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What to wear on a first date? Experts weigh in

Dating is tough. Figuring out what to wear, how to act, what to say and - don't forget - potentially planning an escape route.

We chatted with some local experts to get the DL on how to dress and how to show your best self for that first (often awkward) one-on-one.

But first, what's the number one 'thing' you should bring on a date?

Confidence y'all! According to Seattle Life Coach Nora Paxton, it's the only way to go.

"Confidence is trust, it is owning it!," she said. "So don't fake it. Be authentic. Be OK to be vulnerable. Trust yourself. It is ok to really show up and to show others who you are. You have to be totally and completely at peace with who you are in every moment, interaction and experience."

Being confident is harder said than done, so Paxton gave us a few tips to calm the nerves:

  1. Ground yourself. Stop focusing on what might go wrong. As soon as a worrying thought pops into your head, let it go. Realize that it is just a thought that will pass, just like many others did. Practicing mindfulness and focusing on your breathing is a great way to push these thoughts. Repeating empowering statements before entering a room such as "I am enough", "I can do this", "I own my gift and talents", and "I am open to this experience and all will be just fine", is also a very powerful way to overcome that anxiety. Remember it is just a date, not a life-and-death event.
  2. Pump yourself up. Listen to music with a deep bass that makes you feel good, wear something that you feel comfortable yet attractive in and focus on at least two positive qualities about yourself and soak them in.
  3. Instead of worrying about how you look to the other person or being self-critical, try to find out more about him/her and if this person is right for you.

Now that you're mentally prepared, its time to address that God-awful question "What do I wear?"

Ladies

"Wear your best color, it's the one you gravitate to or the one that gets you the most compliments," said local stylist Tannya Bernadette. "So, put away the little black dress - [it's] time to take a risk, not play it safe".

Bernadette also suggests that you wear something that makes you feel sexy.

"This is definitely a personal preference," she said. "Pick something that makes you feel confident and sensual. It could be a red high heel, matching undergarments (even if you will be the only one who sees them), or a dress that shows off your curves. Whatever it is that makes you feel sexy, it will have you ready to flirt all night."

But ultimately the most important thing is to be true to your own personal style.

"It's all about authenticity, and this is even true with your style," said Bernadette. "That doesn't mean you shouldn't try something new, but don't try to make an outfit work if it doesn't feel right. You'll be uncomfortable all night and fidget with your clothes, taking the focus off of your date. Yes - you want to look nice but feeling comfortable is key."

Men

For men, we went to Avi Soor, the co-founder of Seattle Gents and a men’s fashion blogger. Funny enough - the number one suggestion for men is the same as that for women.

"A man should wear whatever he feels most comfortable with on a first date," said Soor. "To get an even mix of trendy and formal, we'd recommend wearing jeans or chinos, sneakers, a v-neck, and blazer with pocket square."

But even though it's all about comfort, no sweats please. Overly casual can be a negative, but getting too done up can be just as bad.

"A man should not wear a full suit with tie on a first date because it appears too formal and serious.," he said.

Word.

For spring, Soor suggests opting for a floral print and light colors.

Happy dating!

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