With lockdown measures easing and restaurants opening up again, dinner dates are back on the agenda. And whether you’re meeting up with your long-term partner or going on a first date, you’ll want to look your absolute best as you dine out for the first time in what probably feels like years. After all, we’re sure you’re desperate to throw on your glad rags after sitting around your house in PJs for months on end. If you’re worried that you’ve forgotten how to dress up after such a long time, our guide will help you look a million dollars.
Be formal—but not too formal
A sophisticated dress is a classic dinner date outfit for women, though a silk camisole and blazer with skinny trousers is also a great look, as is a smart jumpsuit. Pair with stylish yet comfortable shoes and an appropriate outer layer, such as a blazer, formal jacket, or coat, and avoid casual clothes like jeans, sweaters, and distracting prints. However, remember that although you want to dress formally, you definitely don’t want to look like you’re going to work, so keep away from smart shirts and monochrome colour schemes.
For men, a suit or trousers and a blazer is the way forward, but lose the tie to avoid looking too businesslike. Opt for a sharp blazer with tailored trousers or chinos and a button down shirt—steering clear of garish patterns or colours—and consider breathable materials like cotton to avoid any embarrassing sweat stains. Always ensure your clothes are tailored and fit you well, to get the most out of your physique, and opt for a nice pair of loafers, wingtip brogues, or brown leather shoes on your feet. Avoid t-shirts, jeans, and trainers as these are all way too casual. If you need to buy new clothes for your dinner date, the likes of Karen Millen and Hackett are good places to find stylish formalwear for girls and guys respectively.
Be yourself and comfortable
Though you should definitely dress up a little, it’s important that you be yourself and wear something comfortable. Your fashion choices are an extension of yourself and so, whether you’re looking to impress a prospective partner or dazzle your lover, trying to be someone you’re not just won’t work. Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in works to enhance your mood and boost your confidence, as you’ll feel much more at ease throughout the night. Think about which outfits tend to attract compliments from friends and family, as well as which items you think make you look and feel good.
As well as wearing an outfit that isn’t ‘you’, uncomfortable clothing will also make the night less enjoyable. What you wear should always strike a balance between looking good and being practical, so don’t dress up in anything you can’t eat, walk, or breathe in!
Pay attention to the small details
Once you’ve chosen your main attire, turn your attention to the small details to add a little je ne sais quois that will wow your dinner companion. For women, go for statement earrings and a chic necklace. And when it comes to makeup, keep things simple and don’t try anything you haven’t before, as you don’t want to risk it going wrong. Top accessories for men include a belt to match your shoes, a nice but simple watch, and a pocket square for your jacket’s breast pocket. We suggest steering away from hats, patterned socks, and sunglasses, as these will hugely undermine the formal look you’re going for. And the most important part for everyone—regardless of your outfit—is ensuring the clothes you wear are freshly washed and ironed, and your shoes are polished and clean.