Looks matter. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I wish men (and women) could start dating — and fall in love — strictly based on the other person’s incredible personality or adventurous spirit. Until that trend catches fire, I thought I should start dressing better. Nothing crazy — I don’t have that kind of time or money—just a little style in my step. That way, I can attract guys (or make them desperately flee) with my charming personality, style, and attractive Star Trek obsession.
Right now, my favorite outfit is whatever my hand hits first in the closet. I have three packed jewelry boxes but only wear the necklaces sitting on top of my dresser. I could do better. For sure.
My sister has been telling me this for years — OK, more like a decade. And before now, I just didn’t really care. I mean, I was never a slob. And I can sport vintage dresses with the confidence of Betty Draper. But I never felt like I needed to impress a guy; I was already loved (and in love) with my husband.
But it’s time to get serious — or at least more thoughtful — about first impressions. And luckily, my sister, Anglea Stamps, is a professional shopping consultant in Colleyville. I asked her (begged her) to enlighten me on the best ways to dress for a first date this fall. She said sure: Sisters can’t say no.
Anglea says to go with a three-quarter length or long-sleeve dress that hits right above the knee. “You don’t want to show off too much because then it seems like you’re trying too hard.” (Maybe jeans and a t-shirt shout you’re so awesome that clothes are irrelevant? Well, probably not.)
For shoes, she suggests a tall boot that comes to the knee or a wedge bootie. “Get something with some height on it that’ll make your legs looks longer, which will also make you look thinner.”
Now for my favorite part: jewelry. “You need at least three fun bracelets or bangles on one wrist. And depending on your dress, either a statement necklace or statement pair of earrings.” Again, she warns, overdoing it looks like you’re trying too hard. But gosh, that line between too much and just enough is so blurry. Maybe I need some new Ray-Bans.
Where to Find It
If you’ve got more cash to play with, hit Anthropologie or Nordstrom, Anglea says.
“On tight budget, I’d shop Ann Taylor Loft or even Target,” she said. “I’ve seen some really great pieces this year in Target’s fall fashion line.” Personally, the thought of trying to find a cool, flattering first date outfit at Target makes me so stressed out that I might cancel completely and go to the wine aisle instead (where every option looks good on me). But, Anglea knows her stuff.
She says the junior’s department at Nordstrom has fashionable, inexpensive jewelry. I vote for Esther Penn, located off West 7th Street. If I found $50 on the ground, I’d go there first and feel better for it.
How to dress for your body shape
I always think about this, and then do absolutely nothing about it. Here are some tips from Anglea (who looks like a supermodel and doesn’t actually need to use any of the tips below). But I totally do.
Curvy: You want a dress that defines your waist, because it’s the thinnest part of your body, she says. “Something A-line is going to look better. Remember not to show off too much cleavage on the first date.” (This is debatable.)
Skinny: Make sure your dress has shape and it’s more fitted, she says. “Find something that has some pattern to it or fullness in the top to give the appearance of a bigger chest.”
Tall: “Watch your heel, and make sure that dress doesn’t get too short. When you order online look for dresses that come in tall sizes.”
Short: The goal here is to make legs look longer. So opt for a shoe with a good wedge, and buy clothes in the petite department. She says Ann Taylor is a good place to start.
Hey, if a little newfound fashion sense can make you feel more confident during a first date, that’s a good thing. Repeat after me: Look good, feel good. Look good, feel good. Thanks, Anglea.
And if you still feel lost, check out this curated selection of dresses from Anglea:
As always, please write to me with your questions on love, relationships, and life at: firstname.lastname@example.org.