What to Wear on a First date, a Guest Post with Nicola Davis Personal Style Consultant
This month’s blog comes courtesy of Daisy Mae, author of “Dating Daisy” which tells the story of 52 year newly-divorced Daisy’s quest to find romance through internet dating. Daisy came to me to have her colours analysed and also took the opportunity to get my advice on what to wear for dates. Here’s her account of our conversation which also features on her website.
How to dress for that first date?
I started by asking asked Nicola why she feels dressing for that first date is just so vital?
“However young or old you are and however many times in your life you’ve done it, dressing for that crucial first date can cause a lot of anxiety,“ she replied.
It goes without saying that Nicola of course – looks incredibly stylish herself! She’s wearing a warm coral coloured jumper and a brown leather pencil skirt. These colours just suit her skin tone impeccably. She looks stunning and fresh, a great example of how knowing your correct colours can be just so beneficial to your over all look.
Nicola continued, “Now, I don’t want to pile on the pressure but in a recent survey of 1,232 male adults from around the UK, all of whom were currently in relationships, a whopping 92% said they remembered what their partner was wearing on their first date! I’m afraid there is a first date dress code!”
I was incredulous to hear this. However, she may well have got this right! Edward, who if you have read Dating Daisy features heavily in my book, remembers me getting out of my car the first time we met, in my white designer jeans and a floaty, daisy-yellow top! He mentions it frequently. (Sounds like I got it right!? – I spent forever prancing around choosing that!) – Well “lemon” is on my personal list of colours! By the way, when Nicola helped me choose my perfect colours, I was “light, warm and clear,” and my personal palette displayed in my own colour wallet, which Nicola gave me to take home with me at the end of the session, are fantastic.
I went on to explain to Nicola that having been internet dating myself, I know how difficult it is to choose just the right outfit for a first date. I would spend perhaps the whole of the week before an upcoming date, every evening, after work, pulling things out of the back of my wardrobe, breathing in! – and parading in front of the mirror! Maybe some of you reading this have done exactly the same!
“The thing is,” I said, “having the courage to do the internet dating is hard enough. Then suddenly, you’ve met someone who seems nice, you’ve been emailing, and OMG, it’s time to have a date! For many middle aged women they haven’t had to think about going on a date for 2 or 3 decades!”
“I absolutely get that,” agreed Nicola “and that’s why getting the outfit and the style just right for you, is so important.”
“I did some research before meeting up with you today,” I told Nicola. “Where do you think is the most common location to meet for a first date? This is a piece of research from an American dating app, called Clover, that got 1.5 million responses … No … No posh restaurants … or hotels … wait for this! … it’s Starbucks!”
“Wow!” Nicola seemed surprised!
“Actually you’re spot on with this as an issue,” she continued. “It’s so important on the first date, to dress up for the occasion. It really depends where you are going for your date. It could be dinner? A pub lunch? A country walk? Or even speed-dating? You need to dress in a style that is appropriate to the venue as well as fitting with your own style personality“.
I filled Nicola in about the rest of the Clover internet dating survey. “The next most common places to meet for first dates, were burger bars, fast food chicken restaurants … and then … Central Park! The women tended to favour just meeting for coffee, so they could make a quick getaway! – and the men preferred the restaurants and something a little more substantial.”
“I do recall meeting a guy for a pub lunch,” I told Nicola, “and then afterwards he suggested a walk beside the sea. I really wished I hadn’t worn such high heels! And also – as is so often the case because so many people tell lies on the internet! – he wasn’t nearly as tall as he had said he was on his dating profile – which was OK when we were sitting down, but quite uncomfortable when we were walking along side by side and I was towering over him!”
“Heels are great, and I do recommend them for the first date, but not obviously if you are planning a walk! They do elongate the leg and add a touch of class to most female outfits,”
Nicola continued, “but in terms of your clothing, I would always suggest keeping it fairly simple. A first date is not the occasion for wild fashion statements – unless this is absolutely integral to who you are. Go for something current, flattering and relatively understated.”
(I didn’t tell her at this point – about my date at Pig Paradise Farm and the incident in the mud with my welly boot, with which I parted company stuck in the pig mud – in a very ungainly fashion!)
“I always find it interesting,” I said, “that for example the Duchess of Cambridge has been voted the best dressed woman in England, and yet she always wears very traditional, quite staid even, although very stylish, clothes.”
Nicola went on to say, “Yes, she dresses well for her role and for the occasion. In general it’s advisable not to reveal too much skin on a first date! You can save that for later – if you get to date number 2! – I really feel simple and understated is usually the best way to go, especially on a first date when you just don’t really know who you are meeting and you want to make a good impression.”
“I’m sure a lot of women rush out and buy a new outfit for this all important occasion! Is this a good thing to do?” I asked Nicola.
“I would really advise not to do this. Don’t buy a whole new outfit. Shopping for a new outfit is likely to put you under too much pressure and you may end up with something that’s not really “you” and then you just won’t feel comfortable. Why not wear a favourite outfit you know you look good in? This will also ensure that you don’t run the risk of a “wardrobe malfunction.” After all, a first date is not the time you want to find out that your skirt rides up uncomfortably high when you sit down or that your neckline gapes when you lean forward.”
I’m trying to think what I did on my own internet dates? The thing was, I lost about 3 stone during and after my divorce. So I did – quite literally – take all my clothes to a charity shop! Then I went off to John Lewis with a suitcase! – I’m not joking! – So I did have some new clothes! But as I was completely starting from scratch I just bought plain colours, simple classic things I knew I could wear over and over again and mix and match. I did enjoy buying myself some new – dare I say – sexy underwear though! I told Nicola and she found this hilarious.
She went on to talk to me about make up. “Wear make-up, but go easy. Men may claim to prefer women who don’t wear make-up but, the truth is, they often simply don’t realise that attractive women are wearing it. I guarantee that unless you are a woman of extraordinary natural beauty (and how many of us can claim that?), you will look better wearing a little make-up, even if it is just for a walk in the country.”
I think I might need to come back to Nicola for a little make-up lesson actually! This has never been one of my better talents, so like most women, I just end up usually wearing hardly any at all – and what I do put on, regularly runs and smudges around my eyes. I find it impossible to choose the right shade of foundation – do you?
I think this needs revisiting in the future.
“What colours are the best dating colours? Are there any favourites?” I asked?
“Funnily enough there are! Research would suggest you should wear red! In the survey I mentioned earlier, 27% of men rated red as the most attractive colour a woman could wear. There are five top colours worn by women which seem most likely to attract a future partner! Red came first and this was followed by blue, green, black and purple – in that order!”
“So purple is out!” I replied, remembering guiltily that I used to wear a purple dress! “And black – by the sounds of things!”
“Yes, ditch the black, at least not too close to your face,” replied Nicola.
“There are so many beautiful colours that may tone with your skin, helping you to look younger and fresher. It’s hard to generalise, but black is a better colour on the whole for separates, or sometimes shoes or accessories.”
“Do you think men think just as hard about how to dress on a first date?” I asked?
“There is quite a lot of advice for men out there about this,” replied Nicola. “Men also need to consider their personal style. They do need to pay attention and not make any serious wardrobe malfunction! Purple is their best shirt colour for dates and a touch of red works well too. Good quality accessories like stylish watches and back packs are in.
A blazer or a tailored jacket over dark denim or tan trousers for a casual date. Don’t be under dressed. Women are really impressed with men that make an effort.”
I remembered my date with the Internet Phantom, who had refused to send me a photograph, assuring me he had all the right attributes! After more than 100 emails, and in great trepidation I got out of my car to meet him for the first time in a car park. And there he was, white haired, Dickensian, with stripey tie and shiny shoes, at least 10 years older than me! – and as I described in my book – the look was “just out of the bowls club!” It might have been fine – if I had a blue rinse myself? – or perhaps if it hadn’t been for the halitosis!”
I was so pleased to share Nicola’s experience today, about dressing for a first date. She gave some invaluable tips, and I’m sure I’ll be continuing to seek her advice.
Thanks enormously Nicola – it’s been so good to talk to you today! I wonder how I managed my previous internet dates without any terrible faux pas…… Hmmm…Now I’m out tonight…where did I put that see- through, crimplene poncho … ?
Oh – and just to say – on that first date, if you want to know what to say to a man, or if you’re a man, and what to know what to say to a woman … why not have a look on my blog! Click here to read more on this!
Daisy Mae x
Writer, doctor, Agony Aunt
Contact me via the website, or by email