Dress for Success
Now that you're ready to date and are actively pursuing a more fulfilling lifestyle, it's time to talk about your wardrobe. We all know that it's what's inside that counts, but it's hard to get someone to notice your inside if they're completely turned off by your outside.
We'll be discussing proper date attire as part of our Sophomore Year curriculum but in the meantime I'd like to share a little secret with you that helped me immensely during my career as a serial dater. Every time you leave your house, there's a chance that you'll meet someone. Maybe you'll run into a new neighbor, or sit next to a cutie on the bus. You never know, so it's important to think of every day as an opportunity, and to look your very best for each and every one.
Now I'm not suggesting that you give yourself a full makeover just to walk your dog. In fact, I have naturally curly hair which I refuse to straighten and I only wear eyeliner on a bi-weekly basis, so I'm hardly advocating for a high maintenance beauty regimen. But you want to highlight your best features, and you want to look clean and at least moderately put together every time you go out into the world.
For the GuysThis means taking a moment to look in the mirror. Jeans and a t-shirt may have been okay when you were in college but you can easily achieve a slightly more sophisticated look by trading that t-shirt for a button down. Or, head to H&M and purchase one of their fitted t-shirts - note: the optimal word here is "fitted," guys - and if you really want to go crazy, opt for a v-neck. You may feel like a tool but trust me here: you don't look like one.
If you don't know where to start, take a lady friend with you. And if t-shirts aren't your thing, that's okay. Maybe you can update your footwear, or try a new color, or get rid of the pleated pants you wore when you were twenty pounds heavier. Layering is another great option. Try a blazer over a fitted t-shirt and jeans, or even a scarf. It may sound silly but most women like a guy who is comfortable enough with his feminine side to try something new. Skinny jeans might be taking it a bit too far but if you aim for classic lines with a few contemporary twists, you'll be good to go.
Most importantly, even if you're not into fashion, you still need to make an effort to look clean and well kempt. Get a haircut once in a while, and learn how to style it. This may add a few minutes to your morning routine but it will be worth it in the long term.
LadiesWe're generally more fashion forward than our male counterparts but keep in mind that most men don't actually want to date the stick thin, haute couture fashion icons that populate our magazines. Men are visual creatures. And what you wear says a lot about you. If you want to be taken seriously, then don't go grocery shopping in a mini skirt. And if you don't want guys staring at your backside, then please, please, please stop wearing pants with messages written across your derriere.
Of course it's not all about trying to downplay your sexiness. It's about highlighting your sexiness while still retaining some modicum of class. And if you have the exact opposite problem, i.e. the thought of a short skirt makes you cringe, don't be afraid to show a little leg. At the very least, you can add a little jewelry or try a different hairstyle (meaning yes, you do need to actually style it; shampooing and toweling dry does not count.)
Your makeup should be appropriate to the situation so again, if we're just talking about grocery shopping, you may want to tone it down a bit and stick to lip gloss and a bit of mascara. If you're going out for the evening, then by all means layer it on but keep this in mind: if you meet someone, he's not going to know that you spent three hours getting ready. He's going to assume that this is your natural look, or at the very least your normal look, so if you're going for high glam, make sure it's something you can maintain.
One of my favorite college professors used to always say "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." I'm pretty sure she was talking about job interviews and performance reviews but the same thing applies to dating. If your last relationship left a bit to be desired you want to class it up this time around, then you need to dress the part. Take a few minutes to highlight your best features and take a look in the mirror before you head out the door. Not only will this help you to stand out from the crowd but it will also help you to feel better about yourself, and there's nothing sexier than confidence.
- Take a look in the mirror. If you look like you just rolled out of bed, do something about it.
- Get a haircut and ask the stylist to advise you on some quick and easy, low maintenance techniques for making you look your best on a regular basis. For extra credit, try a new style - this could be the start of a whole new you!
- Invite a friend to take a look through your closet. Ask them to help you purge your wardrobe and get rid of anything that is ripped, stained or completely out of date.
- Put together three great outfits: one for running errands, one for work and one for going out. Promise yourself to wear at least one of these outfits every week.
- There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Maybe you'll find a girl who loves that you're still sporting your college hoodie ten years after graduation or a guy who appreciates your no frills approach to beauty but until you do, take a few minutes to make an extra effort. It will pay off in the long run.