The thing about being single in 2018 is that you're either on a dating app or you're not. If you fall into the latter category of modern daters, you likely have at least one friend pushing you to give the digital dating experience a try. I speak from experience as the perennially single gal in my friend group. The mere mention of my non-existent dating life had the ability to send many of my close friends and even acquaintances into a frenzy of "Well, have you tried Bumble?" or "Have you heard about Hinge?"
Eventually, I took the plunge and downloaded a virtual catalog of potential suitors in my area (otherwise known as a dating app) a few months ago, and while I thought the hardest part of the process would be getting over the mental hurdle of clicking get in the app store, creating the perfect dating profile proved to be more arduous than I anticipated. Along with crafting answers about myself that were equal parts honest and funny, I scoured my Instagram profile, camera roll, and even delved into the depths of my Facebook profile in search of the most flattering, flirty, and carefree photos of myself—a task that took me far longer than I'm willing to admit.
This is a process Alyssa Dineen, a former fashion stylist based out of New York City, knows all too well. After meeting her boyfriend on Tinder post-divorce (and noticing a lot of profiles in need of some TLC), she decided to use her 20 years of styling experience to help others get back out there by starting her own styling service for online daters called Style My Profile. She's made it her job to help singles curate a great dating profile and even dress the part when it comes time to venture out on a first date. Naturally, when I heard about her services, I had to pick her brain for her best dating profile tips. Here's what she had to say.
1. The first photo is the most important
According to Dineen, the first photo that comes up on your profile is the one you should pay the most attention to. Try to find a solo shot of you looking straight on toward the camera. "That to me is the best way to get people to look further," she says.
2. Be sure to have a variety of images on your profile
Aside from the star photo that's the first thing eligible singles see when they come across your profile, you'll want to include a variety of additional images on your page. Perhaps that means one picture of you with a group of friends, a few of just you where you can really see your face, and at least one full body shot "to have everything clear and on the table," Dineen says. She also warns against using too many group shots because that can be confusing. You don't want people wondering which person you are in a series of images.
3. Your bio should read as open and honest
"You're trying to convey a lot in just a little paragraph, so what my main advice is to be as honest and open as you can," Dineen tells me. Not giving enough information in a bio is a common mistake she's seen people make. Think about sharing a bit about yourself in a way that reads more personal than a résumé and goes further than simply stating where you live and where you went to college, Dineen advises.
4. Share something unique about yourself
Don't be afraid to brag about yourself just a little bit and share something that's unique to you on your profile. Instead of sharing something broad like the fact that you like to try new restaurants or watch TV, dig deeper and add a more specific fact about yourself. Maybe you recently traveled to a foreign country and learned something new or perhaps you just achieved a major accomplishment like publishing a book or running a marathon. These are the details that invite comments and can kick-start a conversation.
5. Run your profile by a trusted friend
Dineen suggests allowing a friend to look over your profile before you send it out there to the world. They might recognize any obvious issues with the flow of your bio or the images you've selected. "It's good to talk about it with someone," she says.
6. Indicate your romantic goals tastefully
While Dineen is all for expressly indicating whether or not hookups are an option—especially if you're using an app like Tinder that has a bit a reputation for facilitating short-term trists—she recommends treading lightly when it comes to indicating your romantic goals in your bio. Instead of outright saying that you're looking for a husband or a wife, try writing that you're interested in something more long-term or are open to a serious relationship.
7. Avoid leaving negative remarks in your bio
"I really believe in leaving off anything negative," Dineen says. While you might think this is a given, the dating app pro finds that many people unload bad past dating experiences in their bios by expressing that they're not looking for certain characteristics. "It doesn't make the person look good when they're coming off as negative," she tells me. Instead, stick to the positives. What are you looking for and what are some of your best qualities?
8. Update your profile from time to time
Dineen suggests updating your profile at least every six months. This way you can keep your images up the date and continue putting your best foot forward.
What happens when you get to the first date?
I couldn't end my conversation with Dineen without asking for a little fashion advice, especially when it comes to picking out a look for a first date. "I usually say wear something that you feel really good about," she says. "Obviously it should be stylish, but comfort is important," Dineen continues. When it doubt focus on what you're wearing from the waist up, as the fashion expert points out you'll likely be sitting across from your date whether you're out to dinner, drinks, or coffee. Still not sure what to wear? Get inspired by a few stylish, but comfortable first date outfit below.