First Date Attire for Women
Hands up all women who enjoy getting dressed up? OK, you can put your arm down now - it's a safe bet it was in the air. No matter what the excuse, the chance to wear special clothes and make-up's too good to miss - but while it's definitely a special event, a first date's a very different animal from other occasions.
The most important distinction between a first date and your run-of-the-mill night out is that when you go to a party or club, you dress to impress everybody around you, whereas you're only concerned with one person's opinion on a date. Make sure you use these tips to distinguish between the two so you don't end up looking as if you're already searching for the next potential suitor.
HairA great tip to bear in mind when putting together a look designed to appeal to the opposite sex is to engage their five senses - and with hair, that means creating locks he'll want to touch. Keep the style simple, with no teasing, backcombing or heavy products that'll change you hair's texture except for a lick of shine serum to make it really gleam. Long hair's one of the key seduction weapons in a woman's arsenal, so make the most of it by wearing it down - but don't let it dangle across you face, as flicking it out the way all night will be annoying for both of you.
Top HalfYou want to look sexy without being tarty - so where do you draw the (neck)line? As a rule, any more than a hint of cleavage isn't acceptable on a first date, so opt for V-necks, wrap tops, cardigans with camisoles or wide slash-neck styles that'll reveal your collarbones without putting your boobs on show. There's never any harm in playing the girlie girl, so opt for a bit of feminine detail on the top in the form of embroidery, lace or beading, which will look like you've made an effort to look nice.
While women will appreciate the quirkiness of big, bold jewellery, men are inclined to think anything too bright, plasticky or modern is a bit garish, so leave the big rocks at home and opt for simple pendants and dangling earrings that draw the eye to your neck and décolletage. Similar rules apply to make-up - men prefer the natural look and aren't impressed by carefully layered shadow and bold dark lips. A bit of perfume (to appeal to his sense of smell) is a good idea, but don't choke him with expensive aromas - you only need a dab behind the ears and on the collarbones.
Bottom HalfNo matter what you're planning on doing, jeans are always a good bet - they'll keep you warm and are acceptable everywhere from smart restaurants to bowling alleys, so you'll never feel overdressed. Girls with bigger bottom halves should pick thick, dark denim, which will smooth out lumps and make you appear slimmer. If you know your evening's going to be an elegant one, try a knee-length pencil skirt, which looks neat and shows off your figure while remaining utterly ladylike. Under no circumstances wear anything more than an inch above the knee - you're not out to flaunt tonight.
FootwearMen may not believe it, but killer heels do in fact serve a practical purpose - they make it possible for shorter women to talk to men standing up without having to crane their necks and shout. If you're small and your date's a six-footer, high heels are the only way you're likely to get any semblance of intimate conversation. They don't have to be uncomfortable - you can go for stack-heeled boots or wedged sandals rather than stilettos if you're worried about falling over.
Taller women need to follow the reverse principle. It doesn't matter how unconcerned you are generally about towering over men - a first date's the sort of occasion where playing up to an image of conventional femininity will serve you well. Opt for a pair of ballet pumps with your jeans, which will look girlie and ensure you're on a level with your date, but are practical enough for the most tomboyish type to handle. Even if he's still shorter than you, he'll be pleased you made the effort.
It can be tricky for women to see clothes through a man's eyes, but to be honest, very few men are fans of high fashion. Avoiding avant-garde designer labels, dramatic make-up and bouffant hair all make it clear that you don't want anyone looking at him but you, and that you expect him to feel the same way. Of course, you shouldn't feel you have to dress to please a man - but pandering to their whims just a little bit certainly won't hurt you chances of a second date.