It’s game time. You got past the jitters. She said yes. You’ve picked a swanky new martini bar to start the night at, followed by an upscale fusion restaurant. You’re ready to rock n roll, have a great time and enjoy the company of a beautiful woman. There is one issue though. A major one. You haven’t figured out what to wear. You want to make an impression, understandably, and more importantly, you want to feel great. Really great. So that confidence oozes and the date flows smoothly. And dressing well can serve as a great foundation for that. So with that said, here are our suggestions for how men can dress for a dinner date.
Before delving into specific items of clothing, a basic understanding of color theory will set the foundation for dressing well, whether it’s for your dinner date or any other occasion! A color wheel is the ideal place to start.
A color wheel is divided into two large camps of colors: warmer colors (red, orange, yellow) and cooler colors (blue, purple, green). The goal of using a color wheel is to harmonize color balance. Ideally, a mix of warm and cool colors helps achieve the concept of harmony, where stronger warm colors are offset by more tempered, cooler colors. However, as we will see below, there is a range of color schemes that we can choose from.
Based on the color wheel above, you will see that there are 4 major color schemes at play: Monochromatic (darker and lighter variants of the same color), Similar (colors that don’t contrast too strongly), Triadic (colors that provide contrast between warm and cool), and Complementary (bold contrast). For illustrative purposes, assuming that most gentlemen do not want to dress overtly bold, we will focus on the first three color schemes:
Monochromatic: Consists of wearing colors that are tints (lighter variants) and shades (darker variants) of the same color. A popular example would be wearing a light blue shirt with navy pants. A monochromatic color scheme is a great way to dress dapper without dabbling too heavily with color experimentation.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Similar color scheme: Involves choosing colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel e.g blue with lilac or blue with green. Similar color schemes are often employed with cooler colors, and help portray a sense of familiarity as the colors do not strongly contrast with each other (cool with cool). Hence, navy blue pants with a lighter green solid or checkered shirt will work fantastically, as these colors evoke a sense of familiarity.
A similar color scheme involves wearing colors that are close to each other on the color wheel, and hence aesthetically easy on the eyes. These light green chinos with the light blue shirt above are a perfect example! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Triadic color scheme: This is where color experimentation really becomes interesting. Triadic colors are those that form a triangle within the color wheel ie blue, red & yellow and purple, orange and green. Choosing two of these colors e.g blue and red helps to create both a sense of contrast and balance. Using variations can work to great effect, such as burgundy chinos with a blue shirt!
Burgundy Pants and a Blue Shirt form a stunning combination as part of a triadic color scheme. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Complementary color schemes: The boldest of the color schemes, this involves choosing colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel, and hence provide the strongest contrast e.g blue and orange.
Orange Pants and Blue Shirt above are definitely a bold combination but one that can work if you're bold with your attire! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
With basics of color theory now established, here are our suggestions for your articles of clothing for that all important dinner date:
Ditch the polos, and definitely ditch the t-shirts. While polos are fine for a day time casual lunch, dressing up for the evening requires more attention to detail. Solid and striped shirts are for work. Show off some of your personality with a solid dress shirt, a plaid shirt, or a more funky option such as paisley if you’re really ready to dress bold! With a strong emergence of plaid dress shirts, buying a well fitted trendy dress shirt should be available at a range of brands, whether you’re going for something more upscale such as Thomas Pink, or something more affordable but nevertheless trendy at Uniqlo!
A Dress Shirt will always have you looking the part on your date! Courtesy of www.blacklapel.com
Nothing speaks of timeless classiness like dark denim. While lighter denim can work during the day and even at times in the evenings, Dark Denim that is well fitted will complement your body and will make that dress shirt stand out! Just ensure that the dress shirt has been tucked in!
Dark Denim always provides a timeless and classic look for a date! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Not a fan of the denim, and straying away from formal trousers because they seem, strictly reserved for the office? Worry not! Chinos are a great way to dress with style without breaking the bank. Navy or Blue Chinos should generally do the trick. If you want to dress more boldly, why not opt for something like Burgundy Chinos!
Chinos are always a classy option for a dinner date! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Blazer / Jacket
Nothing adds a level of masculinity and sense of style to your ensemble than a well fitted blazer. It is imperative here to pay attention to pattern variation. If you are just starting to experiment with pattern and color, I would opt for one pattern (either blazer or shirt) and two solids. If you are comfortable opting for two patterns, and are choosing your blazer and shirt as your patterned items (preferable!), then pattern proportion is critical. While patterns can be the same, the spacing between patterns if of paramount importance. Therefore, if you are wearing a smaller checkered shirt, you can opt for a larger, windowpane blazer.
A blazer will always have you looking dapper, especially on a date! Above, a gentlemen is dressed emphatically with a double breasted jacket. Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com
Loafers, brown leather shoes or wingtip brogues will all do the trick with your outfit and have all your bases covered. If you have opted for jeans, a trendy pair of sneakers can also do the trick! The more formal your trousers, the more formal you want your shoes to be, so that it looks like your items have been chosen in accordance with each other.
Tassle Loafers used to great effect on an evening date! Courtesy of www.fashionbuzzy.com
Accessorize your ensemble
Accessories are where you can really bring out your personality, by paying attention to details! Looking to dress super sharp? Why not opt for a skinny silk tie or a knitted tie. Relax the vibe of your ensemble by keeping the top shirt button open, and not fastening the tie knot entirely all the way up, but hovering above the unbuttoned button. Skinny Ties are generally less corporate, show a sense of being well dressed and will allow you to look dapper without looking like you are in a stuffy boardroom!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of beautiful skinny silk ties, please click here.
To view The Dark Knot’s range of skinny silk ties that we specifically recommend for a date, please click here!
The Dark Knot's Fairfield Plaid Pink Skinny Silk Tie used to great effect!
Printed Silk Ties
Another necktie option that is fantastic for dates are novelty printed silk ties with a repeating motif. These beautiful ties feature a small repeating motif related to a theme (animals, lifestyle, sports, music, travel, adventure). These gorgeous neckties, when viewed from afar, are seen as nothing more than a splash of vibrant colors. Upon closer examination, however, they reveal an intricate pattern that is usually a great conversation starter! They can also often be a sneak peek into what the persons hobbies are!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning animal printed silk ties, please click here.
Above and below, The Dark Knot's Animal Print Silk Ties make for perfect date attire!
Looking to add a dash of color to your ensemble? A Pocket Square could be the perfect addition to your first date attire. Whether you are looking to dress super dapper and pair it with your tie, or you are opting to accessorize with just the Pocket Square, this item will definitely inject further character into your ensemble!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of beautiful silk & linen hand made pocket squares with hand rolled contrasting edges, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Baldwin Abstract Grey w/ White & Blue Linen Pocket Square used to great effect.
If a Tie or Pocket Square is not your item of choice, and you are looking to add a unique accessory to your ensemble, why not opt for a Lapel Flowers. These unique accessories can immediately inject an element of flair and style into your ensemble, and show that you care to dress differently from the rest of the crowd. If you feel that wearing a lapel flower is something that could be authentic to your sense of style, these beautiful accessories are the perfect item to spice up your outfit!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of beautiful hand made single tonal, two tonal & three tonal lapel flowers, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Marblehead Cream Lapel Flower is ideal for an evening date!
And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!