what to wear on a first date

Congratulations! You’ve matched on Tinder, you’ve been messaging for weeks, and finally they’ve suggested you go out and ‘grab something to eat sometime’. Result! You’ve got the date in the bag – but, what to wear on a first date? It is often said that what you wear is crucial, as it contributes to their first impressions of you, and first impressions count for a lot.

There are some things that are obvious no-no’s (like wearing your pyjamas – we wish!) Due to the fact that women have so much choice when it comes to outfits, it’s only natural to feel a little overwhelmed, confused and unsure about what to put on – especially if fashion is not your strong point. That’s why we’re here to help! Although there are no set rules, read on for our recommendations of do’s and don’ts of what to wear when it comes down to that all important first date.


Consider the occasion

There’s nothing worse than dressing really casual, as if you’re going for a run, and then finding out that they’re taking you to a fancy dinner at one of the most upmarket restaurants in town. Needless to say, you’re not exactly going to blend in. As a general rule, go for the ‘smart casual’ look, as it shows that you have made the effort without going overboard. Pair jeans with a nice top and you’ve got a winning combination for the first time you’re meeting them.

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Express your personality

If you’re loud, wear a bold colour; if you’re into fashion, wear trend-driven pieces; if you’re sporty, wear something practical; if you like tradition, make sure your look is classic. (You get the idea!) This gives them a bit of an insight into what you’re like as a person and makes your task of putting an outfit together more fun (just like the whole experience is supposed to be!) Plus, it’s so true that how you choose to dress can say a lot about you (not just on the date, but in life in general!)

Highlight your assets

If you’ve got model-like legs, wear a nice dress to showcase them (as long as it’s not too short, or too tight and destined to split when you sit down!) If you have a tiny waist, wear an A-line skirt so they can see your fabulous silhouette. Similarly, if you like your eyes, draw attention to them using a coloured eyeshadow and eyeliner.

Put on comfortable shoes

This is a general rule but, then again, it does depend on the occasion. By all means, wear heels – just make sure that you can walk in them first. Having to totter about with the risk of falling over is a worry that you don’t need when you’re already nervous about going on your date. Plus, it depends how long you’re planning to be out for. Heels can be a killer after a couple of hours, especially if you’re drinking and dancing the night away!

Wear something personal

For example, why not wear your favourite jumper with the owl on it, or the ring which you inherited from your Grandma. This shows some individuality and adds sentiment to your first date outfit. You can look down at it if you’re feeling a bit tongue-tied and instantly feel reassured, or you can draw their attention to it as a conversation starter if you’re feeling a bit lost for words.

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Reveal too much

If you have everything hanging out, it’s going to give them the wrong idea (some things are better left to the imagination!) A little cleavage is sassy, or perhaps a show of leg, but maybe not both at the time.

Plaster yourself with make-up

People sometimes complain when they see a woman caked in make-up and you don’t want to scare your date off! (Or hide behind your face.) Men, in particular, tend to much prefer the natural look, but it’s important to wear what makes you feel comfortable. Maybe wear what you would usually wear on a daily basis, but dress it up with a touch of eyeliner, eyeshadow and a matte lipstick. Go for one colour that matches an item of clothing that you’re wearing and perhaps highlight it on either your eyes or your lips. Going for colour on both the eyes and the lips might be a little too bold.

Overdo it with the perfume

You don’t want to make them choke, sneeze or splutter over your overwhelming scent when they hug you hello just because you got nervous and sprayed ten squirts instead of the usual two or three. (We’ve all been there!) Make sure that you pick a scent that reminds you of a certain time in your life that makes you smile; that way, if you get a whiff of it on your date, you will instantly feel comforted.

Go crazy with accessories

Nobody likes resembling an overdone Christmas tree. One or two accessories look cute and can instantly dress an outfit up for the occasion, but your best bet is to keep it as simple as possible for the first date. They’re taking you out to get to know you, therefore let them see the real you and don’t hide behind accessories. Just think, you can dress up like a Christmas tree on your next date (actually, probably best not to at all).

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In all seriousness though, try not to worry too much about what to wear on a first date. No matter what you wear, your personality is sure to shine through. Remember that it’s what is inside that counts. Beauty really is only skin deep. The fact that we groom ourselves and work so hard on the outer beauty tends to just make us feel better and more confident within ourselves, but it’s not what is truly important.

Good luck on your date; here’s to the first of many!

Katie is a freelance writer, blogger, and world traveler. Since the completion of her Fashion Marketing degree in 2012, she has been honing her craft by writing for a number of businesses and publications. She blogs about fashion, beauty, and travel at Trendy Tourist, never without a cup of tea close by.

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