Things are looking great and you can’t wait to meet up next weekend. After a long day at the office, weeknight dates are something you can look forward to. There’s one problem:
What happens if you don’t have the time to go home and make changes? What do you wear to work? It doesn’t shout “I just got from work” when it comes to meeting your date?
Today I got you covered.
BUT FIRST, IMPORTANT FOR THOSE WITH STRONG DRESS CODES
Before we get into the strategies, I want you to be a little more cautious:
You may be required to wear a uniform or are subject to strict suit. You might have to bring more than one change of clothes if you follow strict tie-only rules. These tips don’t require that you tie your tie while looking at the rearview mirror.
FOR JOBS ON THE BRANCH CASUAL/CASUAL SUITE OF THINGS
Here are five strategies that I share with my private styling clients who have some wardrobe flexibility.
TIP #1: Aim for a slightly overdressed appearance
For when you both want to try that new Vietnamese place everyone keeps talking about
Even if you work in a casual environment, dressing up slightly can help you kill two birds with one rock.
- You are ready to work
- You look like you’ve tried hard for your date (effort = attractive)
One trick I share with my clients is The Swap Trick, which allows you to upgrade one item within an outfit.
You can start by wearing an outfit that you are comfortable in, and then change one of your casual items for something more dressed up.
For that “Instant Upgrading” you can swap out your usual tee-shirt for a button-down one. A collared shirt immediately signals that you are trying harder.
Here are some more examples:
- Shoes Replace sneakers with lace-up boots
- Pants Chinos can be a great upgrade to denim.
- Jacket Swap your denim jacket for a harrington jacket
TIP #2: MATCH CASUAL AND FORMAL PIECES
For post-work happy hour cocktails
You can also balance your formality by mixing casual pieces with more formal items. This will help you avoid the “I just got home from work” look.
Black denim is an excellent choice for work-to-date outfits. Its dark color helps it blend in with the rest of the office and makes you feel more comfortable at a bar. Don’t choose to wear denim that has been ripped.
You can balance the casualness of jeans by choosing leather dress shoes over sneakers and a tailored coat over a casual jacket. You can achieve that perfect balance of elegant and casual style by ensuring your outfit is a mix of formal and casual pieces.
TIP #3: RESPECT THE RULE “MORE DATES = MORE CASUAL.”
For the One Band you Both Love
It is a good rule of thumb: The more details a product has, the less casual it will be. A graphic tee shirt, for example, is more casual than one in solid colors. Striped shirts are more casual than solid shirts.
A worn-out pair of jeans is less casual than a pair of solid blue denim. This concept allows us to make casual items like leather jackets work-appropriate by choosing a design that is free of snaps, zippers, or details. Like this brown leather bomber.
TIP #4: LOOK OUT FOR PIECES THAT BLEND CASUAL COMFORT AND FORMAL DESIGN
For that Activity Date, You Both Should Avoid Alcohol
You don’t need to dress up in stuffy clothes. Designers have made it possible to add comfort to many of your office clothes with the help of modern design. Look out for traditional pieces with comfort features such as stretch, wrinkle resistance and breathability.
Bonobos Weekday Warriors is my favorite pant right now. It’s made of stretch easy-care cotton. These pants are as comfortable as sweatpants but look great.
These sneakers can be worn with a breathable, solid polo or technical bomber and paired with minimal, white sneakers. You’ll be ready for anything, from a team meeting to an activity date, without having to sweat.
TIP #5: DARKER COLORS CAN MAKE YOU SERIOUS AT WORK AND SEXY ON DATES
For the Fancy Prix Fixed Dinner
You have some great post-work dinner plans. A classic charcoal grey suit is your choice. Wearing a collared shirt with tie and a tie makes you feel ready for a job interview and not just for a romantic dinner.
My solution? It can be dressed down with a turtleneck. Remember tip #2: Mix casual and formal!
This is a great opportunity to add some color to your grey suit. My suggestion? A maroon that pairs well with grey. This outfit will make you appear serious and professional. Once you have finished your dinner, you will be in sexy mode.
- To make your date night more special, opt for a dressier look.
- Mixing casual and formal pieces will help you avoid that “I just got from work” look. Wear dress pants with simple sneakers if you are wearing them. Pair a tee shirt and jeans with a tailored coat or boots.
- More details equals more casual. If you are unsure whether a casual piece of clothing is appropriate for work, this rule will help. A piece with more details is more casual. If you plan to wear a tshirt to work, ensure it is a solid tshirt and not one with a graphic. The same goes for denim. Choose a solid pair of blue jeans over one that has been ripped or discolored.
- You should look for timeless designs that are made with modern technology. Clothes with stretch will make you appear professional for important meetings, but also help you to feel comfortable on a date.
- Darker colors can be added to date night attire. Office attire doesn’t have to be a sea of grey. A little color can make your date feel more special. Just make sure to choose something darker, such as a maroon or bright red. You will look more attractive under the date night mood lighting if you choose something darker than your usual job.