Like any game, dating has rules. And if you want even the slightest chance of success, it’s worth your while to follow them. Within a matter of seconds, your date is going to make a judgement call based on the clothes you wear.
The underlying thing to get right is to strike the perfect balance between looking like you’ve made an effort without going overboard, and staying casual without appearing to have made no effort whatsoever. Here’s how:
Go big or go home
Going for a navy suit and white shirt is perfect for certain occasions, but if you want to separate yourself from the rest of the men in the room (especially during the week), take it one step further by trying a bold check. Too much, too soon? Then tone it down with a dark shirt, t-shirt or crewneck.
There’s no outfit as universally classic as the chino, shirt and trainer combination. It works for all occasions, no matter where the date takes you. This is the perfect off-duty look but there are still a few things to consider: make sure that your trousers fit, your shoes are clean and your shirt is ironed. Basic, yes, but also imperative.
If you’ve planned something relaxed or you’re a few dates in, you can afford to dress a little more casually than you might for the first date. Stick to easy pieces like a classic sweatshirt and jeans, but raise the bar with subtle - but crucial - details such as a light pattern on the jumper, delicate rips in the jeans and leather accents in the trainers.
If you want to raise the game but are unsure how, why not try adding a hint of print? Spots are a great starting point if you’re a little unsure, particularly if you pair it up with simple basics. The pattern rulebook is simple: one, and only one, will do. Anything more and you’ll cross into novelty territory and have your date running a mile before the night has even started.
If you're unsure as to where the evening's going to take you, you'll want to be prepared for any eventuality. The perfect fix? Balancing smart and casual by mixing high and low pieces like denim and a slick shirt together. Rounding the look off with a knitted crewneck (especially if you can simplify things by investing in a mock shirt crew) will round the look off perfectly, ready for whatever comes your way.