First dates are all about making good first impressions. They’re your big chance to display your wit, show off your overall awesomeness, and bust out whatever other tools you like to use to dazzle a new potential partner. And, yes, for most of us, dressing up is a key part of our first date arsenal. Many of us even have go-to first date outfits. But when people get dolled up for a first date, they often forget about comfort. And by forget, I mean “purposely avoid.” Even though there are plenty of comfortable clothes that are polished and dressy, many of us associate “dressing comfortably” with the “watching TV in stained sweatpants” phase of a serious relationship — definitely not the feeling we’re trying to evoke on a first date. But just because you’re dressing fancy, it doesn’t mean that you have to feel uncomfortable. Feeling restricted and miserable for hours in a fancy dress isn’t the only way to have a good first date — in fact, it may make it harder to hit it off with someone new: Research has found that not only do our outfits impact our mental state; they also affect how we feel about ourselves. A study of 100 women between the ages of 21 and 64 found that 96 percent of participants linked their choice of outfits to their confidence level. So if you dress in something that feels comfortable, you’re more likely to feel comfortable and at ease. This makes sense — it’s hard to feel settled in your skin when you have a seam digging into your hip all night. Here are nine reasons to wear comfortable clothes on your next first date (and every date that follows).
1. You Want To Convey How Confident You Are
Sure, it’s important to dress nicely and show that you made an effort when spending time with someone new. But a comfortable outfit can help you feel self-assured. If you show up in something that feels good to wear, you’ll be more able to focus on your date and your witty repartee. But if you wear some painfully intricate get-up that makes sitting still for two hours a chore, you’re liable to come off as squeamish, fidgety, and not very secure in the situation or yourself.
2. You Want To Be Comfortable Sitting Down
The problem with fashionable but ill-fitting outfits is that while they’re often well and good when you’re standing, they can wreak havoc the second you sit down. Hemlines can unexpectedly rise, seams can pinch your waist, necklines can shift around — all of which can make you feel revealed in ways you didn’t plan for. Which, in turn, can distract you from the getting-to-know-you conversation at hand.
How can you focus on learning about your date’s formative experiences at rhythmic gymnastics camp if you’re fixated on the awkwardness that’s going on in your mid-section?
3. Straps That Keep Sliding Will Drive You Crazy
After sliding the useless spaghetti straps on your top back up for the 100th time, you might be seriously considering cutting them off with your butter knife. Do you want your date to have to wait through that? Because it’s definitely going to take a while.
There’s no need to wear an item of clothing that will make you feel irate on a night when you want to be showing off your best self (not the part of your self that wants to solve all your problems via pointy knives).
4. Only Celebrities Should Have Wardrobe Malfunctions
Celebrities have to wear uncomfortable, odd-fitting clothes. It’s part of their job to wear the latest designer outfits, even if the fabric seems practically designed to awkwardly rip or pucker. But it’s not part of yours.
You’re not walking the red carpet and trying to avoid the cruel gaze of the Fashion Police. You’re just going to a sushi restaurant that is equidistant between both of your offices. You don’t need to suffer.
5. Your Discomfort Will Be Really Obvious
How could it not be? You’re sitting there fidgeting, pulling at your dress hem, and running to the bathroom every 10 minutes to fix something. Now you’re both totally distracted by how uncomfortable you are in that bandage dress. And who needs that?
6. If You’re Uncomfortable, They’ll Be Uncomfortable Too
And since your date will probably have no idea that it’s your awkward outfit making you sweat, they might even think that they are what’s making you uncomfortable.
7. You Want To Be Up For Anything
And four-inch heels and ill-fitting jeans rarely equate to “up for anything.” First dates can be unpredictable in a fun way, and you want to be ready for the unexpected and able to go wherever the night takes you without worrying about your feet, your boobs, or the part of your stomach currently being antagonized by the zipper on your dress.
Nothing makes an impulsive first date trip to the local waterfront less romantic than spending the whole time worrying about how your heel blisters are going to feel tomorrow.
8. You Will Come Off As Sexier
When people are comfortable, they’re more confident — which makes them nicer and happier, and (shockingly) makes people want to be around them and date them. That’s a better first date asset than 10,000 “sexy” outfits that you have to wear Spanx to squeeze into.
9. An Awkward Outfit May Mean Calling It An Early Night
Yes, your elaborate, high-fashion could possibly go so wrong that you may need to run on home early and try to peel the zipper out of your abdomen. Hopefully, not, but you never know — and a comfortable outfit makes you more prepared to handle a first date that you’d like to go on for hours (which is the whole point of first dates, right?).
By Amanda Chatel