The first date: The perfect storm of crippling anxiety and stomach-fluttering excitement. Meeting with someone for the first time in the context of romantic interest — or in the hope for romance to blossom — would make anyone worry at least a little, oftentimes because the question of what to wear to a first date is seemingly so important. First impressions can make or break you, and many believe that the perfect outfit or lack thereof could greatly affect the way things go. This is especially the case if you haven't met your date in person beforehand.
Last year, I was an avid user of OkCupid, one of many trusty dating apps on the market these days. With all of these conversations reduced to online interactions, it was always super nerve-wracking to meet the person IRL.
Every time I made another date, I feared what I would see in person, concerned that not only would the person greatly deviate from their profile photos, but that they wouldn't be anything like they seemed in our chats. A profile picture only shows so much, and is oftentimes super old.
And so the questions I'd obsess over would go something like this: Will they like me with shorter hair? What will they think of my tattoos? And the biggest one: What should I wear?!
My greatest concerns always revolved around things that made me who I am, specifically my body hair and the way I dress. I've never been comfortable with performing in a hyperfeminine way, and am not always comfortable about showing off my boobs and ass. Despite this, I had this idea that I needed to dress more femininely and provocatively for any date I went on, in a desperate attempt to appear appealing to my predominantly male-identified suitors (although I worried about this with women I talked to as well). Along with wearing outfits I wouldn't normally ever wear, I'd also end up shaving my legs and lady bits even though I was uncomfortable with the idea of both practices.
My exaggerated show of femininity and daintiness made first dates even more awkward and uncomfortable for me. My confidence and happiness was cut down to size whenever I'd subject myself to my "date look." Who I was and who I was trying to be were two vastly different things, leading many dates to go sour or fall flat. I was so disconcerted and stuck in my own head that I forgot to be in the moment and try and connect with another human.
It began to occur to me that I was sabotaging my romantic nights by robbing myself and my date of my sparkling individuality. Which is why they're on a date with me in the first place, right? Being yourself and not putting so much stress on the date outfit is crucial in cultivating a connection with another person. Besides that fact that you are all great and beautiful and worthy of love, here are a few other reasons why you should give less of a damn about what you wear on the first date:
1. Your Comfort Comes First
If you're not comfortable in your outfit, odds are you date will feel uneasy as well. If you hate dresses, for the love of god, don't wear a dress! Especially on a first date. It's hard to get to know someone when busy counting down the minutes until you get to peel yourself out of your itchy frock.
2. Wearing Your Favorite Lipstick is Important
Yes, the green sparkly one. Does it seem like it may be "too much?" Who cares! Wearing your favorite things can give you a major ego boost. Even if your date isn't a fan of the lipstick color, they'll be attracted to the confidence you'll exude.
3. It Can Serve As A Good Screening Test
My personal style is very important to me, and reflects both my beliefs and identity. If someone writes me off because they don't like how I maintain my body hair, or if my looser men's shirts are a turn off for them, I'm better off without 'em anyway.
4. Beauty Is Not Only Skin-Deep
If the connection is real and worthy of your time, how you dress is not going to determine a whole lot in terms of making or breaking the date. If you connect with your date on more than just superficial levels, the clothes you wear don't matter as much.
5. Your Date Is Worried About How He/She/They Are Coming Across Too
Your date is probably way too preoccupied thinking of their own insecurities and outfits to really worry about yours. Do them a favor and go easy on the judgment from your end as well.
6. You Should Be Dressing To Impress Yourself
Ultimately, all that matters is that you feel confident/sexy/comfortable in what you choose to wear for this first date. As long as you choose an outfit you feel beautiful in, and you forget about what your date's expectations or what others may be thinking, you can't go wrong!
Images: Fotolia; Giphy