Dressing To Impress: Fashion's Impact On Our Love Lives
Dating and dread go hand in hand. Nearly 90% of us experience anxiety before meeting someone for the first time, spending the hours leading up to a date stressing over small details such as “Will they like me?”, “How should I greet them?”, and the big one: “What the heck will I wear?”.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to look immaculate that we spend more time getting ready than we do on the actual date, but do our fashion choices really improve our chances of finding love?
Pure surveyed 2,000 adults on how fashion impacts their dating lives. The results show that while we tend to hold ourselves to high standards, confidence and connection are far more important than the clothes we wear.
- Some 86% of people dress up for a date, but if their outfit doesn’t inspire confidence, many will pass on sex or cancel their plans entirely.
- Yet, research shows that our clothing choices aren’t as important as we might think. Some 93% of people say they can still find someone sexy regardless of their outfit, while 65% have never bailed on sex because they found their partner’s underwear choice “unattractive”.
- However, there are some fashion faux pas best avoided if you want a successful dating life, with too much makeup; Crocs, Uggs, and Birkenstocks; and sparkly outfits voted among the worst fashion choices.
The dating dress code: Is fashion dictating our love lives?
When meeting a match, we’re often so desperate to make a good first impression that 86% of us will dress up for the occasion. But it isn’t so much what we wear; It’s the self-assurance that comes with a flattering outfit — If you look good, you’ll feel good, and this confidence is what really catches your date’s eye.
We’ve all suffered with the last minute realisation that we have nothing to wear. Stores are shut and there’s less than an hour before your reservation, so you have to work with what you have. But if the outfit doesn’t quite meet your high expectations? Time to cancel. Some 36% of singletons have bailed on a date because they couldn’t find anything sexy to wear.
And it isn’t just visible clothing that can bring a date to an early end — For 30% of people, unsexy underwear earns a hard pass too. Some 22% have backed out on sex because their underwear wouldn’t set the right mood, while 8% regularly find that a lack of sexy lingerie is letting the side down.
For women, in particular, underwear can be a huge cockblock. Having opted for comfy granny panties over something more provocative, some 39% of women have avoided sex in the past due to their choice of underwear, compared to just 22% of men.
Chemistry over clothing: Do our dating fashion choices really matter?
Who cares how your underwear looks if they’ll be flung across the bedroom before your date even notices? The reality is, we’re our own worst critics. While we may deny ourselves a fling because of our fashion choices, 85% of people have never avoided sex because they found their partner’s underwear unattractive.
Some 47% of people do believe that style makes a difference, but your fashion choices alone are unlikely to cause your date to flee out the back door. In fact, 93% of people insist they can still find a person sexy regardless of what they’re wearing.
So is your dress sense a dealbreaker or not? Well, that could depend on the gender of the person you’re dating — While more than half of men don’t think outfit choices make all that much difference, 63% of women feel a good fashion sense is a vital component of a good partner.
In fact, 63% of women would prefer to date someone with a good sense of style and average appearance… So if you’re not having much luck with the ladies, perhaps it’s time to hit the stores and freshen up your look.
Dating disasters: Fashion trends that will earn you a hard pass
Dating makes us uncomfortable, so it can be tempting to hide behind a face full of foundation, powder, and blush. But covering up too much won’t earn you a call back. In fact, heavy makeup (49%) and heavy contouring (29%) both rank among the top three beauty faux pas for women. You’re beautiful, so stop trying to hide it and let your date enjoy the real you.
The choice is yours: comfy shoes or sex? Some 20% of people say Uggs, Crocs, and Birkenstocks aren’t sexy, so they’re best left at home if you’re hoping to get lucky.
The same goes for see-through clothing — You want to leave some things to the imagination until you get back to their apartment.
Today, approximately 5% to 10% of men in the United States and Europe wear makeup. It’s 2023 and the world is far less closed-minded than it once was — but many singletons aren’t yet open to the idea. So before you leave, reach for the makeup remover and, while you’re at it, give that rattail the chop too.
For the most part, your fashion sense won’t stand in the way of finding the perfect partner, but if you’re after a quick fling, you need to choose your clothes wisely if you want someone else to take them off for you tonight. Avoid sparkly outfits, strip off those slim fit jeans (It’ll take a while, we know), and ditch the Crocs too or you’ll be heading home alone.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Style and sexiness are highly subjective, so don’t try to be someone you’re not. What really matters is that you find a match who appreciates your style and finds you attractive.
Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Pure surveyed 2,000 adults aged over 18 years old, with no focus on particular genders, geographies, ethnicities, sexualities or social backgrounds.