impressions tend to come from looks and showing your best physical attributes will benefit that first impression.
    • Pay attention to how your clothing fits. Trousers that are too tight look odd, and too baggy look sloppy and like you don't care about the date. Make sure your trousers fit well around the waist - you should be able to put three fingers comfortably in the waistband, but not much more - and that the hems hit around the bottom of your ankles.
    • If your clothing fits poorly, consider finding a local tailor or seamstress. Most will do basic alterations for a fairly low fee.
    • Find colours that work for you. When you're picking out a shirt, choose a shade that flatters your natural colouring. To highlight blue or green eyes, try a cool, dark colour such as slate grey or navy blue. To highlight brown or hazel eyes, try a warm, light colour such as maroon or off-white. If you're worried about how your skin looks, use the colour of your shirt to downplay it by avoiding bright reds or whites - these colours will draw more attention to red spots.
  6. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 6
    Pay attention to hygiene. There are a few places for first dates where hygiene isn't that important (a punk rock concert, a mountain hike or rock climb), but for the most part, the cleaner and more presentable you are, the better impression you'll make on your date.
    • Shower before your date. Make sure that you're using shampoo and soaps that don't have an overpowering smell, same for deodorant.
    • Shave, or make sure that your hair and beard are in good and manageable order. You want to look like you made an effort.
    • Make sure whatever you wear is freshly laundered. Covering dirty clothes with cologne or anti-odor spray might be fine in a pinch, but the purpose of a date is being near someone and getting to know them. It's better not to risk coming off as unclean.
  7. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 7
    Minimize scent. There's nothing worse than going up to your date and being engulfed in a cloud of cologne, aftershave, or body spray. Most guys overdo their application of scent, so make sure that you don't make that mistake! Your date will thank you and so will anyone in your vicinity.
    • If you're going to wear cologne or body spray, make sure you follow the rule less is more. For cologne, 2 pumps should be sufficient; for body spray, no more than 3. You want to smell nice, but not overwhelming.
    • Keep in mind that your nose will get used to the scent and eventually stop telling your brain about it. Just because you can't smell anymore doesn't mean your date can't.

Method 2
Dressing as a Girl

  1. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 8
    Dress for the appropriate occasion. You're probably not going to want to be super dressed up if you're going on a hiking date. On the other hand, you probably don't want to show up to a fancy restaurant wearing your old jeans and yesterday's t-shirt. Know what type of date it's going to be (casual or fancy, etc.) before you make any fashion plans.
    • For a low-key date like going on a picnic, or going for coffee, wear some nicer variation of what you normally wear. So for instance, if you tend towards jeans and a t-shirt, make sure you're wearing your nicest jeans and a nicer t-shirt (or a nice sweater over your t-shirt). If you wear skirts and flats mostly, stick with that, but wear something a little fancier than normal.
    • For a really fancy occasion (like a nice restaurant or similar) find out what the restaurant dress code tends to be, so that you don't overdress or under dress. In an instance like this, a nice black dress, with nice shoes, and some jewelry will do you well.
    • If it's summer, don't wear shorts on a date. Wear a skirt or a light pair of slacks (unless, again, it's uber-casual).
    • Shoes depend on the date as well. A nice (clean and in good repair) pair of flats can either dress up or dress down depending your outfit and are a great versatile (and comfortable) choice of footwear. Don't wear heels unless you're comfortable doing so and aren't in danger of keeling over with every step you take.
  2. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 9
    Make sure you're comfortable. There's nothing worse than being on a first date and having to constantly fiddle with your shirt or your skirt because it feels too tight, or it's constantly riding up, or you've just remembered why you never ever wear that outfit. You'll feel uncomfortable and awkward and that feeling will be communicated to your date.
    • Avoid testing out a new fashion trend on a first date no matter how flattering it looks in the magazine. You should also try to avoid wearing new clothes on a first date, since you won't have broken them in yet and gotten accustomed to them.
    • Also, wearing what makes you comfortable will give your date an idea of how you normally dress (if a bit nicer and more put together) and you'll avoid any unnecessary surprises along the way (so they aren't shocked when all you ever wear is jeans and a t-shirt, because you wore a dress on the first date).
    • Again, it's important to not wear shoes that you're uncomfortable in. If you can't walk well in heels just say "no" and opt for a pair of nice, dressy flats. Also, don't test out a new pair of shoes on your first date. Chances are your feet won't thank you.
  3. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 10
    Be unique. While you probably don't want to be so out there that you overwhelm your date for your first date, making sure that you have a flare of uniqueness will help them remember the date well and be more interested in getting to know more about you.[3]
    • Find something that makes you stand out from the crowd a bit. This is where accessories are especially useful, as you can put on a funky pair of earrings or a particularly dashing scarf or fun leggings to give yourself some individuality.
    • Wear at least one thing that's brightly colored. Don't stick to just drab colors and don't only wear black. Wear red tights, or a bright purple belt, or vivid socks. You'll want something that draws the eye (especially your date's eye!).
  4. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 11
    Focus on your best features. On a first date you're typically looking to make a good impression so that the other person will want to continue to get to know you and making a good impression does include making a good physical impression, so on your first date you'll want to play up your best features. Not only will they notice your attractiveness, but you'll feel awesome![4]
    • You want to emphasize one specific feature. This means that if you're showing off your cleavage with a tight, low-cut top, opt for a looser fitting, longer bottom (either trousers or a skirt), so that your cleavage is emphasized. Likewise, if you're wearing a short skirt to show off those lovely legs of yours, wear a top that doesn't draw attention (an over-sized sweater or a neutral shirt).
    • Make sure that your clothes (especially your trousers) fit you properly and aren't too big or too small. Wearing clothes that are too small (especially around your waist), can be uncomfortable and dig into your skin.
    • Highlight your body shape. You can use colours to flatter and set off your build without compromising fit. For instance, if you are pear-shaped and have larger hips and legs but a slim waist and fit arms, wear a dark colour on bottom and a light colour on top.
    • Dark colours conceal, so wear something darker on an area if you're self-conscious about it. Light, bright colours highlight - use them to play up your favorite part of your figure.
  5. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 12
    Employ your best style. For a first date, you don't have to have perfect hair and makeup (you don't even have to wear makeup if you don't want to), but whatever you do choose to wear and put on that help enhance your natural beauty, and show your artistry, make sure you're giving it your best shot.
    • If you're wearing makeup, make sure to do your favorite style. Don't break out a new look that night (you know how hard it is to perfect a new technique!). A good rule of thumb is to pick one feature emphasize. For example, wearing neutral eye makeup and bright, crimson lipstick, or super awesome eye makeup to show off your lovely eyes with just a little lip balm for your lips.
    • Nails aren't necessary to be done for a first date, but it can be a nice little boost for you. Match them to your outfit, or paint them in bright vivid red to match your killer lips! They're fun and can give you a little extra confidence and style.
    • Style your hair. If you want to do a new hairstyle, test drive it the night before to make sure you can pull it off. Otherwise, go with one of your usual hairstyles. Amp it up a bit by adding a cute headband or clip, or by adding a little more volume than normal.
  6. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 13
    Make sure you're clean. Being clean and presentable is definitely a part of making a good impression on a first date. Try to avoid looking like you haven't had a shower for weeks and that you've just rolled out of bed to make it on time to the date. You want to look like you put at least a little thought into your outfit.
    • Make sure that you shower some time that day and try to have your hair dry by the time the date rolls around. This means making sure that you give yourself enough time to get ready, so that you're not scrambling to blow dry your hair, when your date is ringing the bell.
    • If you have time, it can be fun to pamper yourself a bit before a date to get you in the mood and to get you feeling good! Give yourself a pedicure and a manicure. Exfoliate your legs so they're soft and smooth.
  7. Image titled Dress for a First Date Step 14
    Avoid lots of odor. There's nothing wrong with having a favorite scent or wanting to smell nice! Just try to remember that other people might not have your preference for lots of perfume or body spray, so dial it back a bit when applying so that you don't overwhelm your date's sense of smell.[5]
    • A good rule of thumb for perfume is to dab a little on your wrists, behind your ears, on your neck, and in your cleavage. Following that rule should help you avoid being overwhelming with your perfume, while still smelling nice.
    • For body spray, just a couple squirts should do it. You can also point it away from you when you spray it and step into the ensuing mist.


  • Be polite, be yourself.
  • Don't put on too much perfume.
  • Opt for flattering pieces of clothing that make you feel confident and perfume can add an aura of sweetness or sexiness, depending on which scent you wear.
  • Keep any makeup used plain and simple.


  • Don't get a haircut right before your date! Make sure that you have a couple days in between so that you get used to your new cut.
  • Don't make disparaging comments about your date's attire, even if you don't like it. If you do have to say something, keep it short, such as "That shirt seems interesting!"

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