Whether it is dinner at a fancy restaurant or a popcorn and movie treat, dates are special occasions meant for you to show off who you are while getting to know your date.
There's nothing like the thrill of that special date with a stimulating person; the flirting, the sparring, the eye contact and the togetherness. The visual packaging plays a key role in either nurturing a fire into a blaze or putting out even the tiniest spark. Needless to say, you need to pay attention to how you present yourself.
Most of us spend at least a good hour or two mentally or physically picking out what to wear before a date. We pay great attention to looking and smelling our best. But what's even more important is how you feel.
You can primp and groom all you want, but if you aren't feeling comfortable in what you're wearing, it will show. And your date is likely to pick up on your discomfort, except, they may not know where it's coming from. Heaven forbid that they think it is about them.
So when planning, you may want to forgo that strappy dress you've never worn before or that leather jacket that tends to pinch, for something more tried and tested. You'll be happier if your date goes smoothly, with you being less self-conscious about your clothing and be more focused on your interaction.
Colour is another arrow in your quiver which you can use to great advantage. Warm colours such as yellow, vermilion, red, pink and brown make a person appear warm and inviting. Cool colours such as blue, green and purple give one a mysterious, calming presence. Depending on what you're looking to portray, choose colours wisely and stick to a palette of no more than 2-3 colours unless you honestly want to stand out in a crowd like a Christmas ornament. Throw in some pattern by way of a printed dress or shirt, a handbag or stunning earrings. More than one pattern or print is an absolute no-no, unless the others are subtle and not visible at first glance.
Always try and spend a few moments dressing up for a date even if you're headed out directly from the office. It'll give you a chance to look yourself in the eye, smile, feel good and pumped as you head out the door. Also you don't want your date to feel he or she is out with you on a business dinner. Tuck in a pretty scarf or stole or a casual shirt or jacket, or some special accessory, to accomplish that make-over in minimal time.
For women, cut is a difficult beast to conquer. If dealt with off-hand it can be your worst style adversary, unconsciously sending out wrong signals to your date. A neckline that is a couple of inches too low or wide or a hemline that's a tad too high can redirect a potential long-term romance into a short-term association. Keep your cuts in line with the look and values you want to hold dear and would like to project and your date will respond accordingly.
Hair and make-up too should be kept light and flirty. You really don't want to look overly made-up. If the date is at a formal restaurant or other such venue or event, you could choose to wear your hair up in a loose chignon bun or have it styled to perfection in buoyant curls.
If your eyes are your asset, make-up can follow with base, loose powder, a warm blush, dark eyes and more neutral lips. If your lips are your wow factor, a deep, rich lip colour combined with lighter eye shadow should do the trick.
The idea, as always, is to play up your best features and play down the ones that come further down the list.
Smelling good is important when out on a date as you tend to be in close proximity. Aroma is known to stir emotion within the human mind, just as pheromones and flowers did in the days before packaged perfume, so choose a perfume that makes you weak-kneed and that you identify with. It completes the package that is you. A walk through a cloudy mist of your favourite sensuous perfume is more than likely to serve in putting both you and your date into the perfect mind-frame.
I'm no fan of over-accessorising. So it follows, that on a date I would advise no more than two-three pieces of jewellery. For those with regal necks or a fondness for neck-pieces, a beautiful necklace in shell, beads or semi-precious stones over a scoop neck top, with small earrings and a ring would be icing enough. And for those with a penchant for jewelled wrists and ear lobes, intricately-worked earrings and bracelets would be just what the date doctor ordered.
The most vital ingredient for any date would be a warm smile and open mind, for without those elements, a potential life-altering date is likely to remain a non-starter.
So dress to please yourself, as well as to impress.
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