Oh the joys of getting dressed before a date — the plotting, the scrutinizing, the constant need for re-assurance from your friends that you look hot and not in any way slutty, the hours in front of a mirror, the Polaroid pics (how can anyone forget Cherâ€™s over-the-top first-date precautions in Clueless?)â€¦
Maybe you donâ€™t go quite as far as these extremes — or maybe you go embarrassingly beyond — the point is, any girl would be lying if she didnâ€™t admit to at least a slight amount of neurosis regarding this process. But lighten up, ladies, because as I recently discovered, sometimes the perfect date-night outfit can emerge accidentally on its own.
Last weekend I met up with a friend who was visiting with her boyfriend, and a bunch of his guy friends. It was a mellow night — a few bars followed by drinks at one of the guysâ€™ apartment. As I looked around, I realized that my gal-pal and I were completely outnumbered by men. Then it hit me — what a great way to get material for my next column! When I threw the question out on the table â€“ â€œWhat should a girl wear on a first date to make the best impression?â€ — the boys chimed in with the obvious dating rules.
1. â€œDonâ€™t dress too sexy, or weâ€™ll just see you as an easy lay.â€
2. â€œItâ€™s okay to dress up, but donâ€™t look too dressed up.â€
3. â€œCovering yourself up is good, but not too covered up.â€
And so the story goes. Um, okay, guys, thatâ€™s nice, but letâ€™s be specific. All of the sudden, all eyes were on me. One of the dudes said, â€œYou know, what youâ€™re wearing is actually the perfect first date outfitâ€¦ like couldnâ€™t be more perfect.â€ The others agreed.
Hmm, how did that happen? I woke up late from an afternoon nap and had only a half hour to shower, get ready, and find an outfit suitable for dinner with my parents, followed by a night out with friends. I had to act fast to coordinate an ensemble that would stifle the proverbial family critiques — you know, the â€œWhere do you think youâ€™re going dressed like that missy?â€-song that can put a dark cloud over any night — but one that wouldnâ€™t make me feel like a librarian when I went out to the bars.
The end result: a black knitted short sleeve v-neck top from H&M (I bought the top a size larger than I usually wear because I liked that that bigger one was longer, slouchier, and that the v-neck dropped a little lower), black skinny jeans by J Brand, and my trusted black Chanel ballet flats with a patent leather cap-toe. I accessorized with two necklaces — one short, one long, and a mixture of gold and wooden bangles. I looped a black knitted skinny scarf around my neck and threw on a long, Juicy Couture wool and cashmere knitted cardigan in beige.
So what was so awesome about this outfit? Well according to the boys, the low-cut top was revealing enough to be sexy and enticing, and pairing a loose top with form-fitting pants gave the look a sexy, yet â€œchillâ€ vibe. Most importantly, I didn’t look like a tried too hard â€“ which I obviously didnâ€™t! Letâ€™s here it for getting ready in five minutes!
Here are some options for re-creating the looks.