The most difficult part of going on a date with someone who’s taken your fancy is, undoubtedly, plucking up the courage to ask them out! 

If you’ve managed to score a ”yes” from your crush, the hardest part is over. But in order to stay in their good books, you’ll need to look the part. Yes, looks aren’t everything, but a first-impression always counts. 

So, if you find yourself staring blankly at your wardrobe asking ”what should I wear on a first date?”, we’ve got you covered…  

What Should I Wear on a First Date? How to Master Smart-Casual 

Sure, men may have it a little easier than women when it comes to preparing for a first date. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put a little extra effort into what to wear- whether you’re meeting for the first or fifth time.

After all, this ain’t date with an escort, this is a date with someone you want to impress. So here are a few tips that should help: 

1. Go For Dark Denim 

In all honesty, not many men can pull off light-wash denim jeans. And when it comes to a first date, dark denim is definitely the way to go. Stick to solid dark denim and avoid any form of acid wash or fading at all costs! 

Dark denim is extremely versatile and suits basically any type of setting or venue. So whether you’re meeting for a pizza, going to a bar, or even a more formal dinner, dark denim will fit right in.

Go for a straight-leg jean style as it’s universally flattering on all body types. 

2. Add Style With Layers 

There is a fine art to layering and making it look stylish at the same time. If you overdo it with too many layers, you may look chunkier than you really are. Without layers, your look may appear a little unfinished. 

The safest bet is to go with two layers. Go for a standard, simple shirt as your bottom layer and throw over a sporty bomber jacket, a casual zip sweater, classic sport coat or a denim or leather jacket. Avoid hoodies at all costs! 

This will give you a polished, dimensional look without too much fuss.  

3. To Wear a Collar Or Not? 

This is debatable but is almost always determined by the venue or setting of your date. Some may say that a collared shirt is a must for first dates, while others may argue that it’s too ”stuffy” or formal. 

Ultimately, it’s always better to play-it-safe and go for a more formal look than a more casual one. Go for a collared polo shirt if a formal button-down shirt is just not your style. Remember to keep the pattern and color of your shirt relatively simple, too. 

4. It’s All in the Shoes 

If there’s anything that can make or break an outfit it’s the shoes you choose to wear with it. When in doubt for a first date, always opt for a more dressier shoe. 

A great fit for dark denim jeans is either a Chelsea boot, derby shoe, brogues, or even a pair of high-end sneakers if you’re meeting at a super casual spot. Avoid square toe Oxford type shoes as these should be reserved for formal occasions only! 

5. Accessorize at a Minimum 

Accessories on a first date are almost always a no-no, except for a classic watch or cuff. Remember the sentiment of ”less is more” and keep things sleek, simple, and classic. 

6. Prioritize the Fit of Your Clothes 

One of the most important aspects of looking sharp and put together for a first date is determined by how your clothes fit. Often, it’s not about how much you actually spend on clothes, but how well they suit your body type. 

If you’re in good shape, there’s no harm in showing off your body with a fitted silhouette in your clothing. Read: fitted, not skin tight! Go for comfort and not constriction. 

If you are insecure about a certain area of your body, wear clothes that will make you feel comfortable and confident. This doesn’t mean a baggy hoodie or t-shirt, but a something’s that’s both well-fitted and flattering.

7. Consider the Venue of Your Date

Where you’re actually meeting plays a big role in the type of clothes you should wear on a first date. Dressing for the occasion matters, so plan your outfit based on the look and feel of your date venue. 

If you’re meeting at a bar, it’s perfectly acceptable to ”dress down” and keep it more casual, i.e. dark denim, a casual shirt, dressy sneakers. 

Style No-No’s To Avoid 

While the golden rules of first-date fashion are fairly simple, here are a few things you should 100% avoid, no matter what number date it is: 

  • Busy, crazy, over-the-top shirt patterns, colors or crass slogans 
  • Hoodies- this just screams laziness and a no-care attitude 
  • Open-toe shoes – this is a major no-no, even in fine weather. Opt for a loafer, casual sneaker, or moccasin instead
  • Hats or peaks- this may give the impression you’re trying to hide something underneath!
  • Sunglasses indoors- if there’s one way to create a bad impression, it’s with sunglasses, especially indoors. Don’t wear them, not even on top of your head.
  • Ties – this can create a stuffy impression and make your date feel like they are under-dressed for the occasion 
  • Tucked in shirts- if you’re wearing denim, avoid tucking in your shirt (hello, 1980!) unless you’re wearing a jacket over the top or it’s a formal occasion. 

And finally, always pay attention to the details. Make sure to shave, brush every hair into place, iron your clothes beforehand, etc. It isn’t over-the-top, it will help you to feel more confident and smash out an amazing first date! 

Looking For Dating Advice?

If ”what should I wear on a first date” isn’t your only question about dating, then take a look at the rest of our site for all the dating, sex, and relationship advice you need!  We update our website regularly, so don’t miss out on valuable tips and tricks on handling life’s most awkward, exciting, and memorable events…