There are two places you really want to make a good first impression: a job interview and a first date. But while most job interviews have a similar dress code, dates area totally different ballgame.
There are all sorts of factors, like how well you already know your date, what you are planning on doing, where you are going, etc., and we will try to account for all these variables as well as we can.
However, it isn’t always a first date that requires impressing, especially since a certain holiday is fast approaching. Here are style tips for whatever your dating needs.
Let’s start on the more formal end:
This date is to a nice restaurant or maybe a play or some other type of performance. You still want to look nice and dressed up, even though you aren’t at a black tie event (if you are check out Black Tie Done Right). Even the examples I’ve shown vary in formality, but notice they all have ties. Sweaters and leather jackets are a bit more casual than a suit jacket or blazer would be. Lighter colors also ten to be less formal. If you want to go the vest route, bring a jacket; you can take it off once you’re seated, but the look is incomplete without it on a nice date.
Moving on to a more mid-range formality:
This date is a dinner party or a nice, but not hoity-toity restaurant. This look is a step above the norm, showing your date that you care enough to put in some effort. It mixes and matches formal pieces: slacks, jackets, button-ups, and sweaters, but doesn’t go for the whole ensemble. Your button up is still tucked in at this level though. Khakis and colored pants are more casual, as are non-button shirts.
And finally casual without being sloppy:
This date is a regular old dinner and a movie. It’s a corn maze, a night with friends, or a night around town. But this is still a date, so your casual is not sweats or shorts or sandals (notable exception being a beach date, but is it really the season for that?). Layers are your friends because than you are free to adjust as the night continues. Nothing on your body should have holes or stains or pronounced fading. Pick simple classics that fit, so that your date isn’t distracted by your outfit (whether too formal or just bad).
Whether you are taking your spouse or long-time significant other out for Valentines or on a blind date or somewhere in between, dress to impress, but make sure to let a bit of your natural style shine through, after all dates are about getting to know people.