Dress to Impress: How to Wow a Woman on a First Date (written by a woman!)

Let's be honest, there really isn't much difference between a first date and a job interview: the nervousness, the awkward greeting, the on-going series of "get to know you" questions. And just like an interview for a job you really want, when you get ready for a first date you have to make sure you're dressed to make a killer impression.

Studies show that first impressions take about 7 to 17 seconds to form and more than half (55%!) of someone's opinion of you is determined by your looks. Now we know that dating (and relationships) shouldn't be all about appearances. But like it or not, your clothes will let your date get a glimpse of who you are before you even start in on any conversations. As a women, this has been especially drilled into my head because men are "visual creatures". Well, guess what? Women have eyes, too! And we will notice and appreciate a man who looks like he took time getting ready for us. On the flip side, will also notice the wrinkles in his shirt or a pair of mismatched socks. So with this in mind, here are some insider tips from a woman's perspective on how to dress for a date and wow her from the very beginning:

First Thing's First

Before we get to the actual getting dressed part, let's begin with taking off your clothes and hopping in the shower. Trust me, you'll feel fresh and ready to go once you've washed the rest of the day away.

Next, make sure to take care of any facial hair, whether that's trimming up or shaving for a clean face. This is important since it's hard for a woman to imagine smooching a guy with a crazy goatee or rough stubble.

Take a good, honest look at your hair and make sure it isn't out of control either. Most likely you'll just want to run some pomade through it just to give it some style and polish. Simple, but it will make a difference in your overall look.

For whatever reason, I've been noticing a lot of men who seem to be very wary when it comes to wearing cologne. Probably because they got in the bad habit of bathing themselves with it in middle school. And not that we want to revisit that, but how about trying to find some middle ground between smelling like the cologne counter and wearing nothing at all. Women love when a man smells good. Even to this day, there are certain colognes that the moment I smell them, a certain man will come to mind and I can't help but smile. What guy doesn't want to be remembered like that?

Getting Dressed

Most dates you go on will probably fit into the "casual date" category (going to see a movie or grabbing dinner) so we'll start with how to dress for that type of date. For tops, my all-time favorite shirt for a chill date is a casual button-up shirt. Solid or plaid, the button up isn't too serious or dressy, but still looks sharp on a man and always seems to positively accentuates his upper body. Another great option is a polo which is also a step above a t-shirt, but not too dressed up. For pants, dark jeans without a whole lot of destruction are a good pick. Anything that is too destructed or washed down might come across as too casual.

If you do happen to be going on a nicer date, like to the theatre, you'll want to look appropriate without going overboard. A favorite and easy dressy option is to wear a casual blazer over a button-up dress shirt with pants. I favor a rich tan color for this piece because it's so versatile. You can wear it with a nice pair of jeans or dress up a little more with trousers. This will create a cleaned up look that is stylish without trying too hard.

I highly doubt you'll need to be very dressed up for a first date, but one day your best buddy might want to try to set you up with a hot cousin at his wedding so I want you to be prepared. Luckily, dressing for a fancier first date is kind of a no brainer: wear a suit. Every woman loves the way a man looks in a suit. Not only do you look put together, you'll exude confidence. For this date, wear your favorite suit with a shirt and tie that shows off your personal style. Conservative guys don't need to feel bad about keeping it classy, while the trendy guy can have fun mixing up colors and pattern combinations.

Finishing Touches

When it comes to shoes, please, please try not to wear sneakers. You are taking out a lady, not running a marathon. Not sure what to wear? A nice casual leather shoe is always a good way to go if you're wearing jeans or chinos. Just make sure they're comfortable if you'll be doing any walking.

Make sure you belt matches your shoes. It's a smaller detail, but she will notice.

If you have a nice watch, wear it. There's a sophistication a watch brings to a man's outfit that women notice and appreciate.

Now that we've gone through the essential steps to getting ready for a first date, I don't want you to get the impression that I think you should be a high maintenance clothes-horse (leave that to us, ladies!). Caring about your appearance doesn't mean you need to go over the top. Putting in some extra effort for a date isn't about vanity, it's about respect. But just like basketball shorts don't make you Lebron James, great clothes won't make you a great date. The tips I have for you may help you look good, but it's your sparkling personality that will have to carry you the rest of the way.

Cladwell is the man’s personal clothing expert. We help you figure out which clothes to keep and which ones to buy based on your specific needs and preferences. Try it and let us find some clothes that look great on your budget.


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