I Tried 7 First-Date Outfit Formulas—This One Gave Me Next-Level Confidence

The anticipation of a first date tends to conjure up a bad case of the "what ifs?" What if it's awkward? What if it's a waste of time? What if this nervous energy is obvious? And then, of course, things get even more severe when it comes time to pick an outfit. Is this too short? Too modest? Too showy? Too fashion-forward? The list goes on.

Well, as a single person who has been on countless first dates, I've gotten a lot better at challenging that internal dialogue because the truth of the matter is that there will be awkward dates and dates that you never want to see again. Yes, your date will likely notice if you are beet red and restless, and some of them might judge your outfit. While this realization has also helped me see dating as a chance to have fun and connect with others—or at least walk away with a funny story and a lesson learned—one of my biggest takeaways has been of the sartorial variety.

Indeed, after much trial and error, I discovered that what I'm wearing has a lot to do with the success of a first date, but it's not the actual outfit that matters. To be clear, I don't measure success in leveling up to a second date (though that is a perk if we hit it off). Rather, it's about how I feel in my own skin, which means learning to dress for myself and only myself. After dozens and dozens of first dates, I've finally nailed the outfit formulas that meet at the intersection of personal style, mood, lifestyle, and occasion. 

So whether you're planning for a first date, 100th date, or even just a date with yourself, read on to see seven different first-date outfit ideas based on mood, occasion, and lifestyle, and play around with the ones that speak to your most. These seven formulas have never let me down, so hopefully they make you feel like your best self too.