‘Go big to go home’
How resisting the urge to dress down as the ‘cool girl’ on our first dates sets a tone for the occasion, and potentially the relationship.
It seems as though dressing up has become a vulnerable position, and one many aren’t willing to take anymore, in fear of making a statement that we care too much.
I maintain that we’re allowed to care, that’s the reality. When we engage in the pretence that we don’t, it can often mean we’re not dressing how we want to on a first date – whether that’s up or down. I’m one of the many that resorts to dressing in the latter – down – spending the week prior in outfit-imagination mode. On my last date, I settled on a Carrie Bradshaw extravaganza, a long pink Vivienne Westwood-esque skirt, a vintage corset and a classic pair of brown Frye boots. It sent all the signals I wanted to send; it was flirtatious, fun and a perfect representation of my style. One hour before the date, I hit the wall I always hit. I feared feeling silly, like I had tried to hard. So, I changed into cargo pants and flip flops – I don’t even wear flip flops? Yet in a last-minute, desperate attempt to convince myself (and him) that I wasn’t a bundle of nerves, I resorted to toning myself down.
My colleague and personal style inspiration, Philippa Parnevik, is one of the most inherently confident women I know. She recently mentioned that she wears her craziest outfits on first dates. On first meeting her now boyfriend, she arrived on an electric scooter, wearing big headphones (this was pre-trend, resorting to them after losing her AirPods), in her most flared patchwork pants and signature red Elton John shades. When I asked her why she chose to treat dates as an occasion to go big, she answered with a wink “go big to go home right?”. She had the refreshing slant of wanting to stand out on a first date, to introduce herself with all the creativity she carries into everything else that she does. That made sense to me.
We are constantly told about the art of faking confidence in times when we feel it the least. If true confidence is dressing how you want and not how you want to be perceived, then let’s start faking it and stop letting those pre-date jitters get in the way of what we really want to wear.
On our first dates in 2022, let’s vow to admit that we care, and not let our style act as a vessel of persuasion that we don’t.