Dating can be a tricky business. With so many people looking for a spouse, how can you really stand out to potential suitors? Being a fashion stylist, I understand the importance of image but I was intrigued to evaluate it from a dating perspective. I recently caught up with Lemarc Thomas, Managing Director of Seventy Thirty, to discuss dating clothing etiquette. Seventy Thirty is a matchmaking and introduction agency who pride themselves on being discreet, tasteful and distinct.
What should people wear on a first date?
We all know the importance of the first impression; within seconds our date has formed an opinion. Rather than putting too much unrealistic pressure on yourself to look flawless, choose an outfit that you feel both confident and comfortable in, whilst knowing you've made an effort. You're confident because you look good, dressed appropriately smart for the occasion with good shoes, you have great personal hygiene and your hair looks good. You are comfortable because you have not gone over the top, you're not fidgeting with your outfit and you feel like 'you' - your outfit reflects your personality.
Of course, make sure that you have taken the practicalities into account - such as location, time of day, crowd and activity. Remember, if you want to be taken seriously and are looking for something long-term and committed - don't over-expose yourself: too much too soon in a relationship can create instability and often ends as quickly as it starts. Take a second to appreciate yourself. Faking anything other than your height in those sexy heels you're going to be wearing is pointless so the best advice, as clichéd as it may sound, is: be you, the best version of yourself.
Is image as important as personality? If so, why?
To answer this question, let's think about how a relationship starts. We meet someone whom we are 'attracted' to in some way, we have great chemistry with them, we build a connection, that connection becomes a bond, the chemistry become less explosive and more stable as the bond is cemented. Image plays a very important role in igniting the fire for most, it may not be weighted as important as personality but it is the gateway. We initially assess an image to give us clues into the deeper character and what this person will be like in the long term. Image may also be important in the long term, to keep that flame burning. Our image is a reflection of our personality and values, (amongst other things such as status). A change in our image suggests changes in other factors and could raise alarm in a relationship. Image is very powerful, it should not be confused with "looks"; it's how we present ourselves. We should not compare image against personality, we should combine them because that's sexy! At the same time, don't let your intrinsic be over-shadowed by your extrinsic because nothing is more alluring as a genuinely charming and charismatic character.
How do you use psychology to understand what attracts an individual to another?
Our Matchmakers at Seventy Thirty are experts in the field of Psychology and attraction, we know what makes someone attractive and we understand how we are attracted to one another. The physical elements of attraction are actually only a small part of one's overall attractiveness and, what men find attractive is somewhat different to what women find attractive. In addition to how we present ourselves, much of a gentleman's attractiveness comes from his charisma, confidence, power/ success, charm (and how he makes others feel around him), manners, the way he holds himself, walks, talks... Much of lady's attractiveness comes from her femininity (or feminine power...), her general and emotional intelligence, her positive attitude and warmth.
We are all very different in terms of what we find attractive and often, what we look for physically is a clue to the qualities we seek. Here at Seventy Thirty, we pride ourselves on getting to the core of our Members' needs, wants and desires by actively listening, guiding and coaching them through their journey with us to find their perfect match. We are looking at attraction on a deeper level, being attracted to one's image, personality, characteristics, values and their mind.
How do people go wrong with their image?
By social comparison, we evaluate ourselves based on other similar people around us, this can be an upward or downward comparison. Downward comparison helps us gain self-regard whilst upward comparison reduces self-regard - which we probably do more often to make us strive to be better. When it comes to our image, there is a huge amount of social comparison taking place, otherwise how do we know how to present ourselves appropriately. However, perhaps this system fails sometimes because one can't just copy and replicate what works for another.
Sometimes people get their image wrong because they are trying too hard and attempt to follow what is a-la-mode rather than dressing for their body type and personality - If you are uncomfortable in that dress, you probably look it. It is also true that sometimes, there is disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Some people struggle to put together an outfit, they turn their wardrobe inside out indecisively settling on an outfit they think looks... ok, but actually, not so much. Then again, some people just claim not to care. Not conforming to what's in fashion is a statement of individuality. However, soon the idea of fashionable and not fashionable changes and becomes a trendy movement, such as being 'normcore'.
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