A little nervous about making a great first impression? Worry no more. I’ve got you covered on the perfect outfits for that first date.
Whether you’re a man or woman, the prospect of a first date can often be high pressure. With so many thoughts going through your head, the last thing you should have to worry about is how you look. Your good friend Tee is here with advice on what to wear for a first date, from fine dining to bowling and everything in between.
Dinner at a 5 Star Restaurant
Ladies: The LBD never goes out of style, so you can’t go wrong in that regard. Make sure to stay on trend by adding a pop of color, whether you add a colorful pair of shoes or a handbag in a bright, juicy hue. Keep jewelry simple; think diamond or pearl studs and chandelier earrings. Although the statement necklace is hot this season, I would avoid it for this occasion. Elegant simplicity is always best at a fine dining restaurant. You don’t want the clanging of your jewelry to overpower your conversation!
Men: Dressing for this sort of date will usually be easier for you. Jackets, and occasionally ties are a requirement at most high-end restaurants. Given the warm weather we’ve had lately, I suggest jackets and slacks in light materials such as silk, wool crepe, linen and cotton. Whether or not you wear a full suit or choose to do separates is up to you. Being that this is spring going into summer, there are numerous colors you can choose from, but depending on how traditional the restaurant is you may want to stick to darker colors for your suits, slacks, and sport coats. A crisp button down or polo shirt is always in order and unless otherwise specified, you can go with or without a tie. Dress shoes and loafers will do nicely, whether you chose to wear a full suit, or mix it up. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum; I would limit it to a watch, at most.
Bowling Alley Date
Probably one of the most casual of all first dates, this one is probably the easiest to dress for. The only wild card will be if you’re going to your local bowling alley versus hitting up a spot like Lucky Strike. (See Dinner and a Movie for Lucky Strike tips)
Ladies: Cute graphic t-shirts, tank tops, jeans, and shorts are all okay for this date. Don’t pay TOO much attention to your shoes since you’ll be wearing those AWESOME bowling alley shows, but bring a pair that’s easy to slip into after bowling. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can’t wear to the bowling alley, but I’d avoid too short shorts, tube tops, and heels for obvious reasons.
Men: Like with the ladies, feel free to pull out graphic tees, shorts and jeans. Sneakers are a good shoe choice, but, as with the ladies, don’t focus too much on the shoe, since you’ll be wearing bowling shoes for the majority of the night. You can also throw on a hat, if that’s your style.
Dress for this type of date calls for casual wear, whether it’s bohemian, preppy, or sporty. The key is to wear light fabrics so you don’t look sweaty if it gets too warm outside.
Ladies: You’ll be sitting on the ground, so you don’t want something too short or too tight. Shorts, sundresses, maxi dresses, floral, gingham, seersucker, wedge sandals, flats; it’s all up to you and your style personality. If you’re a hat person, a straw fedora or floppy sun hat will help to complete the look. Jewelry, in this case, is also up to you. My handbag pick for an outdoor adventure would be a large tote; you’ll have somewhere to stash your jacket or cardigan if it gets chilly.
Men: Polo shirts, linen pants, and anything seersucker, or cotton. You’re going to be outside, so you don’t want to wear anything too heavy. Throw on a pair of aviator sunglasses to complete the look.
Dinner and a Movie
The dinner and a movie date is more casual for both men and women, but not as casual as the bowling date. The key is finding the balance because if this date goes well, it can turn into a drink or two at a bar, so you want an outfit that is appropriate in several settings.
Ladies: I’m going to put a little bit of a spin on “What to Wear” for this one. For this particular date, you can basically wear whatever you want (a dress, jeans, heels, flats, a cute top) but the key thing you’ll want to wear is a memorable FRAGRANCE. You’ll be sitting next to him in the movie theater, not talking, but you still want him to be thinking about you. Fresh and fruity or sweet and floral are the way to go. You won’t overpower him, but he’ll remember how you smelled when he goes home that night.
Men: Whether you choose jeans with a dress shirt, or button down, a V-Neck T-Shirt and a Blazer or a cashmere hoodie, you can’t go wrong. Plus, if all goes well, you’ll be able to lend her your jacket if she gets cold during the movie (You’ll get major points for that!)
A final word of advice to the ladies: The great Edith Head once said, “Your dress should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman, but loose enough to show that you’re a lady.” The last thing you want to do is go out there in your freakum dress and get em girl heels on the very first date. You have GOT to leave something to the imagination and give him a reason to call you for a second date.
A final word of advice for the guys: Ladies will look at your shoes and your nails, not necessarily in that order. Make sure your nails are clean, neat and trimmed, and be sure that your shoes are nice because women gauge your attention to detail based on these qualifiers. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
I hope this has helped you with your fashion choices, but of all the fashion advice I have given today, this next piece of advice is the most important. When choosing what to wear on a first date there is really only one rule: Be yourself. No matter what you’re wearing, remember to be confident and genuine. Those are the most fashionable accessories you can wear and they never go out of style.
I learned a long time ago that when a man approaches you to ask for a date, you should never be rude, but make it quite clear if you aren’t interested. You can smile and keep walking if he tries to grab your hand on the street. You can politely entertain his conversation, and then, still politely say “No thank you” or something to that effect when he asks if he can call you. I’ve had some good experiences avoiding men I wasn’t interested in…but I’ve also had some bad ones. Let’s begin…
I’ll never forget, I lived in the “athletic” dorm in college (They weren’t really allowed to call it that, but that’s pretty much what it was because a vast majority of the student-athletes lived there, but I digress) There was this guy on the soccer team who ALWAYS tried to ask me out. I tried time and again to let him down gently, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He just WOULDN’T! And I reallywasn’t interested. For starters, when he introduced himself (and sadly, I don’t remember what his actual name was) he said…and I quote, “My name is Whatever-Since-I-Can’t-Remember-His-Name, but all the ladies call me Black Silk.
*Grand Opening, Grand Closing*
BLACK SILK????!!!! THAT’S what you’re opening up with?! And “ALL THE LADIES CALL YOU BLACK SILK”???? Sir, that is not the way to my heart, nor any other woman’s heart. But, of course, I didn’t say any of these things aloud. I simply smiled, said, “No thanks. I’m not really into dating right now”, or some other type of excuse.
A few days later, when he asked me out the next time, I’m sure I came up with some other evasive thing to say and managed to hightail it outta there before he started massaging my hands again. (Yeah, he was THAT guy)
One day,he cornered me in the hall on the way into my room after cheerleading practice. Again, don’t quite remember what he said, but again, I managed to give him the slip. After I went into my room and looked out of my peephole, I saw him standing there for a while, staring at my door…..yikes…….
A few days later I was eating lunch ins the café with my roommate (who also happened to be my sister) , and her then-boyfriend (who also happened to be on the soccer team) came walking over to our table.
Him: Hey Tee… My boy Whatever-Since-I-Can’t-Remember-His-Name on the soccer team wants to know what’s wrong with you. *snickers under his breath*
Me: *incredulous* What’s wrong with me????
Him: Yeah, he said he gave you three chances. *laughing becomes louder*
Me: Three chances? Three chances for what?????
Him: Three chances for you to go out with “Black Silk” *throws head back in full laughter*
Me: This is not funny! I’ve been avoiding this guy for the longest. I keep turning down his dates, but he just doesn’t seem to be getting them memo.
Him: I know. That’s exactly what he said. He said YOU’RE not getting the memo. The ladies love him, so he doesn’t understand why you’re being so ridiculous.
Me: I’M being ridiculous??????
Him: *dies laughing*
Needless, to say, I never did go out with Black Silk and I’m not sure what happened, but he never tried to ask me out again after that. But whenever I saw him around the dorm or on campus I always got the mean side eye…..
Ladies, how many of you have a funny story about avoiding a guy? How about you guys? Any crazy stories about avoiding a woman? Send submissions here and I’ll pick the two funniest and post them to my blog.
I remember when I first heard this song; I was in a bar in downtown Washington, DC . Largely, the song went ignored, but I was stunned. My first thought was, “What a simple yet profound tune. Well done, John”. My next thought was, “What the heck music channel is on in this bar?” A few seconds after the song went off, a guy, who I considered a friend, walked over to our table. “I hate this song!”, he exclaimed with a disgusted look crossing his face. I looked up at him in a haze of confusion and perhaps to many Magic Hats. Did he just say he HATES this song? Doesn’t he HAVE a daughter?? What is going on here??? I tried not to let the shock register on my face as he sat down to join us for the rest of the evening.
Later on I got to thinking about fathers, daughters, and relationships. My father was SUPER involved in my dating life growing up. Like, REALLY. First of all, I was not allowed to go on any dates until I was 16. (Did I mention I didn’t turn 16 until my junior year in high school?!?!) Anything before that was referred to as a “group outing” and group outings required adult supervision. Needless to say, I did not go on a whole lot of dates between ages 14 and 15
Finally, when I turned 16, many more guys were willing to ask me out on dates. I’ll never forget my very first one. For the sake of the story, we’ll call him “that boy”. He invited me out to the movies and I happily accepted. When I got home, I excitedly told my Mom about my date. With a twinkle in her eye she asked me if I had told my father yet. “No ma’am” I muttered. I KNEW where this was going. I slowly walked upstairs to my Dad’s office and knocked on the door. When he told me to come in, my heart was pounding. I carefully explained that a nice young man that I met at my church youth group’s skating party had asked me on a date. With a twinkle is HIS eye, my father asked what time this young man was coming to pick me up. “Seven-thirty”, I replied, avoiding eye contact. “Tell him to come by at 7”, my dad said. “Yes sir”. I walked to my room to call “that boy”. I THOUGHT I knew where this was going…..but I had no idea.
Friday night rolled around and I was getting ready for my date. Around 6:51pm, “that boy” rang the doorbell and my father answered. I came downstairs while “that boy” was in the process of introducing himself to my Mom and Dad. I grabbed his arm and attempted to head toward the door when father stops us. “Son, can I see you for a moment?” he said. My heart sank. My mother said she needed to give me something so I go back upstairs with her. 20 minutes I came back downstairs and my father and “that boy” are coming out of the living room. “That boy” had the strangest look on his face, and I did my best to ignore it. I hustled him out the front door.
Once in the safety of his car, I ask “that boy” what he and my father talked about. “Nothing much” he said, casually, all the while keeping his eyes on the highway. “He’s lying….I know it”, I thought to myself. I tried to make small talk on the short ride to the movie theater, but I knew something had changed between me and “that boy”.
I can’t say I remember what movie we saw, or even if we liked it or not, but I do remember “that boy” sitting straight up in his seat and repeatedly asking me if i was okay or if I needed anything. Needless to say, it was a little awkward, and as SOON as the movie was over, we practically went warp speed back to my house. He walked me to my doorstep and said he would call me later. He shook my father’s hand, nodded and smiled at my mother and walked back to his car. I turned, shot my father a dirty look, and went upstairs. I just KNEW I would never hear from “that boy” again.
Early the next week, I got a phone call from “that boy”. He wanted to know if I wanted to go out to dinner on Friday night. I accepted and slowly hung up the phone, my mind reeling. I didn’t understand. I thought this dude never wanted to see me again! I thought my father had said something horrible to him and he was in the process of telling EVERY guy in the tri-state area not to ask me out because my dad was crrrrrazy. My mind had already conceived a crap ton of heinous scenarios that would render my high school dating experience over and done, but, clearly, none of these scenarios came to fruition. He had just asked me out on a second date.
I ended up dating that guy for a little while. Further into our relationship, I begged him to tell me what my father said to him that first night. Between pulling info from both him and my father, I can only surmise the conversation went something like this:
Dad: So, son, what are your intentions with my daughter?
That Boy: I uh, want to take her to a movie sir.
Dad: Okay then. You will be back here at 9:30. Not one minute later. Do you understand?
That Boy: Yes sir.
Dad: My daughters are princesses son. Princesses…and frogs just won’t do. Are you a frog, son?
That Boy: Um..uh, no sir. Not at all.
Dad: And there WILL be no sex. Nothing horizontal of any sort. Do you understand son?
That Boy: *stunned* Um..Yes sir…I mean, No sir…I mean…I understand sir.
Dad: Good good. So, what college are you looking to go to son?
That Boy: Well, um..I haven’t really thought about it yet, but there are a few on my list…..
I never got much more out of either of them, but when I asked “That Boy” what made him call me back, he said something that stays with me to this day. “I really liked you but, to be honest, I didn’t know how serious I really wanted to be. With your father talking like that, I had to decide, and decide quickly whether or not I liked you enough to go through that sort of interrogation. It made me respect you and your family a lot more. And I hope that if I have a daughter one day, I’ll do the same thing to the boys who ask her out.”
We had a good run, but “That boy” and I didn’t end up staying together. Although I had many other dates after him, my father continued to interrogate each and every new date I ever had in that exact manner, right up until I left for college. I was embarrassed for many years about the way my father “screened” my potential suitors, but now that I’m older, I’m so grateful that he did what he did. My father was doing what he was supposed to do. He was being a good father to his daughter, and being good to me included screening the men that I chose to spend my time with. And not every guy I wanted to go out with passed my father’s interrogation, either. He rejected quite a few of them. I may have been mad at the time, and I’m sure that I missed out on a lot of dates because of my father’s rules, but I’ll bet I missed out on a lot of guys dogging me and a lot of heartache, too. Being dogged, messed over and hurt can affect a woman in such a way that she can’t even be in a relationship with a man who really loves her, and that’s a sad reality. Sometimes I wonder what became of the little girl who’s father said that he hated this song……..
I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me
Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too ~ John Mayer