Wardrobe check: Dating Attire for Men and Women

For a more formal occasion, UT designer Kinni Song lends her inspiration with an elaborate evening gown. 

Photo Credit: Daniel Hublein


Attire plays a key part in nailing a satisfactory first impression.

For men and women alike, finding acceptable attire to wear on a date can often be troubling. One has to take the level of formality into account– that is to say you wouldn’t want to be caught wearing a chartreuse evening gown to a simple coffee date, nor a pair of loose-fitting denim jeans and a frumpy t-shirt to an upscale dinner at a steakhouse.

Whether it’s a first date out to coffee, drinks, lunch or dinner, one has to hold him or herself to the highest of standards, presenting him or herself in a manner that is well put together, yet not over the top.

Casual Meet-ups

In the event of an uncomplicated first coffee or lunch date, the key to executing a somewhat laidback, albeit polished, look is simplicity. One has to firmly remember the fine line between overt casual under-dress, and the simple, yet effortless done-up look.

Women: Opt for a casual blazer with the sleeves cuffed-up, atop a chic blouse and ankle-length cropped pant combo, with simple leather or suede footwear to finish. Alternatively, try a simple daytime dress, but be sure not to make this a gaudy or informal number. It will work wonders in accentuating your inner beauty and creating a playful, yet polished ensemble. 

Men: Opt for an ironed button-down shirt with a classic print and color, tucked into a pair of well-fitting denim or twill pants with, again, leather or suede footwear to boot.

Keep accessories (for both sides of the sex spectrum) minimal and classic looking – a simple watch, a dainty pair of stud earrings or a simple chain-necklace is all you need.

Formal Soirées

For the more formal, more ceremonious parts of the dating game, one has to consider the atmosphere of the date before heavily adorning themselves with apparel and jewels.

Women: Gauging the level of formality before dressing in elegant attire is key. When attending a venue, such as an art gallery or upscale restaurant, one can get away with wearing edgier, more flirty pieces, such as sleek rompers and jumpsuits paired with a well-tailored blazer. Additional options include an alluring blouse and skirt combination, finished off with sleek, yet impactful jewelry and dainty high heels made of materials, such as leather, snakeskin or suede. For a more upscale setting, such as an expensive steakhouse or theatre performance, an elegant evening dress or a sleek menswear-inspired pantsuit combination are stunning.

Men: It should go without saying to wear a well-fitting, ironed button-down shirt, paired with a crisp, clean pair of dress pants and blazer to boot. Finish it off with a sleek pair of oxfords or lace-up dress shoes in leather or suede. If the venue requires more formality, such as a theatre or upscale restaurant, wear a well-tailored suit with a classic tie, and accessorize with a well-made watch for an expertly-executed ensemble.

Having read this, realize that only you are aware of what pieces fully expresses your personality to its greatest potential, and only you are able to perceive the level of formality your date expects, based on the context of your plans.

Take caution; thoroughly enjoy the process of planning an outfit for your date, but keep these humble guidelines in mind to achieve a phenomenal first impression and ensure many more dates to come.