Perfect first date dressing

Getting dressed up for a first date can be horrendously difficult, especially if you’re newly single after years of being with the same person.

Suddenly, you become aware that you need to dress more alluringly. But when you haven’t bought date clothes for 20 years it can be hard to know what to go for.

One smart and attractive friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, has what she calls her ‘perfect first date dress’ which is animal print and very revealing. She thinks it says sexy, but unfortunately it screams out ‘mutton dressed as lamb.’ [Thanks for the Britishism there Lola…you lost us for sec there…Ed.]

This is a common problem, says Vancouver-based image consultant Diana Kilgour, and often men are even worse when they try to dress right for dating. “There are those guys who are still wearing the things their wives picked out for them 15 years ago or the ones who wear bad jeans with lace-up dress shoes,” says Kilgour. “And there are those who try to dress hip like their sons but can’t quite pull it off.

“When you are trying to look put together for that all-important first date, you should be wearing clothes that don’t break any real rules (such as looking like you borrowed your outfit from your daughter) or that will make someone have a bad impression of you,” says Kilgour.

Here are three things Kilgour says we should consider when planning your perfect first date outfit:

Looking current
It’s really important that you dress current, though this doesn’t have to mean that you are looking “in.” Some people have got stuck in time, and that can really be off-putting. You need to look as though you’ve shopped for clothes in the past few years so take a look through your closet and see whether each item could be easily bought in the stores today if you needed to replace it.

If you’re wearing things that look overtly dated or out of style it could create a less-than-favorable impression, so donate those tired old togs to charity and invest in something more flattering.

Looking correct
You need to dress tastefully, for sure, but you also need to dress appropriately for the season and the kind of date you are going on, so be sure to establish that in advance. That way, you won’t turn up in spike heels to go horse-back riding.

Dressing tastefully doesn’t mean that you can’t look sexy, far from it. Choose alluringly tactile fabrics or, if you have beautiful skin, show some of it. A little bit of cleavage with a black dress may work, but if the dress is hot pink then it’s a different story. You should be looking for sexy but classy instead of flashy and trashy. For men, looking classic is going to create a better impression than just trying to dress young.

Personalize your look
You want to let some of your personality show through in your current and correct outfit. Work with your coloring and personality to show what makes you unique. If you are clueless as to what your style is, then it may be a good time to either get a professional in to help, or you could try asking a stylish friend to cast a critical eye over you (so long as you have thick skin.)

It’s all about being authentic. You want to present an attractive but honest package. The objective is to look like yourself, only more so, and this will come with developing your own sense of style.

Accessories and jewelry are a good way to show off the kind of person you are. For example wearing pearls makes a very different statement from wearing a hammered metal arty pendant. Accessories that match your lifestyle, such as an attractive diving watch, could make a great conversation starter.

Definite no-nos
Reflecting on these three things should help you assess whether you are dressing appealingly but there are several things that Kilgour says instantly age women and men.

For the gals, avoid the following:
• Dated daytime handbags with party clothes
• Too much or no make-up
• Stiff hair
• Over-powering mists of perfume
• Wearing the wrong coat over a dress or skirt (this makes an otherwise great outfit look unfinished)

For the guys it’s…
• Wearing a lot of muddy colors (no olive jackets!) as menswear is very clean-looking these days
• Bad jeans
• The wrong socks with your shoes (no tube socks with dress shoes, no wearing socks with sandals)
• The trusty navy-blazer-with-grey-trouser combo
• Big heavy leather jackets
• Anything camouflage-patterned

If you don’t feel confident about updating your look, you may do well to book an appointment with an image consultant who will tell you how to work best with what you’ve got already, then advise you on what kind of clothes you should buy for yourself in the future.

“People are so excited once they’ve had a consultation that they often say they wish they’d had one years ago,” says Kilgour, “and anyone’s style can be fixed or vastly improved upon.”

Article courtesy of Click by Lavalife.

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