man in black shirt elbow bumping with woman in a restaurant

If You’re Ready For IRL Dating, Here’s How to Dress Up

man in black shirt elbow bumping with woman in a restaurant

It is official: Dating has resumed. The days of socially distant relationships are over. Say goodbye to awkward, blister-inducing walks. Goodbye to awkward and blister-inducing walks. Enjoy the IRL!

Although it is unlikely that people will be able to hop between their music-filled, dimly lit spaces at their full capacity, the vaccine rollouts are causing more people to meet up for coffees and drinks. We’re embracing each other and even saying goodbye if things go well. It can be difficult to know what to wear on a first date, especially in a post-pandemic environment. It’s not 2019, and the tried-and-true outfits of dating’s past (read sky-high heels), need to be updated to fit 2021.

The ideal outfit for a first date is something that is up to you, but it is not easy to find. As we move away from sweatpants-laden lives, it is important to be less. Are you looking for a coffee date with someone? You can wear jeans with a pair of high-end basics and jeans. Going out for a drink? Pair a knit top with precise cutouts or an open-back with trousers and flat shoes. Are you heading to dinner? You can wear a polished shirt in many different contexts and ways, regardless of where you are going. Don’t worry dress people: Longline dresses with simple hemlines and no fuss are also a good choice.

When preparing for a first date, there is rarely the need to overhaul your entire closet. Instead, getting ready to go on a first date means establishing your first-date plan, then repeat the process. You should feel empowered to purchase a new dress, or an accessory to complement your existing wardrobe. Shop polished shirts, simple dresses, slinky knits and modern takes on basic basics here to help you get back in the dating game.

Polished Shirts

Christian Allaire, Vogue’s fashion writer and style editor, says that he would cancel a date due to anxiety and not go. But if he did go, he would wear dark jeans and a printed shirt. A good top can go a long way. A polished shirt can elevate your favorite trousers or denim.

Get the trend:
  • Gucci silk chiffon ruffle shirt $1,700
  • Reformation Roe shirred silk satin top $168
  • H&M Off-The-Shoulder Top $25
  • Ciao Lucia Isla printed smocked cotton blouse $295
  • Jacquemus ruched cotton blend poplin shirt $575
  • Christopher Esber silk wrap top in cropped silk $535
  • Nanushka Tippi satin blouse in sage $220

No-Fuss, Simple Dresses

Many of us love to dress up and feel best in a formal outfit. Super-short hemlines may be in fashion at the moment, but longer-lined dresses with simple silhouettes can be a great choice for first dates.

Get the trend:
  • Reformation Lauryl tie-front floral-print Ecovero-crepe midi dress $148
  • Zara openwork embroidered dress $70
  • Alessandra Rich floral silk midi-dress $1,770
  • Proenza Schouler White Label yarn-dyed plaid full-sleeve midi-dress $495
  • Zara dress with cutwork embroidery $84
  • Set of shirred linen midi and scarf in Sleeper Belle $280
  • Fleur du Mal halter neck slip dress $445

Elevated basics

You can’t go wrong dressing up for a date, no matter if you’re going out for coffee or a glass of wine. Simple, minimalistic, and great.

Get the trend:
  • Anna Quan Lena rib knit sleeveless top $210
  • Mugler cutout ribbed knit tank $850
  • Helmut Lang cutout cotton-jersey T shirt in ribbed cotton-jersey ruched $185
  • Peter Do top in ribbed-knit $465
  • LaQuan Smith mockneck silk top ribbed $395
  • Gauge81 Beja knitted one-shoulder top $270
  • K Ximeno Line open-back ribbed stretch jersey top $85

Slinky Knits

Spring 2022 will see second-skin dressing be a major trend. For a foolproof outfit idea for first dates, choose slinky knits that have careful cutouts and open backs.

Get the trend:
  • Khaite Maddy ribbed knit sweater $1,080
  • Safiyaa Zaina cutout ribbed-knit fop $805
  • Jacquemus Tordu Off-shoulder Cardigan $470
  • Magda Byrym cutout stretchy-jersey blouse $915
  • Danielle Guizio asymmetrical ribbed knit turtleneck $205
  • Jonathan Simkhai standard Janessa squareneck sweater $175
  • H&M open-backed top $25
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