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Dress to Impress

by Marisa Pellegrino

Have you ever wondered why that girl from the bar never called you back? The conversation came easy, the drinks were flowing, you could feel the chemistry, and you were dressed to kill…or were you?

Your mother always told you that you only get one chance to make a first impression and first impressions can make or break you. Women look at every last detail, from your tasseled shoes to the amount of goop you have in your hair. Be honest guys, women aren’t the only ones who try on five different outfits before deciding what to wear for a night out on the town. And it is perfectly normal. But how do you know which outfit is the right one to impress the girl on your first date?

Let me take you through it step by step. Clothes aren’t the only thing a woman looks at when you’re dressing to impress; it’s the whole package. Fortunately or not, the outside is what she sees first. What you see is sometimes what you get. So what do you wear?

Out with the Old...
Rule number one is: don’t under dress. Guys have a tendency to pull on a pair of pants and the first shirt they find and head out the door. You have to look put-together, like some sort of effort was made for her. So take those ratty, old tennis shoes and toss ‘em! Take your t-shirts with big, loud prints and forget about them! And yes, women think carpenters are sexy but that doesn’t give you the green light to wear your paint-stained jeans. The solution is simple. Ask a friend (male or female) over the day of your big date. Not only will they help calm your nerves but they’ll also give you their honest opinion on your chosen outfit. Second, an iron can also be a man’s best friend. You’d be surprised what a little pressing can do to change your look. Finally, don’t rush! There’s nothing wrong with taking an extra half hour to prepare. If you take the time to get ready, your date will take the time to notice.

…In with the New
So while the first rule might seem simple enough, some guys might take it too far, which brings us to rule number two: don’t overdress. We don’t expect you to know all the latest fashion trends of the day and we don’t expect you to follow them either. This second rule doesn’t only deal with being a label whore but also with men going overboard; that is to say those men don’t know when enough is enough. While some guys take a shirt, smell it and decide whether or not it is clean, others think their shirt has to say Hugo Boss, Armani, or Ralph Lauren to look good. So let’s make your sweater selection. Stay away from Grandma’s knitted birthday gift and nipple shirts. The former screams little kid while the latter leaves nothing to the imagination. The tight shirt may not be an option if you’re not comfortable enough with your body, but if you are physically fit, why not let the woman imagine what’s under there to maintain an element of mystery. You can’t go wrong with a button shirt, leaving the first couple of buttons at the top undone. It’s casual, comfortable, and classic.

A Dab Will Do You
Do you remember the last time you were walking down the street and almost got whiplash because someone passed by you with an overwhelming smell? Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses, which leads us to rule number three: always remember to smell good. Some smells take us back to childhood and others remind us of something very specific. The same applies to your cologne. But why is cologne used in the first place? Its purpose is twofold: it becomes your “signature” and the sense of smell is heightened when things start getting hot and heavy. Again, less is more. No need to drown yourself with the stuff, keep in mind that when it comes to cologne, a little goes a long way. The best places to apply your signature are the inside of your wrists, your neck, and even your chest.

Attention to Detail
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference and rule number four reminds you to pay attention to detail. We all know women have an eye for the minute and the slightest thing can turn us off. So the solution is simple boys, don’t overlook the small stuff. Just like women like carpenters, some women also think scruffy is sexy, but on your first date, go with the clean shaven look to be safe. And not only are you going to brush your teeth, you’re also going to break out the dental floss for this one just to be extra safe. Make sure your hair is neat and doesn’t hold an entire bottle of product in it. Remember to clean those nails. You may look like a man’s man with dirty nails, but it’s a turn off for women. Finally, keep the accessories to a minimum. You can wear your watch and necklace or a ring but that’s it. If you’re wearing more jewelry than your date then we could have a problem!

Of course, not all women are the same but most will agree that less is more when making a good first impression. So remember the four simple rules: don’t dress like you’re going to watch the game at a buddy’s house or like you’re about to walk down the runway; smell great and put in the effort to care of the details. You’re sure to have plenty of second, third, and fourth dates!

© Copyright 2005-2009. About the Author: Marisa Pellegrino is freelance journalist and a writer for a Montreal radio show called Passion, a program about dating, relationships, and sex. She is also the writer/webmaster for Dating Ideas ( a website with advice about dating and relationships

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