Lessons from The Bachelorette: What to Never Wear on a Dating Show

Looking for love on a reality television show is a fraught endeavor if there ever was one. Especially if you look like a slob, or, in the case of nearly half of the twenty-five brave souls who embarked on that mission during Monday night's premiere of The Bachelorette, like The Situation in a clown suit.

Lesson #1: Cowboy Boots Are Not Dress Shoes
Aside from the back flips, the walking on cars, and the fake proposal, we could almost get through the first episode of Season Six for strictly sartorial purposes. (Ali, this year's, um, prize, didn't hurt.) Then came Tyler M. of Austin, Texas, and his suit... with cowboy boots. And no tie. This kind of getup for a date is almost entirely inexcusable, if for no other reason than Tyler wore the boots in homage to Ali's wearing a similar pair on last season's The Bachelor. Except that she didn't. We have learned this much about the history of ABC's love-connection programming for no other reason than to tell you this: If you're going to impress a woman with style, get your facts straight - and your shoes. We'll even give you 15 tips for selecting the perfect pair.

Lesson #2: Choose Clothing That Fits
Meanwhile, Derek of Warren, Michigan, had a suit of his own that could not have fit him worse nor given him a more distinctly Herman-esque air (as in Pee-Wee). Not sure which articles of clothing even need to be in a man's closet? Start with these 25 essentials.

Lesson #3: Don't Match Everything
It was easy to lose count of how many contestants wore shirts and ties that matched (as in Regis, not friendly patterns). Still, the yellow-yellow thing above was preferable to Chris N.'s decision to wear a brown(-ish) shirt with a teal tie. Repeat: Teal. Tie. If only he'd known these 10 essential style rules...

Lesson #4: Attitude Can Be Just as Important as Attire

Neil Patrick Harris can explain that one.

Lesson #5: You Don't Need to Be Flashy, But Color Can Help
Not surprisingly, the best-dressed man turned out to be a lawyer. Rhode Island's Jay (left in photo above) looked crisp in a gray suit-and-tie combo. (Note: Match your tie to your suit, not to your shirt.) And it fit. But our runner-up has to be Canadian Craig M., whose bright patterned tie, contrasting pattern shirt, and trim suit got Ali's approval - and ours, because this is actually how you add a little color to a dark suit.

If winning The Bachelorette were based on first impressions - and it is for us, because we're not exactly DVR-ing it next week - Craig would take Ali in a heartbeat.

What's the best look for a guy on a formal first date? What's the biggest style turnoff - on men and women?


Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.