3 expert tips to help you dress for a first date

Steve Cochrane is Managing Director of the designer clothing retailer Psyche, so he knows all about dressing to impress. Here, he gives his top tips for picking an outfit for a first date.

What you wear on a first date is important, as the person you’re meeting will be able to tell a lot about you from your clothing. But, working out how to give them the best possible first impression can be tricky. Luckily, I’ll be taking some of the pressure off by giving you expert tips to help you dress for your first date, so all you need to think about is having fun!

Dress for the occasion

What you wear on your first date should depend on what you’re planning to do. It’s always best to turn up overdressed rather than underdressed, so your date can see that you’ve made an effort — but you don’t want to turn up to the cinema in a three-piece suit, either!

For casual dates

For casual dates, like a cinema trip or a quick coffee date, try to lean more towards a smart-casual outfit. For men, this should be something like a button-down shirt, some tapered fit jeans, and smart shoes like brogues or loafers. If it’s cold out, add a stylish crew neck jumper or cardigan to keep you warm.

For women, you could wear a midi dress or skirt with a pair of ballet pumps. Try to stay away from heels, especially if you’re going to be doing something active like bowling, mini golf, or dancing, as your feet could start to get tired which might ruin your date. You could also wear a smart top or blouse and a pair of jeans if the weather is cold or you’ll feel more comfortable. 

For formal dates 

For a more formal date, like a sit-down dinner, dress a little fancier. Men should wear a crisp button-down shirt and a pair of jeans, chinos, or dress trousers. Make sure you finish your look off with a well-tailored blazer and a pair of Oxford shoes or brogues, too. For women, a midi wrap dress is a good option, as it can be extremely flattering as well as comfortable. Or, wear a pair of loose fitting, flowy trousers, a blouse and a blazer. You can even wear a pair of complementary heels, as you don’t have to worry about being on your feet all day.

Showcase your personality

To impress your date, you’ll want to make sure your outfit showcases your personality, but try to keep things subtle to avoid overwhelming them. You could incorporate your individuality into your outfit through your accessories, like some statement socks, a fancy watch, or a patterned scarf. If you feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, your date is going to see your confidence, too. 

Wear the right colours

If you find yourself gravitating towards black and red clothing ahead of your date, you won’t be alone. A study published in Evolutionary Psychology analysed the clothing worn by participants on the TV show First Dates and found that people were more likely to wear red and black outfits on a date compared to everyday. It’s thought that participants felt more confident, fashionable, and attractive in these colours. And, if you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to come across well. You could go for a red top and black jeans or a skirt. Or, wear all black and accessorise with a red handbag, shoes, or scarf.

If you don’t feel like wearing red or black, opt for a colour in which you feel your best. You could match your shirt to your eyes to help them stand out, or you could wear your favourite colour. Just make sure to pick a hue you love. 

Deciding what to wear for a first date can be difficult. But, by following the tips in this guide, you can have one less thing to worry about.