First Impressions Count: A Dating Man’s Style Guide

First impressions count — like it or not, we make snap judgements about each other within a second of first meeting. If you’re to succeed in the dating game you should be serious about how you dress.

Men are often reluctant to make an effort over how they look. Perhaps they think this undermines their manliness (nonsense, most women love a man who tries with this clothes). Or maybe they think it’s vanity to dress well (it’s only vanity of it’s all consuming — looking good for someone else is simply showing respect for them).

Put yourself in the woman’s shoes. She’s nervously anticipating meeting her new date. In scenario one: into the room shambles an unkempt character who’s made no effort with his appearance. In scenario two: a well-dressed man appears who clearly has worked hard on how he looks. As the woman, which man will you immediately be drawn to? No competition.

Dressing well for a first date needn’t be a challenge. Here are a few pointers to making that first meeting go well:

Casual dates: for a meeting in the day in a coffee shop, restaurant or some other public place, the trick is to look casual, relaxed but well-dressed. A suit and tie is over-egging the pudding (unless you’re at work), but a good quality sweater is ideal with an open-neck shirt and a pair of jeans (no holes and preferably not artificially faded), chinos or trousers, and a well-cut jacket that fits. 

Evening and more formal events. Depending on the event, a blazer or even a suit may be called for. Smart casual doesn’t require a tie — that’s up to you and your style, but go for well-fitting and simple clothing: leave the distressed jeans and Hawaiian shirt at home — unless it’s that sort of club you’re going to.

In all cases make sure that your clothes are clean and well looked after. 

Anything old, ragged, dirty and smelly isn’t going to leave a good impression.

Think simple. 

True style comes from muted colours and patterns and minimalist shapes. Keep bright colours and clashing textures and patterns for when you feel more confident about your sartorial skills.

Quality shows.

Wear the best quality you can afford, it’s worth it.  Buy in sales if you’re on a budget. 

Make sure everything fits well

Even the best clothes do you no favours if they don’t fit.

Wear good, clean and well-maintained shoes. 

It’s amazing how a good pair of shoes can lift a look while, conversely, a great outfit can be dragged down by horrible footwear.


A nice watch (vintage works well), a good bag, hat — all add to a picture of a man who cares for himself and others.


Don’t forget to have clean hair, be showered and (in the evening especially) a dab of fragrance can go down well as long as it’s subtle and doesn’t send your date into paroxysms of sneezing.

Being well-dressed will help your confidence and present you in the best light for your date.

Having said all that, the important thing is to be yourself, don’t be what you’re not — but do make an effort to look good. Enjoy your date.

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