First Date Fashion Faux Pas

First Date Fashion Faux Pas

Advising women about what not to wear on a date is a significantly easier task than suggesting what to wear. Why? Simply because so many outfit choices are potentially wrong (which makes many fewer correct). Despite their seeming oblivion, men actually do notice what a woman wears.

"It does matter," says Jeffrey, a New York-based social worker. “A woman’s attire conveys to others how she feels about the occasion at hand.”

Therefore, to help you avoid communicating something you’d probably prefer not to—such as disinterest, promiscuity, prudishness, or insanity—during your next romantic encounter, YourTango has compiled a guide to dating fashion no-nos (for a list of what to choose instead of these prohibited looks, see our What to Wear on a Date guide).

Forget to Get Ready. “I consider the time a girl invests in an outfit a possible indicator of how interested she may be in me,” says Greg, a 26-year-old law student. “I still remember when a date showed up wearing jeans and a plain white tee-shirt the first time we went out. She looked good, but the lack of effort was disappointing.” Greg is not alone. All the gents I polled agreed that they appreciate observing some special effort. So avoid wearing jeans and t-shirts; ratty or dirty clothing; pajama bottoms; or anything else to suggest that your date’s opinion means less to you than C-SPAN’s faithful coverage of all-night filibusters.

Go for Slutty-Chic. While desirability certainly impresses a man, it’s not necessarily the best date tactic to flaunt everything you’ve got. Stereotypes and judgments suck, of course, but they’re part of our daily reality—so keep your cards close in the beginning. Even though you know that your big intellect can coexist with your high heels and minidress, your naive date may think the outfit represents something less flattering, like desperation or promiscuity. And those interpretations can dissuade a guy. “I like to get a sense of a woman's figure by what she's wearing,” says Eric, a musician, “but I get turned off if they wear something too attention grabbing.” Also, guys are imaginative creatures (after all, when was the last time you played fantasy baseball?), so leaving them with something to dream up—like what your lolas will look once he does get to see them—can only enhance your next encounter.

Play Hot for Teacher (unless you are one). Tina Fey, the self-proclaimed “librarian-sexy” star of Thirty Rock manages to achieve an enviable blend of brainy and beautiful, it’s true—but that look is a tough one to rock. You probably are brainy and beautiful (aren’t we all?), but eschew the too-obvious indicators of intellectual seriousness, like reading glasses, high-necked blouses, and formless clothing. Witty conversation and references to an impressive resume are sexier ways to convey your smarts.

Dress Like Someone You Aren’t. At the end of the day, what really matters is that your style represents what you’ve got going on inside. “Outfits are like icing,” says Cole. “It’s part of the package, but it’s the cake that really matters. If the cake ain’t good, the icing ain’t gonna make or break it.” If you aren’t a 'ho,' then don’t try to entice him by dressing like one. If you aren’t frilly and feminine, forgo the sundress. Clothing is the visual manifestation of our personality, confidence, and style—steer clear of outfits that imply buttercream when on the inside you’re pure red velvet.