Wrinkled clothes and Crocs are the biggest turnoffs, according to a new Zoosk dating survey.
Dressing like a scrub won’t get you any love.
Even in the athleisure era, looking put-together on a first date is a must, according to a new survey of more than 6,600 singles by online dating platform Zoosk. Eighty-six percent of men and women on the market say that it’s important to dress nice for a date, and single ladies in particular (94%) insist this is non-negotiable.
Invest in an iron, because the biggest fashion faux pas for that first meet-up is wearing something wrinkled, which was a deal-breaker for 66% of daters. Other turn-offs include wearing socks with sandals (55%), showing up in Crocs (53%) or sporting baggy clothes (50%.)
That’s a sentiment shared by the female lead in Downy’s recent “Half-Washed” ad, where a first date goes south when the paramour yanks off his pullover to reveal a wrinkled tee with a v-neck that’s stretched into a u-neck.
“You look amazing,” he tells his date, who’s in a nice dress.
“And you look … amazingly … comfortable,” she says. Awkward.
In fact, just describing yourself as well-dressed can make you more attractive to potential partners. Zoosk also analyzed more than 34,579 of its dating profiles, and found those that include the term “dressing up” see a 135% increase in inbound messages, followed by “stylish” (134% more interest), “fashionable” (105% more interest) and “trendy” (96% more interest).
“When you look at a dating profile, you want a conversation-starter … so being able to connect over a passion, like you both enjoy dressing up, can be an easy ice-breaker,” Jenn Takahashi from Zoosk told Moneyish. “And someone who says they like dressing up can also signify that they go to art and cultural events, or they go to more parties,” which may be just the kind of dates you find most exciting.
It sounds superficial, but science shows that first impressions matter. It takes just a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from his or her face, according to a series of Princeton experiments. And the way you present yourself can affect the way people perceive your skills; 76% of patients find doctors who dress professionally with a white lab coat more trustworthy, so they were more willing to share their social, sexual and psychological problems with the health pros who dressed the part versus the docs in casual dress (just 4%.)
Hence, a neat suit or power outfit is the most appropriate attire for a job interview – and putting some extra effort into your date-night look shows you’re serious about looking for love.
But you don’t have to totter around in six-inch heels if you’re a flats person, because eventually your partner is going to learn you hate stilettos, anyway.
“When you are going out on a first date, and meeting the potential love of life, you should honor that moment by showing up as your authentic very best,” matchmaker Kailen Rosenberg, a.k.a. Oprah’s Love Ambassador, told Moneyish. “How many times have you heard someone say, ‘This isn’t the person I fell in love with,’ right?”
Be honest, but with some polish. Rosenberg, who founded her own members-only The Lodge Social Club dating app, represents many well-to-do men and women looking for love, and says women will complain about even rich guys showing up in flip-flops or cutoffs because they consider it rude and disrespectful.
“And in a sense, these women are right. Would he show up to a funeral of a family member dressed that way?” Rosenberg continued. “He’s not showing up at his best. He’s not honoring her. He’s not saying that this [date] is important to him.”
Millennials are more lax about their date night dressing standards, however, with just 77% of both males and females saying they can look past someone with bad style. This is also the group that’s brought the athleisure trend from weekends to workplaces with leggings and backpacks becoming more accepted office wear, racking up $215 billion in U.S. apparel sales in 2017, according to the NPD Group – although that dropped 2% from 2016, suggesting we may have reached peak comfort wear.
Men also claimed to be much less concerned about their date’s outfit than women are, with 73% saying they have no problem with what someone is wearing. Looks still matter, however. “If a man finds a woman from the neck up pleasing or attractive enough — including that what comes out of her mouth is attractive and sexy, and she’s fun, funny, outgoing, comfortable, down-to-Earth, and could be a great mother — then she could be dressed in sweats from the neck down, and the guy is not going to care,” Rosenberg said.
But it stands to reason that women expect more from men’s wear because women take twice as long to get ready, with most (37%) taking an hour to get primped, compared to men (40%) taking just half an hour. So if women are putting in the time to present themselves, shouldn’t their dates show the same courtesy?
“When you put more effort into getting ready for a date, it shows you are taking it seriously,” said Takahashi.