Men should pull themselves together always and everywhere, but there are exactly six times a week when the way they dress really, really matters. Five of those are when they're working (which can be pretty tough - check out our office style tips here). But the sixth is date night, and it is not to be underestimated. Especially when it's first-date night. Because an impression, like a good outfit, is difficult to make, but a good one shows his respect for her, and... See? We're already dropping tips before the list actually starts. Esquire's online style editor Josh Peskowitz breaks down how a man should act:
1. Women are obsessed with shoes. Not just their own shoes or shoes on other women (which, of course, they are, as we found out from a Dutch neuroscientist) - they're obsessed with men's shoes. So a guy should wear nice ones, because her judging them is unavoidable. It's best to pick an appropriate pair - lace-ups or loafers for the evening; driving shoes, moccasins, or simple sneakers for the afternoon; flip-flops for nothing, ever. (Here are some stylish new shoes for spring that we especially like.)
2. Going out with her, especially for the first time, is an occasion. A man should dress for it. No need to sweat the tie, but a jacket is an excellent idea. (We have a few solid but casual options in mind.)
3. Unless one's destination requires a tie. Then a man should wear one. But he should check first - you don't want to feel too dressy. (And if a guy doesn't know how to tie a tie, he should just learn already.)
4. Not wear a suit. This might seem counterintuitive, but hear us out: If he's going to the opera, fine. The theater, maybe. Otherwise, he'll seem uptight. Sure, the nicest things you own are probably those suits of yours, but those suits are for work - leave them in the dry-cleaning bag 'til Monday. The goal on date night is leisure, or at least maintaining the illusion of it. And separates, or a nice sweater, will convey just that. (It's true that we always like a nice sweater. Here's one of them, which happens to be on sale.)
5. Wear clothes that fit him. This fitting chart can help - and it always applies, but now more than ever. The ultimate goal of this exercise is to see each other naked. She might as well get a reasonable approximations of his dimensions underneath.
6. Grooming: Clipped fingernails and washed hair are a must. Women check the details. They look at a man's hands more often than a man looks at his own. He should make sure his are presentable. They'll see those little flakes on the shoulder, too, so he shouldn't be too shy to break out the dandruff shampoo. If this is a problem, though, he should avoid wearing a dark shirt. (With that in mind, check out our awards for the best men's grooming products on the market.)
7. Take it easy on the cologne. They like it when he smells nice, but there's no need to bludgeon the poor woman. (Having said that, there are a few great new colognes we'd recommend for any occasion.)
8. Not wear anything to which the words "zany" or "interesting" might apply. T-shirts with sayings on them, his "Mr. Burns for Mayor" pin, dad's old hunting cap - they're not going to show her how clever he is. His words and actions will. New jokes help, too: Here are a few punchlines we recommend.
9. Put his phone on silent.
10 Check his fly.
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