So tonight’s the night; you’ve finally plucked up the courage to ask someone special out on a date. A million and one things are swirling around your head right now, the foremost of which is probably not, “What should I wear?”

In order to save you from yourself, I present to you this simple guide for getting ready for a first date. While it’s not guaranteed to win you a second date, it should certainly help put you in the running.

Let’s kick things off by taking a look at your choice in clothing…

Conventional with a twist

If you want an easy to remember principle then it’d be ‘keep it simple but add an edge’. In other words, stick to fairly traditional, slightly conservative looks but add something extra to give off a sharper vibe: A simple splash of colour will often do it, but basic patterns can work just as well.

When dressing for dates, it’s usually best to keep things ‘smart-casual’ where possible. Obviously, you may need to go ‘more one way than the other’ depending on the circumstances. Whenever you’re in doubt, think “Am I dressed well enough that my date’s parents would see me in a good light if we turned up on their doorstep this evening?”

Keep the focus on you

Don’t pick out loud shirts or statement pieces the first night out. You want your lips to do the talking, not your clothing. Put the crazy t-shirts and pink suits to one side for the night.

In the same spirit, try to keep the mystery alive by avoiding ‘clothing tells’; in other words, keep your cowboy belt-buckle in the back of the closet, and alumni neckties for another occasion.

What to wear on a date

Don’t overload the cologne

Yes, I know you want to smell good, but don’t forget your date doesn’t want to feel like they’re sitting in a perfume factory over dinner. Avoid going too far and mixing up your scents; keep things plain and simple wherever possible.

A light dab of cologne won’t necessarily go astray, but don’t coat yourself in a layer of antiperspirant three inches thick.

Groom to perfection

By this I mean don’t over- or under-groom. Get rid of the mono-brow, have a shave and by all means get a trim at the barbers too; but don’t go too far – nobody needs to see weirdly plucked eyebrows on a night out.

Feel good in what you’re wearing

You’ll be nervous enough as it is without having to worry about that brand new sports coat that just isn’t ‘you’. If you don’t feel comfortable with what you’ve got on, you’ll probably spend the entire date fidgeting and squirming, much to the distress of your date!

Try to avoid wearing anything brand new or previously unworn for the occasion, and remove anything that makes you ill at ease or itchy.

Man's Guide to dressing on a first date

Beware your hair

While smartening up your hairdo is fine, don’t decide on a dramatically different style the night before: you never know, your hair might’ve been the deciding factor in your date agreeing to go out with you in the first place!

While you can use a small amount of hair product (gel, wax, etc) for control issues, I wouldn’t recommend using too much. Crusty, flaky hair is a deal breaker for most people.

Don’t blow it…

Now you’ve got the perfect clothes lined up, and you’re groomed to perfection, don’t go a ruin it all by talking about politics, religion or your ex. Instead, keep your conversation light-hearted and bond over insignificant topics like books, movies, celebrities and ‘favourite things’.

You needn’t stray into banality if you’d rather not, but do try to avoid strong opinions and controversial issues until a little later on in the relationship.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.