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Date Diary

04 10 2016

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It’s a true cliché: First impressions matter! By Sonali Kokra

Especially in the digital age, where romantic interest often starts with a strategically lit display photo and ends with the double chins of reality. Who amongst us can resist the temptation of using a flattering, if misleading, profile photo if it means securing ourselves a date with the person we never in our wildest dreams thought we’d stand a chance with!?

But the thing is, no matter how smooth you are over text, eventually, you’re going to have to come out from behind the screen. While only a fortunate few look as good as their digital avatars, the best most of us can hope for is attempt to clean up well enough to not let the other person feel like they’ve been had. And this is where an astonishing number of men often go wrong.

You pick the right places, book all the right tickets, get the woman you wish to woo excited enough to spend hours trying to look her best to meet you... and then you show up in a tatty T-shirt. Or mismatched clothes. Or shoes that look like they were crafted in the last century. Or pants that are too tight or too loose. Oh, the list is as long as it is painful for the woman who can’t believe she’s enduring the torture of 4-inch stilettos for a man who thinks of ironing as optional. Can you blame her for developing a sudden, splitting headache 20 minutes into your dream date?

So, if you’re sartorially challenged but want to ensure that you’re not left gazing at the hastily retreating back of your dream woman, here’s what you need to know about dressing right for a first date (and every date after that!).

Do: Wear a casual jacket or a collared shirt

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A fresh, collared shirt is the way to go when meeting on a first date. Avoid those outlandish designs or prints

We know you love tees but ditch them for the first date, at least. If you're meeting her during the day,a neatly ironed collared T-shirt in denim, linen or even trusty old cotton is a good pick. I'm partial to denim, but no woman can resist the sight of strong arms peeking out from under rolled up sleeves of a shirt.

If you're going out on a cool night, especially if it's a bar or a pub, you can try a leather or faux leather jacket. Leather exudes avery old-school vibe of sexiness, mystery and masculinity: three things women love. Don't attempt this if you know you're going to get cooked! If you live in a warm city,you could go for a light cotton jacket or a dark rinse denim one.

Whatever you do, do not turn up for the first date in a crumpled shirt - and not the same one you wore to office. If you're planning a date directly from your desk - avoid; best to shower and please do pack in a fresh shirt!

Don’t: Wear a suit and tie

Women dig a well-tailored suit, yes. But not on a first date. At best, it’ll make you look like you came straight from office, which makes her think you didn’t care enough about the date to go home and shower. At worst, it makes you seem boring, stuffy and unadventurous. Neither scenario bodes well for your chances of getting a second date. Here too, if there’s no way out, at least take off the tie and the coat.

Do: Wear simple, straight-cut jeans

If you often find yourself confused about which jeans to wear, here’s a rule of thumb: go with a basic, dark rinse denim in a straight cut. Apart from the fact that they’re polished and comfortable, a big plus is that they can be very easily dressed up or down, depending on where you’re going and what time of the day. Dark rinses also complement most colours, so there’s minimal risk of wearing clashing colours or mismatching. Make sure your shoes match and are clean.

Don’t: Treat your denims like a canvas

Rips and tears have their place in denim’s hall of fame but they’re also very easy to get wrong. Too much and you might end up looking like you can’t afford clothing that isn’t being held together by a wish and a prayer.Too little and you end up looking insipid. Personally, I find metal details on denim pretty tacky and unappealing, so my advice would be to keep it simple. A fresh,well-fitting pair that you know works well on you is your best bet.

Do: Keep your breath minty and armpits smelling fresh

This is mere reinforcement than advice. If I need to explain why these two things are imperative in life, and especially on a date, you’ve got some serious grooming to do,mister! No, it’s not ‘excessive’ to carry your toothbrush along with your deo if you need to.

Do: Wear a simple, classy Watch

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If there is one thing a man should definitely invest in, it's getting himself the best watch he can afford. Remember that thing I said about women being positively fascinated by strong arms and rolled up sleeves, a good watch is what makes you more equal than the other men waiting in queue. Plus, it tells her that you care about being on time, and punctuality is very sexy to grown women.

Don't: Attempt bling

Have you ever heard of a woman gift her man jewellery? Unlikely. If you must wear some, keep it minimal, maybe a leather cuff. The 'safe' piece of jewellery that looks good on a man is a plain gold wedding band when the day comes. Experiment only if confident!

Don’t: be so pre-occupied With looking gooD that you forget to be interesting!

All the styling advice aside, nothing you wear can replace the sexiness of a happy smile, sense of humour and wit. What you wear is meant to complement these inherent qualities, not act as are placement for them. No matter how well-dressed you are, if you're going to be boring or ill-informed, there is little chance she's going to take a shine to you. And remember, not to drop names or talk endlessly about your work, likes and dislikes. Learn to listen and respond intelligently. Whatever you do, don't shout at the waiter!

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