What should you wear when you’re trying to meet a potential partner online? As far as I can tell, there’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to clothes for your dating app profile pics. But what I do know is that if you want people to find you attractive, or at least not repulsive, then a little thought will go a long way toward making sure they hit the right buttons with their eyes—and later, their hearts!
I’ve put together some tips for dressing for success on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc. In a nutshell: think sexy and classy. Whether you’re hoping for a hookup, a date, or just someone to hang out with, these are general guidelines that will help you look good enough to be worth messaging back!
If you don’t have anything fancy lying around the house, but still want to look cute, your best bet is to pick something you already own but haven’t worn in ages, like a cardigan. It looks great over a t-shirt and jeans combo, which is exactly how I’d style it! If you’re taking profile pictures for a more hookup orientated app like CrushNearby, then this is the route I’d take. If you do decide to buy a new outfit, try to make sure it’s something you’ll actually feel comfortable wearing on a first date, rather than a super short skirt or something else that’s bound to give you second thoughts.
For a night out on the town, you might consider going for something a little more formal than a casual dress. Pick something that makes you happy to look at and feels like a natural fit for the occasion you’re attending. For example, if you’re going to a cocktail party, you could probably get away with wearing a black knee-length dress with a matching jacket and heels. But if you’re headed to a dinner date, I’d suggest picking something a bit more low key. A light blue or green dress might work well, depending on how much of your skin you want showing.
The Casual vs. Dressy Dilemma
You may be wondering why I’m recommending such different outfits for each situation. The reason is simple: while a casual dress can help you seem less intimidating and more approachable, it also means you’re giving off a vibe that says, “I don’t need to impress anyone!” Whereas a dressier outfit sends the message of, “I’ve got this.”
This isn’t necessarily bad—it’s all about personal preference, after all—but I know myself, and I’m definitely not the type to seek out someone who seems intimidated by me. So if I were meeting someone online, I wouldn’t wear the most casual thing I own. Instead, I’d opt for something that gives the impression that I was confident about my appearance and therefore, am confident in other areas of my life, too.
No matter which outfit you choose, remember to keep things classy. You don’t need to wear heels every time you leave the house, but you should always make an effort to look presentable—even if you don’t plan on leaving the house! And don’t forget to pick up some accessories to complete your look. Makeup is optional, but even without makeup, you can add a little extra flair to your outfit with a nice necklace, earrings, or bracelet. If you’re feeling crafty, you could even try your hand at making some yourself!
When it comes to formal dates like first dates and dinners with boyfriends and girlfriends, there are few rules when it comes to dressing for success (well, besides looking good!). A suit is never out of place for such occasions, though I’d avoid wearing one on a first date. There’s no point in wasting precious hours of your time trying to figure out how long that zipper’s been sticking on the left side of the pants. It’s better to save that kind of discussion for a more appropriate setting.
The same goes for really fancy restaurants, where you’re likely going to have to pay attention to what everyone else around you is doing as well—and being able to talk about something more interesting than whether you can see the waitress’ bra straps under her shirt will probably make any date you go on feel less awkward.
In general, I recommend choosing something that feels right for the occasion, rather than something you think would be super cute and fun to wear every day. For example, if you were heading out to dinner, then I’d say to wear something that flatters you and shows off your figure while still keeping up appearances.
This might mean picking a skirt or dress instead of jeans, but also not going too short! Or maybe just don’t wear anything too tight or low-cut—if you do decide to show a bit of skin, consider making sure everything is covered by either a jacket or a cardigan! Just don’t ever forget: sexiness always comes from confidence.
Dating App Clothes Tips
If you’ve decided that casual outfits aren’t going to cut it for those Tinder dates that turn into second dates, and that dressing up isn’t always in your cards, there are some tricks you can use to give yourself an edge in online dating. Some are easy to implement, others are a little harder, so let’s take a look at them one at a time.
Layering Is Key
A great trick is layering different pieces of clothing together with other colors underneath. A black dress layered with a bright red t-shirt makes for one very eye-catching combination, as does wearing a navy blazer over a white tee. Even a plain white top with colorful bottoms will get noticed. It’ll add variety to your wardrobe without taking away the chance for you to stand out!
Wear Colors That Make You Feel Good
If you’re feeling nervous about meeting someone you met on a dating app, you’re likely going to want to avoid putting on clothes that make you feel like you’re going on another date all over again. Instead, try to find something that makes you happy when you see yourself in the mirror and puts you in a good mood.
I know this sounds kind of silly (who doesn’t love seeing themselves looking amazing?), but I’m talking about something deeper than that here. What I mean by “feeling good” is whether your outfit helps you connect with your inner self. For example, if you can’t help but smile when you put on a new dress because it reminds you of how much fun you had at prom, then go ahead! But if it’s more of an accessory than anything else, then hold off until you need it—unless you just really love it and are excited to wear it!
Your dating profile photos might seem small, but they actually play an important role in getting potential partners to message you first and become your dates. Remember: if you show too much skin in your pictures, you run the risk of coming across as desperate. If you show too little skin, however, people will think you’re hiding something. So choose outfits for each occasion that convey the right message for what you’re hoping for!