what to wear on a date

You have your fail safe dating outfit – you know the one I mean, the Little Black Dress and semi-comfy heels for the ladies, the smart dark shirt and leather loafers for the guys.


However, when the temperature outside is rising at an unprecedented rate, what on earth do you wear in order to still be comfortable, cool and chic – without turning into a sweaty, red-faced, parched fish out of water?


Well, I have some answers for you. None of these outfits should require more effort than you would be putting into a date outfit anyway – some may even require less. They will all keep you cool, calm and collected, ready to meet your date in style and go forth to have a fantastic time. Let it never be said that it was the outfit that ruined the date.





If you find yourself invited to attend a formal event on the arm of a suave gentleman, first things first – Google the event and find out the exact dress code. You laugh, but people have been shunned at excessively formal events for nothing more than wearing the wrong colour, the thickness of their straps or the angle of their headgear. I don’t say this to scare you – just to warn you that knowing exactly what you are preparing for is the key to success.

After you know the etiquette of strapless vs. plunge, coloured nail polish vs. nude and heels vs. wedges (never attend an open air event on grass in heels!), you will be better equipped to put together your outfit.

  • Stick to classic lines that you know suit your shape. A 50’s style dress is usually a winner, flattering everybody and helping to keep you cool due to the voluminous skirts.
  • Wear appropriately coloured underwear in your size – sounds obvious, but many ladies persist in wearing black thongs a size too small under their floaty Summer dress and heads up; we can all see way more than we ever wanted to.
  • Choose light, Summer colours and fabrics. Berry velvet is stunning in Winter, sweltering in Summer. Raspberry pink silk chiffon however, keeps you cool and suits the season.
What to wear on a hot date in the Summer? This formal cocktail dress!

After Work

Possibly the trickiest of all dressing situations – you have to somehow seamlessly mesh demure, hardworking, empowered women with flirty, fun-loving empowered women. Not to mention you still have to look good at a time you would usually be stripping off your work day clothes and slipping into some fresh and more relaxed.

The key with this one is preparation. Know how you are getting from work to your date, where it is and how to find it. Sort out your transportation tickets, or where you’re going to park beforehand. With all of the important stuff behind you, you can take that little bit of extra time to freshen yourself up.

  • Your hair is the easiest way to move from day to night. Pack some travel-sized hair products in your bag and remove yourself to the ladies bathroom once you’re done for the day. Wear your hair in a bun for work, then shake it loose, add dry shampoo and hairspray to voluminise and add shine.
  • Change your top and shoes. Ditch the smart shirt and blazer from your skirt suit and add a silk camisole or simple tee shirt and tuck it into your skirt waistband. Pop out of your courts and into some sexy coloured slingbacks or comfy leather wedges.
  • Touch up your make-up, with a little accentuation on either your lips or your eyes for the evening ahead. Re-fresh your perfume, brush your teeth and wash your hands. You are good to go!

What to wear on a hot date after work? A sophisticated coloured lace top! Casual

The temptation to wear shorts, flip flops and a vest top can be overwhelming – as can the temptation to just not move at all when it’s hot outside. However, it’s still a date, you want to look like you have made some effort! Decide what you’ll be doing on the date – whether going for a stroll, grabbing some croissants to eat in the park or heading to the beach for ice cream and paddling. Use that to theme your outfit and take all the stress out of deciding what to wear.

  • Keep your hair up off your neck with a sleek, stylish ponytail or messy ballerina bun. Use headscarves and hats to keep your head protected from a day out in the sunshine, as well as add a finishing touch to your look.
  • Feel free to wear a supportive bikini under your outfit to be ready in case you go for a dip in the sea and to avoid bra straps popping out from under your carefully chosen racer back vest top.
  • Wear proper sandals, with painted toenails instead of battered old flip flops and dress up your trusty vest-and-shorts combo with a lightweight cardigan in a bright colour or ditch it entirely and choose a pretty Summer dress for your date.
What to wear on a casual hot date? A cute cotton sundress!




Ah no! The dreaded suit and tie situation. Well, as with the ladies, its a good idea to do a little bit of prep work before sorting your outfit for your date – no point pulling out the trusty black suit if the occasion you’ll be attending has a ‘Summerweight light grey morning suit only’ policy. Consider hiring the appropriate suit if it is unlikely you’ll need to use it again, or ask around your friends to see if one of them could lend you the right style. Don’t cut corners – if the dress code says ‘morning suit’, don’t turn up in tails.

  • Fabric is your friend here – choose a suit made of a cotton and silk mix. Linen creases like there is no tomorrow (and no one wants to be ironing in the heat!) and man-made fibres will have you sweating buckets, as will Winter weight wool and tweed numbers.
  • Choose a light colour if possible – if not for your actual suit, then for your shirt, with a brighter accent colour on your tie. Soft grey and yellow work well, as do white and pale green.
  • Never underestimate the power of your feet to make your entire day uncomfortable if they are not properly taken care of. Slip on thin silk knit socks for the occasion, or if you know your shoes are comfortable, go sockless. Don’t feel ashamed to carry blister plasters, just in case.

What to wear on a formal hot date? A light grey summer suit!


After Work

This can be pretty easy for guys. Feel free to play around with colours and fabrics, but the classic cuts usually favoured for work attire will take you almost anywhere.

  • If you work in a formal environment, switch your shirt over for a fresh one, ditch your tie and leave the collar and top button undone.
  • If your office is a casual affair, switch out your shorts for some proper trousers and shoes and consider changing your tee shirt if its been sweltering that day.
  • Wash your face with cool water and gently dry your skin with a handtowel. Freshen up with some cologne, brush your teeth, wash your hands and you’ll feel much better.

What to wear for an after work hot date? Ditch the tie!


As with the ladies, determine where you are going for your date. You’ll want to be prepared at a moments notice to deal with possible situations, from a dip in the local pool, to a picnic under the trees in the park.

  • Proper shoes are required wearing in almost any restaurant, cafe or venue. Ignore your flip flops and wear loafers, boat shoes, even TOMS are better than the usual thonged sandal.
  • A brightly coloured tee shirt is always a good choice in the heat, but be wary of any with potentially offensive slogans – better to keep those for guys night, huh? Otherwise, casual cotton shirts can have their sleeves rolled up and the top buttons undone to keep you cool in more ways than one.
  • If you’re going with shorts instead of trousers, keep them board-short style, in a darker fabric. No jean shorts, hawaii print shorts or, god forbid, short shorts allowed. Ever.
What to wear on a hot casual first date? Jeans and a shirt!


Dating at breakfast time - what to wear?

‘Fancy a Bagel?’ Breakfast Date


If you’re off to breakfast together, make an effort. To be fair, this goes for every date, but the last thing you want is for her to start her day staring across the table at a bleary eyed, hair-mussed, scraggly shaved example of manhood. Go to bed early, get up on time, shower! Dress in lighter colours but stick to smart silhouettes – ironed trousers, soft shirt, layering jumper. Come prepared to discuss the day ahead.


Obviously, you have to dress for the day in front of you but stick in something special to give a nod to the fact you’re meeting a date first. Make sure you give yourself time in the morning do do your hair and make-up to your satisfaction and wear softer colours than you would in the evening. A white shirt and colourful silk scarf is a fail safe option every women can pull out of the wardrobe to look classy and pulled together early in the morning.


Take a date to lunch to get to know them better


‘Let’s do Lunch’ Date


It’s lunchtime, your morning passed in a blur, you feel run ragged already. Head to the bathroom! Splash some cold water on your face and wrists, re-apply deodorant and re-style your hair if necessary. If you were super prepared, slip on the spare shirt you brought with you and be fresh as a daisy when you walk into the lunch date. Smart shoes are a must, unless you’re doing street vendor food, in which case have a back-up plan for where to sit if it rains.


Your head is still concentrating on the details for that afternoon meeting and your nervous hair twirling has caused a frizz situation. To the ladies room! A wash of the hands, a spritz of perfume and a bouff up of the hair under the blowdryer serves to have you ready to charm and chat all through lunch. Take a smaller bag with you to keep your focus on your date and not your iphone. Slip a cosy cardigan on to break down the ‘I’m at work’ barriers and help you relax over lunchtime.


What to wear to the date you know is breaking up with you


‘We Need to Talk’ Break-up Date


If you are about to ditch someone, tone down your look. Dress in sombre colours and at least look like you spent the last few nights in anguish over your decision. If you think you are about to be subjected to the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ line yourself, dress like you own your own very successful company, have legions of adoring fans awaiting you around every corner and have only to buy a new deodorant to have women swarming all over you. Think smart shoes, fresh haircut, dab of fresh cologne. You’ve already moved on, baby.


If you are about to commence break-up speech number two with your unfortunate date, have the decency to look average, or better, plain. Dark colours, nothing fancy with your hair or make-up, simple clothes. No need to twist the dagger, as it were. However, if you suspect you’re about to get dumped, look fabulous. Accentuate your figure, get a blow dry, wear your favorite lipstick and don some sexy (but walkable) heels. Accept the dumping with a glossy smile, then sashay out of there like you’re off to meet the President for drinks.


What to wear for your engagement


‘Will you Marry Me’ Date


If you’re getting down on one knee, start off with a good quality, dark trouser – no need to have dirt decorating your knees for the rest of the day, especially as you’re likely to be either wining and dining your new fiancee or else drowning your sorrows in the pub with your mates. Depending on how you plan to pop the question, add a suitable top half of the outfit (polo shirt if active, ironed shirt if dressed up and tee shirt…no, never a tee shirt. Make some effort, please). Make sure you have a jacket with a secure inner pocket, natch.


If you’re the one trying to make an honest man of him, good for you. See above. If you merely suspect that you are about to be proposed to, put some extra effort in. After all, there will likely be photos and these pictures will stick around for the entire rest of your life, so no pressure. Get your hair done before your date, keep your make-up simple and classic – anything trendy will date so fast and have you hiding those pictures within the year. Dress appropriately for the venue and get a French manicure, you know. Just in case.



More advice on what to wear for a first date

Get some date ideas that nix the classic ‘I have nothing to wear’ wail by their very nature.

Planning your outfit along with your date