February 15, 2007

The Dating Game

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With Valentine’s Day just past and spring soon to come, the dating season has definitely begun. And, as we all know, that surge of excitement felt after being asked for that Friday night date quickly morphs to dread as your mind begins to systematically run through the items in your closet. In reality, though, the biddy question of what to wear on dates is easily answered these days, as the rules of fashion are more liberated and dressing becomes more casual. Dressing for dates should be enjoyable and uncomplicated — the clothes you wear are ultimately just another method of flirting.

Getting suited up for dates is tricky because most girls vie to achieve the graceful seductress look, an elusive balance between prude and slut. Though it’s really not as hard as it seems — getting together a date outfit is as simple as picking a meal from a restaurant menu, literally. Just think of riskier pieces as side dishes that can be added to a neutral main course, where the number of side dishes you’re allowed to have is based upon where the night is taking you.

The so-called neutral items are your standard jeans, blazers, plain, solid tees, flats — basically anything you wear from day-to-day. The more provocative and datish pieces, always chosen to show off your best features, include the following choices:

• A tight, curve hugging item: think tight, knit tops or skinny jeans with stretch.

• A low hemline: tops with plunging necklines, even looser sweaters and button-shirts, look sexy and seductive.

• A high hemline: skirts and dresses that are daringly short are not only ideal for showing casing those long limbs, but also one of spring’s hottest trends!

• High heels: giving you a couple of extra inches, high heels make an outfit dressier, giving it a sense of occasion — just be sure to avoid heels with ankle straps, etc. which begin to call strip dancers to mind …

• A transparent or sheer piece: adding a diaphanous, ethereal feel to your look, transparent fabrics are sexy and chic; lace and silky satin is usually too much sexy and not enough chic and, in general, hard to pull off.
Depending on where and when you are going on your date, you should do more or less of the above items.

Lunch and coffee dates are during the day and in a clearly casual setting. In these situations, it’s appropriate to don everyday items, with one special item mixed in. A great lunch-date outfit might include comfortable jeans or cords with flats or tucked-into boots paired with a blazer and either a form-fitting sweater or a low-cut top and a fun necklace thrown on top. Or, when the weather is warmer, another possibility might be a modest jean skirt and flats, with a low-cut camisole (in a light color) and a lightweight blazer. Remember that for these dates, you can practically wear what you would wear to class (assuming you don’t wear oversized sweats and baggy tee shirts), just a touch dressier or more put together, meaning avoid sneakers and the aforementioned sweats.

An outfit for a dinner date should generally be considerably dressier (unless your date is planning on taking you to Mama T’s, in which case you might rethink the whole dating thing, not just the outfit …). Don’t be afraid to throw in some of the more revealing pieces, just make sure that you feel comfortable being seen by sober adults throughout the night, in other words, leave the lycra tube-top micromini dress at home.