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What should I wear for a first date? Eight "do's for dating

A couple of years ago I did a survey amongst a small selection of women on what they like to see men dressed in for dating and I used this info last weekend, when I did a webinar for dating coach Hayley Quinn and the group of guys that she's been working with.

In this blog post are the "8 Do's in Dressing for Dating" that we covered in the webinar and if you think you might like some coaching in dating from Hayley and her team, check out how you can work with her here.

Green suede jacket - what to wear for dating

1. Do wear soft tactile fabrics


This was one of the more surprising things that I heard from the women I asked - they like soft, tactile fabrics. Cashmere jumpers were the most obvious, but suede, needlecord, soft leather and velvet are also soft and very stroke-able!

I love this green suede jacket by Mr P at Mr Porter - £595 or for something different why not try a needlecord shirt?

Fit of a suit - what should I wear on a first date

2. Do make sure your clothes fit well

I think every single woman I spoke to mentioned this - they don't like baggy, ill fitting clothes, so this is the first thing to look at in your wardrobe.

Are you trousers bunching up at the hem? Do your blazer jacket cuffs come halfway down your hand? Does your sweater have acres of room under the armpit and you can gather handfuls of it around your waist? If so, I urge you to go to a tailor to have things taken in or taken up, or buy some new things.

You can see from the picture above, how much more flattering well fitting clothes are!

Dark slim jeans - menswear advice for dating


3. Do wear jeans

There are very few women that will be expecting you to turn up in a suit, so go ahead and wear jeans. BUT, make sure they're the dark slim fitting variety, not the faded, baggy Jeremy Clarkson ones. I know paler ones are coming back into fashion but the darker ones are more classic. And unless you're under 35 steer clear of rips. 

I find the fit of these "Delaware" indigo slim leg jeans from Boss at Harvey Nichols - £120, to be flattering and smart. Other brands I frequently buy with clients that have slim (rather than skinny) fits are Nudie, Acne, 7 For All Mankind and Neuw and if you fancy a change from indigo, you could get grey, black or khaki.

Accessories - tips for men for dating outfits

4. Do add some accessories 

Another thing that was noted about men, was the accessories they were wearing when dating. Women took these into consideration, and liked to see good quality accessories - wallets, belts, socks with a bit of detail, and pocket squares and scarves that tone with the colours in their outfit. They really do help to finish off your look and make an ordinary outfit look great.

Herringbone wool blend scarf in burgundy - John Lewis - £30

Brown suede belt with silver buckle - Suit Supply - £49

Wool & silk blend double sided dot pocket square - Suit Supply - £29

Creed aftershave - mens grooming tips for dating

5. Do smell nice

There were some mixed views on scent - some said it wasn't important and some loved it! Mostly the ladies liked it but it's probably best not to drown yourself in it. Smell is a very personal thing and you wouldn't want to ruin your date because, though she thought you could be her knight in shining armour, she couldn't stand your scent!

If you're not keen on wearing it, or want to go more subtle use a scented showergel or body moisturiser instead.

Aventus by Creed - £215 for 100ml

Grooming - menwear tips for single men

6. Do be well groomed but not too much


Women like so see their date well groomed, though not quite as much as Joey and Rylan (above) - or perhaps only if you're from Essex! They want someone who looks after themselves but not look like they might spend more time in front of the bathroom mirror than them!

Regular haircuts are important - even if you don't have much hair left, it needs to be tidy around the edges. Tidy up nose and ear hair, and keep your fingernails (and toe nails) short, neat and clean. If you live in London, why not treat yourself and pay a visit to Aldwyn & Sons who do manicures and pedicures just for men.

Jigsaw shirt - what women like to see men dressed in for dates

 7. Do wear a shirt


The majority of women I talked to liked to see a guy in a shirt rather than a t-shirt.

It doesn't have to be as smart as a business shirt but could be a button down, or maybe a darker colour than normal. Recently I got this lovely dark green brushed cotton (another tactile fabric) one with a client - it really enhanced the colour of his blue/green eyes! Something to take into consideration for when looking for a shirt.

You could also go for something with a small pattern or print, like this one. Look for a fitted shape that doesn't cling or pull but isn't swamping you with fabric either.

"Edward" garment dyed shirt - Jigsaw - £79

Brown suede shoes - tips from women on what to wear for a date

8. Do wear nice shoes

Shoes - so many women have said this is important.......in fact one woman told me she left a date because she didn't like his shoes! Admittedly she was 18 at the time and it was a long time ago, but why risk it? They can make or break your outfit and even people that aren't into fashion will notice a nice pair of shoes - note this episode of Love in the Countryside, where Victoria says "Give me a pair of brown suede loafers and I'm yours".

A lot of the women I spoke to mentioned wearing boots as a casual alternative to trainers, but I'd say trainers are fine too, as long as they're clean and if you're a bit older I'd go for smart, leather ones rather than sporty styles.

If you're not sure what to get, have a look at these other posts I wrote:

 What shoes to wear with a smart/casual outfit and  Brown suede shoes for every occasion.

Brown suede wing tip brogues - Tod's at Mr Porter - £470

"All my family and friends are amazed by how I now look - literally gob-smacked - and I feel much more confident as a result. Thank-you Sarah!"

Like some further inspiration for dating outfits? Here's some more posts for you:

How to dress in smart casual for dating - styling tips for men

How to dress smart/casual for a date

3 x menswear outfits for dating - what to wear on a date

3 go to menswear looks for winter dating