Dress to Impress

appearance dating tips
Couple on a date - dress to impress

Men and women are both attracted to others who present themselves well.

You may not be fully aware of what looking good really means. You may be wondering what the right clothes and accessories are to wear on your date that will present yourself well and authentically.

Dr. Shawn Fornari, Writer-Director and an expert in Contemporary Leadership Trust & Values, emphasizes the power of the initial presentation. “First dates are all about impressions and you had better make them good. You really don’t get a second chance after that initial entrance.”

Dr. Fornari expanded with the psychology behind it all. “If you watch a good film, the first time a character is introduced, is usually in a big and memorable fashion.” Most people make major decisions and judgments based on appearances. So, grab the opportunity to look your best when you score a first date. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Jennifer Butler (www.jenniferbutlercolor.com). Actually, I had Jennifer “do my colors” to help me select colors for my clothing. According to Jennifer Butler’s website, for 35 years she has worked with leading celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures, authors, artists and Fortune 500 executives to teach them visual communication through wearing their season’s colors.

People carry the energy of a season in their unique coloring and personality. Since 90% of communication is nonverbal, when you find your colors and learn how to dress with intention, you can create a life you love in business, communication, relationships, family, friends and more.

When her clients dress in their power colors, they share incredible stories of transformation. The True Beauty Movement shifts the old paradigm of trying to look like someone else to expressing your unique authentic beauty by being you.

What a difference she made in my personal life and business career. I never had so many compliments. I highly recommend Jennifer Butler and am sure you will be extremely happy with the results. While you may choose to forego getting your colors done so for now, here are five tips on dressing for dating success. Mull these over then apply them. See how your dating life will improve

Some Comments for Men

1. Pull yourself together from head to toe. Get a haircut, groom your nails, check your teeth and polish your shoes. Don't skip these details because they are absolute dating deal breakers.

2. Wear a shirt that enhances your eye color, skin tone and hair color to make you look healthy and vibrant. Look around your closet and pull out the one shirt that, when you wear it, everyone says you look amazing. Don't have one of those? I guarantee you're not wearing colors that make you look great.

3. Make sure your clothes fit properly. Too tight? You're going to look scrawny or pudgy. Too baggy? You look sloppy and like someone who doesn't care about himself or his date.

4. Bulk up your chest. Horizontal stripes, heavier, textured fabrics and knits will give you bulk. Slightly wider lapels on jackets help as well.

5. Got a little belly? Besides going to the gym, you are best off with darker colors or vertical strips along with soft, matte fabrics. This creates a longer, leaner look.

At all costs, avoid shiny shirts. A first date means you'll want to be making a fantastic impression. Deciding what to wear can be difficult because you're not really sure what will show you to your best advantage and whether or not it'll also be comfortable, warm or cool enough, and something that simply works for you. Plan ahead. Lay out a couple of options.

Some Comments for Women

Choosing clothes that make you feel at your best - confident, happy and comfortable - is the first thing to keep in mind. If you feel confident, you will radiate confidence. It’s a double plus if you're comfortable, too!

Avoid overdressing or underdressing for the occasion. Find out ahead of time where your date will be, so that you know what sort of clothes will be appropriate. If you're going to the local sideshow and taking rides, your jeans and a colorful sweater or t-shirt would work well.

Going to a posh restaurant would require an elegant evening outfit. Know that the clothing you wear send out signals. What signals your presentation will be sending out should the question at the foremost of your mind when selecting the clothes.

Wear a color that suits you rather than your favorite color. While they might be one and the same, if not, select a color that brings out the very best in you. Remember to take advice only if it works for you.

While it can be fun to invite a girlfriend to come over to help you select which clothes to wear, it can also be confusing if she doesn't have the same style as you. You could end up dressed in a way that doesn't reflect you or that creates her image of you.

Avoid looking too vampy or flirtatious on a first date. Since you don't really know each other well yet, being suggestive or provocative on a first date is a definite no-no.

Worst still, looking too vampy might cause your date to think of you as a one-night date rather than treating you as a serious long-term prospect. There will be time to see more of you as your dates progress. If the date doesn't work out, well, he didn't deserve to see anything more!

Clothing to avoid on a first date includes:

  • Anything too low cut, low slung. If you wear a low-cut top, don't pair it with a short skirt, or vice versa. One slightly suggestive item of clothing is more than sufficient; don't ruin it by making an overall statement.
  • A tummy roll over your jeans. Unpleasant and unlikely to garner further interest no matter how much you think it's your right to dress this way. Save it for nondate occasions.
  • Short, figure-hugging clothing. The shorter it is, the less appropriate it is for a first date.
  • Lace-up tops, bodices displaying too much décolletage, anything see-through.

Know what looks good on you. If you don't, ask your mom or a sibling to be honest about the clothes they think you look best in.

You are in charge of your destiny where self-presentation comes into it, and part of this is knowing what sets off your own assets to greatest advantage.

Use a modest amount of perfume. You don't want to asphyxiate your date with your fragrance: the poor man could faint. Use just enough perfume to caress and seduce his senses in a subtle way.

Wear what works, not what the latest catwalk model is dancing around in. You can wear those sexy high heels shoes as long as you can walk in them. High heels shoes will make you look taller, give you a nice posture and make your legs look longer. But if you're not used to wearing high heels don't put them on for your first date. It could make you look insecure, walk clumsily and hurt your ankle - not the best scene for a successful date. Make the right choices.   

  • Shoes with small kitten heels can give you that sexy look.
  • On budget? Take a look at your friend’s shoe collection. They may have just what you need.
  • Make sure the shoes fit you well and feel comfortable. It worked out for Cinderella to lose a shoe, but could spoil your date and leave you embarrassed. 
  • Wear your hair styled the way you usually do. While it's fine to make it look nicer, don’t give your date a wrong impression of who you are or smell like a firebomb of hairspray. For the first date keep it simple and real, same thing goes for your make-up.
  • Elaborate hairstyles causing you pain during the date will have your mind focused on overcoming the pain rather than on your date. Forget anything that twists and pulls your hair in strange new ways. Wear your hair in a way that you know feels good.

For both men and women, don't forget to wear a big smile. Big smiles go with every outfit! To take it to the next level, you may consider having a colors consultation with someone who know this subject. I had this done and I have never received so many compliments