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How to Choose First Date Outfits That Will Make You Shine

Dating and fashion: two topics that should be fun, but are often hard to figure out and filled with stress. While you want to look and feel your best, it’s often easier said than done. While how your date goes sometimes feels out of your control, you can regain that control back by learning how to effortlessly find the perfect first date outfit for you.

How to Choose First Date Outfits That Will Make You Shine

Why Your First Date Outfit Matters

In dating, the age-old saying that what matters most is on the inside still holds true. The goal is to find someone who values our authentic selves. While that might seem to say what you wear doesn’t matter, first impressions still make a huge impact on a first date.

Our clothing choices give us the chance to make a first impression that genuinely represents who we are. Clothing shouldn’t be used to try to look like someone you’re not, but rather to reflect and showcase your true self.

Highlight your unique qualities

People often pick clothes to hide things about themselves they don’t like, like wearing a baggy shirt to cover a part of the body they’re not comfortable with. However, real, genuine personal style is about a totally different way of thinking. It’s not about trying to fix what you don’t like about yourself. 

Instead, it’s about finding and showing off the things you do like. This change in mindset makes choosing clothes about expressing who you are and feeling good about it, rather than hiding parts of yourself, which often ends up drawing attention to where you are less confident and overpowering the unique qualities you have that truly make you shine.

How to Choose First Date Outfits That Will Make You Shine

Comfort = space to be your best self

Feeling like your true self on a first date is much easier when you’re comfortable in what you wear. Often, we pick clothes that look good but don’t feel good, like shoes that are painful to walk in or dresses too tight to breathe in comfortably. When you’re uncomfortable, it’s hard to focus on anything else, like enjoying time with someone on a date.

This discomfort of your date outfit can make you come across as distracted, nervous, or not interested. Since so much of what we communicate isn’t spoken, it’s really important to dress in a way that feels good and grounded. Being comfortable in your clothes helps you make a better impression and connect more easily with others.

Be environmentally friendly 

The fashion industry significantly contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 2-8% of the total emissions.

Fast fashion, which relies on convincing consumers that staying on-trend requires continuously purchasing their latest pieces, exacerbates this impact. This leads to increased emissions, waste, and microplastic pollution, while also exploiting workers with poor wages and conditions.

By finding your ideal, timeless styles for first date outfits, you can break free from the fast fashion cycle, reduce environmental harm, and create a sustainable wardrobe for the long term.

6 Steps to Find your Perfect First Date Outfit

1. Discover your best shapes and silhouettes

Have you ever bought an outfit that looked amazing on someone else, only to find it doesn’t suit you as well? This discrepancy often happens due to differences in body types.

Understanding your body type is essential for identifying shapes and styles that enhance your strengths and create a cohesive look. There are many body-typing guides and systems; here, we’ll simplify by discussing four basic body types: Inverted Triangle, Rectangle, Pear, and Hourglass. 

Start by measuring your bust, waist, and hips. Using your measurements, look to see which body type you are:

  • Inverted Triangle: your shoulders and bust are larger than your hip measurement. 
    • Best Styles: Go for more fitted tops with a loose or flared bottom, like a flowy skirt or flared pant. 
  • Rectangle: your shoulders, waist and hip measurements are all relatively the same
    • Best styles: Well-structured pieces will look great on you, as opposed to baggier or looser fitting pieces. Play around with details like ruching to highlight dimension.
  • Pear: your hips are larger than your bust and shoulders
    • Best styles: fit and flare styles will highlight and flatter your curves.
  • Hourglass: your bust and hips are relatively the same, and your waist is smaller 
    • Best styles: wrap dresses or tops are great options to highlight your waist and proportions. 

2. Find your best colors

When it comes to looking your best, color is an essential part of first date outfits. It can make you shine, or suck your energy. While many go for the classic romantic red or stick with trusty black as a safe bet for date nights, did you know that red is actually not everyone’s best romantic color, and certain neutrals, like black, might be dulling your complexion?

This happens because we all have different color tones, based off of our skin, hair, and eye color. Based on these differences, your colors can be represented in one of four color seasons: spring, summer, autumn, or winter. Determining which of these is yours will help you identify which colors, be it a romantic tone or a classy neutral, will truly make you shine.

The four seasons are divided by cool versus warm and dark versus light. 

  • To determine warm versus cool: An easy test is to look at the veins on your wrist. If they are more green in color, you are likely warm. If they are purple or blue, you are likely cool. Additionally, if you are someone who tans easily, you are likely warm. If your skin is more likely to burn, you are likely cool
  • To determine light or dark: look at the color of your natural hair and the contrast of your face: if the color of your hair, eyes and skin is lower contrast, you are likely light. If you are high contrast, you are likely dark. 

Spring: Warm, light

  • Romantic colors: poppy red, coral
  • Neutrals: warm brown, tan or beige

Summer: Cool, light

  • Romantic colors: Blush pinks
  • Neutrals: soft grays and cool creams

Autumn: Warm, Dark

  • Romantic colors: Deep reds with warm undertones
  • Neutrals: dark browns, navy blue

Winter: Cool, Dark 

  • Romantic colors: Bright or deep red 
  • Neutrals: black or charcoal gray

3. Define what comfort means to you

Comfort is subjective and deeply personal. It’s about feeling good in your clothes as well as looking good. But, comfort is often an afterthought – one that leaves us with blisters or overheating in the middle of what otherwise would have been a good time.

For that reason, it’s important to first define what comfort means for you – whether it’s a certain fabric, fit, or style. If you feel comfortable, you’re more likely to feel confident, and at the end of the day that will leave a better impression than unwalkable shoes that looked way better at the store.

4. Keep it simple

Now that you’ve nailed down your best silhouettes, ideal colors, and comfort essentials, it’s time to bring it all together and create some first date outfits. Skip anything overly trendy or eccentric, as it might distract your date from what really matters: you. Instad, opt for simple pieces without loud or distracting elements.

5. Start with clothes you already love

Take a look at your wardrobe and identify items that align with your best styles and colors identified above. Building your outfit with pieces you already own is not only economical but also ensures you wear something that you feel truly represents you.

6. Shop affordable and try new styles

Finally, if there are gaps in your outfit, consider low-cost ways to fill them. Thrifting is a great option to find unique items and, now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, it will feel less overwhelming. You can also borrow clothes from friends or participate in a clothing swap for a more sustainable approach. 

Additionally, trying out clothing rental services can give you access to a wide range of styles without a long-term commitment. Options like Nuuly or Rent the Runway can give you a number of high-quality pieces at a much more affordable price range.

By following these six steps, you’ll be able to create an outfit that not only looks fantastic but also feels uniquely ‘you’. Remember, the perfect first date outfit is one that reflects your personality and makes you feel your best.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to dating, it’s true that what’s on the inside is what matters. By finding first date outfits that uplift your unique self, make you feel comfortable and at ease, you’ll give off a first impression that says, I know who I am, and I’m proud of it. Though fast fashion or social media might try to convince you otherwise, the truth is, there really is nothing sexier than confidence.


By Jackie Warehime

Image of the article author, wearing a green jacket against a white background.

Jackie Warehime is a New York-based designer and sustainability advocate with a background in product design. She writes about sustainable design at, with the goal of exploring and expanding the ethical and sustainable approaches to crafting the world we live in.