Style Secrets: First Date

“A man snatches the first kiss, pleads for the second, demands the third, takes the fourth, accepts the fifth – and endures all the rest.”
Helen Rowland

Darlings, there’s truly no need to be ashamed. There is no rule set in stone stating that you must be an adolescent prone to breakouts to feel the strains of a first date. Whether you’re a fourteen-year-old on your way to a movie with your cute Chem partner or a forty-year-old searching for Mr. Right, first dates are nothing short of a torturous, panic-induced experience spotted with moments of hair-pulling and nail biting. Thus the reason we must look our best.

Our wardrobe and style is like a second skin which provides some semblance of normalcy, comfort, and confidence during those fledgling moments when we’re plagued by nervousness, and worried that we’ll succumb to instances marred with even the slightest awkward turn of events. Knowing that we look good ultimately makes all of this slightly less painful than it would should we think we look anything short of fabulous. The moral of the story…wear what you love – as long as it corresponds well with what you will be doing.

I know how much you are eager to impress your cute boy du jour with your beguiling good looks and wardrobe, ladies; but such efforts fall flat if you’re uncomfortable. Yes, that slinky little black dress makes you look like a million bucks, but it’s a bit over-the-top for a simple lunch at the local diner. Remember, the key is to look ravishing without appearing as if you’ve tried too hard. Sure, you may have spent four hours carefully selecting your ensemble, but he doesn’t need to know that. You are effortless, you are enchanting, and you are the true ruler of this date!

Casual Chic

My personal dating preference at the beginning of any relationship is daytime outings. Not because the look is more casual at these times – please, I adore getting dressed up! – but for the sheer fact that there always seems to be less pressure when the sun is shining. It’s a wonderful time to simply get to know one another – over coffee, on a picnic...Of course, in terms of dress it is also a bit easier because you have the option of relying on your denim besties.

It’s All in the Jeans The term “date” does not mean cast your jeans aside and search for a flirty frock or short skirt. At the beginning stages, jeans are, quite possibly, the best option. They create a sleek silhouette, and are true confidence boosters in the sense that they cover up any imperfections you may imagine you have; while at the same time accentuating your curves in the most amazing of ways. Plus, and this is just an added bit of information for you curious kittens, boys adore tight jeans – it’s common knowledge. Don’t let that petite peek inside the male mind dictate what outfits your derrière, however – that, my loves, is up to you.

When selecting your denim du jour, go with the cut that looks best on your body. I adore the way I look in skinny jeans; thus, I immediately turn to styles by Rich & Skinny, J Brand, or James Jeans. But don’t think that skinnies are the only option available. If you prefer the style of a flared jean, look no further than 7 For All Mankind, Current / Elliott, or MiH Jeans. The main thing is that you find a pair that works not only for your peace of mind, but for your body, as well. And if they play up your physique; well, that’s just an added bonus – for you and the boy in question!

Hues and You Let’s not beat around the bush here dolls, aside from being the fairer sex, females are also much more aware of their surroundings; thus, we notice every color of the rainbow, whereas boys have a tendency to recognize four colors – black, red, gray, white, and, if you’re lucky, blue. The good thing is that these colors are quite common in our wardrobes, so it’s easy to peruse them when mingling with cute boys. Pull out that fitted black sweater that’s been collecting dust in the back of your closet, and toss on a magnetizing marvel from Theodora & Callum, such as the Sari Floral Scarf. The shades are extremely bold when used alongside one another; but they’re also quite pleasing to the eyes.

A tip…due to the fact that everyone looks slimmer in dark colors, I strongly recommend ensembles that stick to blacks, navy blues, and, my new personal favorite, charcoal; then using reds or other bright colors to accessorize. Think of the darker colors as a canvas, and your accessories as the brush to truly make yourself stand-out.

Head Over Heels I know how much you want to make an impact on your date; and to do so many instantly think that heels are the go-to in terms of shoes. They’re not. Heels are miracle workers when it comes to elongation; they also leave a false impression. Boys may adore the way ones hips swing to and fro when strutting in stilettos; but if you’re not comfortable, or feel unbalanced, that seductive gait will be lost amidst clumsy moments, and clomping. The true way to a boy’s heart is to simply be yourself. Don’t allow feeling short ruin the chance to have fun. It’s a known fact that boys adore petite girls just as much as the taller ladies, so let your tiny stature shine through.

Wear embellished ballerina flats like those proffered by Sam Edelman; don conversation starting boots like Minnetonka’s 3 Layer Fringe Boots; show off kitschy menswear oxford’s like Frye’s Delia Saddle Lace Up Oxfords; and, if you feel that you desperately need a little lift, opt for a Jean-Michel Cazabat Wedge Sandal – the ideal way to add a few inches to your height without the constant worries about wobbling that so often accompanies wearing stilettos.

“Women still remember the first kiss after men have forgotten the last.”
Remy de Gourmont

Take It from the Top One of my favorite things about seduction is that all it really takes is a hint of mysteriousness. Leave something to the imagination and boys will be falling at your feet. Thus, a hint of décolletage most certainly goes a long way; but don’t go overboard. Cover the tummy, and rely on just a brief bit of cleavage to speak volumes. Tuck your crew necks into the back of your bureaus and whip out those scoop- and v-necks – these types of tops have the best effect on boys and retain the power to lengthen the neck, and make you feel bold and brash – fearless even, you might say – all at once. I think of them as quick confidence boosters. I recommend going for fitted pieces that hug your curves in neutral tones – no male could forget the allure of Splendid’s Layers Long Sleeve Tee, or the bewitching charm of Majestic’s Inside Out Top.

The Flirty Skirt Don’t feel bullied into wearing jeans just because your date takes place during the daytime hours. The next best thing in my book is a skirt. If you feel confident to bare your legs, by all means, please do – but do it in a very coquettish manner. Pass on microminis and opt for a hemline just slightly above the knee – a cut like this will save you from those “oops” moments that so often accompany barely there bottoms.

While I admit my adoration of bandage skirts, I find that casual dates are more suited to a flippier number. Something a little more carefree and fun that looks fabulous even when paired with tights during the chillier afternoons. Pieces like BB Dakota’s Kaley Pleated Skirt, and Yigal Azrouel’s Milan Skirt are great options because they don’t restrict your movements, and they have a polished sophistication to them that can be dressed up or down depending on your mood.

The ‘Do Drop that scuncii! Don’t allow the fact that you’re wearing jeans make you forget that you’re on a date, not on your way to a pep rally. Boys are known for their adoration of long, loose hair. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most of them are sporting crew cuts or similar styles, or maybe they simply like the idea of running their fingers through luxurious locks; either way, leave your hair free-flowing. There’s something very bohemian and feisty about a girl who wears her hair wild, so do so.

Two products I love…Frederic Fekkai’s All-Day Hair Plump and Citre Shine’s Shine Miracle Anti-Frizz Serum. Fekkai’s Hair Plump repairs damaged hair with bio-conditioners while giving you amazing volume; whereas Citre Shine treats split ends and adds a pretty polish to your strands. Used in conjunction with one another and you are destined to have the most enviable hair ever – perfect for your fast-approaching date!

Au Naturel Put away the theater makeup. We are not standing in the wings awaiting our big onstage debut; therefore, it is not necessary to whip out the tools to create smoky eyes or a ravishing come-hither pout. When it comes to daytime dates, less is more. A swipe of mark’s Make It Big Lash Plumping Mascara, and a bit of Maybelline’s LineStiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner for a hint of smoldering, feline sensuality are really the only things you need to make your peepers pop; though I like to dab a little Make Up For Ever Glitter on my eyelids in place of eyeshadow for that extra oomph – sunlight catches the shimmer in the most amazing of ways and really makes your eyes sparkle. For lips, go nude with a sheer gloss, like Victoria ’s Secret’s Beauty Rush Lip Gloss – long-lasting high shine, and the yummiest selection of flavors!

A Formal Affair

Dolls if it’s only your first date and already you’ve been invited on a formal outing, then a round of applause is most certainly in order – you’ve obviously done something right to make some cute boy completely smitten. He’s under your spell…use it to your advantage. You’ve already caught his eye, but you want to catch his ear, as well. Meaning? You don’t want to have to spend the entire evening worrying that the boy in question likes you because you’re wearing a barely there frock with a hemline up to here, and a neckline down to there. You want to know that he likes you for you; thus, look sophisticated, chic, classy, and ambrosial, but try to avoid anything too risqué.

The Little Black Dress Audrey Hepburn may have popularized the little black dress as Holly Golightly in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but my exposure to such accoutrement was via Victoria Beckham during her days as Posh Spice. It seemed she was never without a little black dress, something that made her look impeccable at all times. Therefore, when dressing for a formal affair, your first source should always be…the LBD.

Look for something long-lasting in a cut that will never go out of style; after all, the boy may not always be a part of your life, but a good LBD will, so choose a stunner! I find that Rebecca Taylor is the Fairy Godmother of little black dresses. She manages to craft dozens, all in various cuts and styles, making it simple to find one that suits you to a T. The Eyelash Bustier Dress, with a tiered skirt is my personal favorite for a very Old Hollywood style; while the sweetheart neckline and clean lines of the Ruched Strapless Dress create a very simple, understated silhouette. Remember, you can add accessories to put your own spin on the LBD, but you can’t remove ornamentation that is already there, so try to avoid dresses that feature embellishments, as they can often clutter the true effect of the little black dress.

Tempting Trousers There is nothing in the rule book stating that you must opt for an LBD when the term “formal” springs up. As long as you’re not attending a gala at the White House or on your way to a movie premiere, it is fine to stick with trousers for evenings out. In fact, if you’re not accustomed to wearing dresses or skirts, it is quite often a better idea, as you’ll feel more comfortable and confident. Besides, a tight pair of trousers can be just as tantalizing to the male senses as flashing a little leg. The main thing is to leave your jeans at home.

Black is the go-to color for eveningwear; hence, stick with it. Alice + Olivia’s Olivia Velvet Pants with Leather Trim, and Milly’s Satin Trimmed Bow Pants are both elegant ways to retain all semblance of classiness and comfort from the start of the evening to the very end.

“The first kiss is stolen by the man; the last is begged by the woman.”
Henry Louis Mencken

Top Star If you’ve decided to wear pants, you may feel slightly frumpy – don’t. Maintain femininity with balance. Your legs are covered; therefore you can show a little skin via your top of choice. Let your skin peek through cut outs around your collarbone; slip into an off the shoulder top to make your date stop in his tracks. Basically, you’re letting your skin play peek-a-boo with the world – an extremely enticing move.

Parker is one of my favorite collections for the sheer fact that their pieces are all ultra-classy with seductive decorations to make you feel sexy. Their Vintage Beaded Batwing Tunic is my favorite selection at the moment – the ideal way to finish off a pair of slinky black pants. The boudoir ambiance of Alice + Olivia’s Ballerina Bodysuit is another sassy option; as is Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony’s Jean Jacket Bustier Top. Do not be intimidated by lingerie-inspired garments; they are extremely cosmopolitan and urbane, especially when complementing modest trousers.

Foot Loose Nothing complements a little black dress or painted-on skinny pants like a metallic shoe. While pumps are perfect for job interviews and the office, I find that a nice twist on a typical heel is a strappy sandal; something that shows off your pedicure and sparkles with every step you take.

Giuseppe Zanotti is a master of such looks. His Metal Counter Sandals and Peep Toe Platform Pumps are supreme examples of the perfect sky-high strappy sandal. But you certainly don’t have to teeter to taunt. I myself was once a flats girl; thus, I stuck to the metallic palette, but in a style that was more comfortable for me – ballerinas. Luckily, the selection of ballerinas nowadays is amazing, so it’s never difficult to find a showstopping pair. I favor Tory Burch’s Reva Ballet Flat. While slightly pricey, Reva comes in a multitude of colors – including a glittering goldtone - with the power to make you feel like Cinderella!

Mane Attraction Darlings, you could drape me in diamonds or parade me around in pearls all you’d like, but I’ll tell you right now there is no accessory like the hair on my very own head. Ivana Trump said it best, “Gorgeous hair is the best revenge”; therefore, let your locks reign superior in comparison to everyone else’s.

While I am never one to complain about follicles cascading down one’s back like a feathered waterfall, even I must admit that when I’m showing a bit of skin around the vicinity of my shoulders, collarbone, and upper back, I like to draw a bit more attention to those areas by pulling my hair up into a chic chignon, or loose knot. Keep it bohemian, if you can, by allowing stray hairs to fall carelessly about your face in a wispy fashion – this can easily be achieved by going easy on the hair products. No guy wants to attempt to run his hand through your hair only to find himself at a standstill due to the fact that you went a little wild with the styling gel or hairspray. Keep it natural, keep it soft, and keep it sassy!

About Face The night is young and love is most certainly in the air, so be dramatic – at least in terms of make-up. First and foremost people notice eyes, so ensure that yours stand out. Create an intense, smoldering eye by going completely smoky. Browns and grays are your best bet as they look wonderful with all skin tones, and make an impact without appearing too harsh. I favor Smashbox’s Eyelights Palette in Smokebox, and Dior’s 5-Colour Designer All-In-One Artistry Palette – Smoky Design myself – they both include an amazing array of shades capable of creating gorgeous depth and dimension.

If you’re completely clueless about where to start in terms of achieving the perfect smoky eye, however, I recommend Bare Escentuals Tutorials – Lesson 1: Smoky Eye, which provides step-by-step instructions that make it simple to get the look that you’re striving for.

With a smoky eye nothing looks more ravishing than a nude lip. Go for baby pinks and pale glosses – products that look natural even though they’re not. Fresh’s Sugar Lip Gloss in Sugar Charm and Sugar Angel, or NARS’ Belle du Jour and Blonde Venus are phenomenal – they blend in with the natural color of your lip while adding an extra dash of something special that is undeniably irresistible.

Necessities This isn’t an afternoon of shopping with your girlfriends, so obviously you don’t need a million things with you; but make sure you have the essentials: a tube of lip gloss or any extra make-up you may need for quick touch-ups; money; and your cell phone. You never know when you’ll have to call someone to rescue you from disaster, so don’t leave home without the cellie!

For Your Listening Pleasure Nothing says romance like listening to some good, old-fashioned love songs when getting ready for your big date. Sentimental lyrics have a way of pulling at my heartstrings and empowering me with a pinch of positivity for what lies ahead when I’m dressing; so…a handful of my adored first date anthems, just for you. Apprécier!

First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Toothpaste Kisses - The Maccabees
Unattainable - Little Joy
I Love You But You’re Green - Babyshambles
Naïve - The Kooks
Easy Girl - Coconut Records
Baby - Devendra Banhart
Fresh Feeling - The Eels
No Buses - Arctic Monkeys
To Be With You - Sufjan Stevens

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
Ingrid Bergman

Remember darlings, first impressions are lasting impressions, so combat your coyness and be unstoppable. Have a fabulous first date, mes chéris. Don’t forget to tell me all about it – I need details!

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Teen Vogue for the pictures.


The Blonde Duck said...

I still like dressing up for Ben!

Joanne said...

A handy guide to dating in style ... On my first date with my husband, I wore Levi's straight leg jeans with a black turtleneck, and probably a piece of turquoise jewelry at the time :)

Couture Carrie said...

One of my favorite posts of yours ever, darling!
Love all these possibilities and the cute pics!


ellie said...

Awesome article! Loved your narration! Beautiful and fun quotes too. & Thanks for leaving us with such a cool romantic playlist.

ivy's closet said...

I'm so glad you mentioned flirty dresses! So much to make me smile today.

Such a great guide!

lucy and sarah said...

Such a unique way of putting it all in perspective. A wonderful guide to read. Sweet quotes. Thanks so much for all you do in fashion. Some of us, like me, would be completely lost in this fashion stuff, otherwise.

I love how the playlist started with Bright Eyes and ended with Sufjan Stevens.

meg said...

Oh, such fun! A great piece. I so much need help in all these areas!

MosaMuse said...

nice quote and nice pics! i really like her glasses!


MANDY said...

So lovely photos!


Caren Richardson said...

such a great post!

Maddy said...

I haven't been on a "first date" in ages, but I remember the anxiety all too well! I agree that staying true to yourself is the best way to go! If you wouldn't normally wear stilletos, then definitely don't try them on a first date :) Great tips, Erika!

Dancing Branflake said...

Best post ever! Goodness! The way you write is so smooth and creative. This post belongs in a magazine or a dating website. First dates are tough but dressing up for them should be fun!

Paislea Elyse said...

these pictures are gorgeous!!

drop by allister bee soon!

Fabrizia said...

This is such a nice, lovely and romantic post!
Win 100€ to spend on boticca.com
Take a look and if you want we can follow each others: Cosa mi metto???

Midnight Cowgirl said...

So many great ideas! Wonderful post!

PAPS said...

Hmm..very well written. First dates used to excite me I remember. I used to take a long time to dec. what to wear.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

LOVE this, great post Erika!

Natasha Hollerup said...

Great tips for first dates. First dates are always my favorite part of relationships.

Ruby Mines said...

What a lovely post! So sweet and lots of great tips!
Ruby Mines

Becky Tjandera said...

HAHA! Awesome post! Hope I can apply these tips soon ;)

Nikolett said...

This is such a handy guide! It even works for a gal like me who is still a little iffy in the 'what do I wear on a date' department. Love that you're an advocate for jeans, too! And thank for the first date anthems, too haha. Hope you have a great weekend :)

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

cute post! love all the photos, too. :)

Jessica said...

adorable post lovely! I love that living in NYC means I can always be as Carrie Bradshaw as possible and NEVER be out of place :) yay heels and dresses!

Mary Jo at TrustYourStyle said...

This is sooooo sweet Erika, love the thought you put into this!!

xoxo Mary Jo

Tights Lover said...

This is, without a doubt, the most complete first-date style-guide I've ever read. What girl wouldn't be brimming with confidence about her first date after reading this?

This was an excellent read. I think YOU should write the book.

...I'll be happy to consult on the legwear ;-).

Antonia said...

This is really interesting!


Kavery said...

You've covered every aspect and type. Well written!

Sara said...

Oh this was so delightful to read! i love the casualness and sweetness of day-dates. Kyle and I still go for them and you are correct with the charcoal!

Grace said...

These pictures are all darling! Great advice, too, especially about heels. :)

Josie said...

Erika, this is the sweetest, sweetest post. I love it!
xo Josie

Miss Caitlin S. said...

such WONDERFUL tips! I agree that daytime is great but honestly for a first day I would rather have night. That way if I'm running late and FREAK OUT that I look horrible and end up adding 500 pounds of makeup or clothes.. it looks okay in the dark light.

and yes, you need the cell in case of disaster. Such a thoughtful post. :)

Meenakshi said...

Even though I am married, with a baby, I still like getting dressed up when we go out for a phancy dinner. You can always make it feel like the first date! beautiful post. I'm bookmarking it and sharing it with my girlfriends! I posted a video for this cool app which helps organise your outfits, you should check it out!

Andy Santana said...

I love it,

janettaylor said...

Such a lovely post!

Angelica N. said...

OMG this was such a wonderful post! Lovely tips for me to take home, and hopefully use when the day I do have a first dat comes along. Also, it's nice to know that guys aren't all for the tall girls! A petite girl like me can go in flats no problem. Whew!


yiqin; said...

always one of m fave editorials.

Audrey Allure said...

Such great advice :) I remember when I started to date my boyfriend 3 years back, I used to dress up for him every single time! I still do sometimes, but not as often haha :)

Samantha Elisabeth said...

I LOVE this! Too bad I'm no where near going on a first date. I think I'd like the casual chic way. Simple and less pressure.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

what a fabulous post! And I LOVE the pictures :-)

Even an old married gal like me can get a few pointers here ;-)

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