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How to Dress on a First Date

Don't let your nerves impact your style on a first date. Wear something you like, but remember to dress for the occasion and make a good impression.


  • Step 1: Dress for a fancy occasion, like a cocktail party, by mixing basics with contrasting shoes or a bag if you're a woman. Dress up in your formal wear for a fancy occasion if you're a man. You don't need a tuxedo, but you should wear a smart, two-button suit with a tapered shirt in dark colors.
  • Step 2: Wear clothes you're comfortable in, regardless of the event. You don't want to be thinking about how much your shoes hurt your feet or how your jeans are digging into your stomach. Nothing saps confidence like feeling self-conscious.
  • FACT: According to a poll, 81 percent of respondents said that a coffee house would be most likely to guarantee a good date.
  • Step 3: Dress appropriately for an active date. For activities like bowling, batting cages, or paintball, jeans are a given. Wear gym shoes and clothes that you won't mind messing up, but don't look sloppy. Tie your hair back out of your face, avoid dangly jewelry, and bring a bag you can sling over your shoulder.
  • Step 4: Go dressy-casual for a dinner date if you're a man. Wear khakis or cotton twill five-pocket pants with an Oxford shirt and a sports jacket. If your destination warrants a tie, wear a narrow one with a two-button suit.
  • TIP: A daytime date can mean brunch, a picnic, a museum, an outdoor concert, or a daytime movie. Bring a sweater in case you get cold.
  • Step 5: Dress according to how formal the restaurant is for a dinner date. Ladies, being underdressed is always better than looking too fancy. If you're wearing jeans, pair them with heels. A little black dress is always appropriate for a dinner date.
  • TIP: Avoid silk unless you're a really neat eater, and bring a grown-up purse.
  • Step 6: Wear jeans for a daytime date. Women who are not into jeans should go for a print dress with a denim jacket and casual, low heels. Guys can opt for flat-front khakis and lace-up Oxfords.

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