First-Date Necessities

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by Marlee Katz, Fashion Writer

Let’s be honest – first dates are sometimes scary and really awkward if you don’t prepare properly. Every woman must know how to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Whether you are spending a casual day at the park with your new crush and some friends, or heading to a fancy dinner downtown, aptly preparing for the event is a must. Regardless of the situation, you should always be comfortable in both attire and conversation. Wear something that makes you feel good, whether it be cute leather pants and a blousy top or your favorite little black dress, but just be sure to plan it in advance! And remember, nerves can ruin a first impression, so don’t get too worked up. Let the conversation flow naturally and the date will be a sure success.

Given the wide variety of possible dates, take a look at our following suggestions for different types, and you will be sure to have the perfect experience – with a second date soon to follow!


Casual Date:

If you choose to keep it casual by spending a day at the park or going to a coffee shop, remember to keep it simple. You don’t need to overdo your look, so wear something cute and comfortable – by no means do you need to wear a dress and heels to the park! Keep the conversation light and be confident in yourself. And if you happen to be with a big group people and remain at ease, your date will surely be impressed.


  • The perfect pair of jeans is a must. Try a medium to dark wash in a skinny fit to pair with your favorite tee of the moment.
  • Sunglasses are the perfect accessories for a causal day at the park or a nice stroll around the city. You don’t want to squint while talking to your potential new man!
  • The right bag completes the look. Try a cross body: the ideal combination of something not too big and not too small.
  • Don’t be too serious in such a relaxed setting. Think of a couple good jokes or stories to make your date laugh and help set the mood!
  • And if you aren’t vibing your man’s friends and need a quick escape, keep it frank. Tell him you have to finish a paper or your boss “called” and needs you to come in.


Romantic Date:

For an evening cooking at his place or eating out, remember to keep it intimate. Black jeans with a flirtatious but not-too-revealing top can create the perfect dinnertime ensemble. Try not to talk about yourself too much, as you want to learn things about your new man. And always take his complements with flattery and remember to smile. After all, smiling is cute and attractive – and who doesn’t like that?


  • The perfect blouse or shirt, depending on the weather. Everyone has that one favorite top in their closet – so take advantage of it!
  • Black, sexy heels, or a wedge if you’re not a heel person. Make sure you can walk in them and that they’re not too tall so you don’t tower over your date.
  • The perfect lip-gloss: something neutral or pink, and not too sticky. Nobody likes sticky kisses!
  • Money – in case your date surprises you and wants to split the bill.
  • If the cute guy turns out not so cute or funny, you can always fake an emergency. How many of us have a friend who can give us a ring with a good fake cry after a sneaky SOS text? Just remember to leave gracefully, as you may surely run into your date again somewhere!


Elegant Date:

If your new boo is ever so kind and chooses to take you to, say, dinner and the theatre, match his kind gesture by dressing up your outfit. You can always stick with your LBD, but have some fun with it by adding jewels or funky shoes to spice up the look. Remember to relax and not delve into anything too personal! Ultimately, have fun on this type of date, as most college-aged men don’t plan such special evenings for girls they aren’t truly interested in.


  • The most fabulous LBD. Similar to the perfect t-shirt, everyone needs an impeccable little black dress in their closet.
  • A unique clutch to complement your dress. Add some color to your look!
  • Invest in some beautiful jewelry, like chunky earrings or a statement pendant. These will add elegant touches to your evening ensemble.
  • Mints, in the event your date tries to lean in for a kiss after you finish your baked salmon and risotto.
  • A Tide-to-Go pen for those worst-case scenarios. That being said, if your date isn’t going as planned, you can always escape with a wardrobe malfunction!

Check out this story in the Winter/Spring issue of MODA, now on newsstands around the UW-Madison campus! 

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