Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dressing for a Semi-Active Date

The title of this entry might be confusing. I'm referring to going on a date where you're involved in a semi-rigorous activity. How do you dress for that—especially if it's your first date and you want to dress to impress? I use myself as an example.

On the day of my first date with Travis (my husband) I had absolutely no idea what to wear. I hadn't even met him before (I was set up with him through my friend, Grace). I knew that he was going to call me soon to tell me what we were doing and I was nervous about what we were going to do. When he called me, he asked if I wanted to go kite flying (it was fall 2009) and then out to dinner. I thought it sounded cute, so of course I said yes. When I hung up and he said that he would be there in a few hours, panic set in. I'm not exaggerating either—A LOT of panic set in. First thing I thought of, "What am I going to wear?!" I was so panicky because I always wear high heels (wedges, stilettos, etc.). But I would look like an idiot if I wore high heels while kite flying. I had done my fair share of kite flying at my elementary school (we had kite day for gym class every year). I knew that not only would I look like an idiot in high heels, but I ran the risk of falling. On a first date. How embarrassing.

I called my friend/little sister, Kristen. She still makes fun of me to this day about that phone call. Looking back on it, I feel like the phone call was just a blur. I remember FREAKING OUT and telling her my dilemma. What color shirt was I going to wear—nothing too dressy since I would be running around with a kite, but not a t-shirt! "But I hate wearing sneakers in public," I said. It's not like I refuse to wear sneakers at all—as girly as I am with my daily fashion, I'm still really into playing sports—I played sports year-round throughout my high school career and started the BYU Field Hockey club until stupid BYUSA kicked us out for being too "dangerous." The point is, I like wearing workout clothes for the specific athletic event/workout. Not out to dinner or on a first date.

I decided to wear a plain white shirt (not a t-shirt) and jeans. Now the trickier part: the shoes. I opted to wear my Pumas, which I think works great for a stylish sneaker, but one that you can still run around in. I hate wearing normal sneakers (like my running Asics shoes) with jeans because I feel like it makes you look like you have dinosaur feet. They make your feet look wide and fat. Anyway, here's a picture (below) of what the Pumas I wore on my first date kind of looked like (the main shoe part was all white with a blue stripe instead of purple). I don't recommend wearing Pumas with skinny jeans, though. They will make your feet look like submarines. No joke. Shoes like this that make your feet look longer (including Vans) are best worn with a flared jean. So I wore flared jeans. This still didn't prevent me from feeling self-conscious about dressing so "casual" on the date, but I didn't fall when we flew kites and Travis wanted to go on a second date.

Just when I thought, "Yes! I can wear clothes I'm more comfortable with for my second date," my joyous thoughts were soon dampened. Travis suggested we go play broomball at Seven Peaks Ice Rink. I love playing sports, but I thought, "Great! Is he ever going to see me dressed cute?" I called Kristen, yet again, panicking about what to wear. Call me a nerd, but I googled "broomball" to see what people wore when they played. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to be in full workout garb or if I could get away with a comfortable pair of old jeans and a sweatshirt. Kristen told me that I could just wear jeans and a sweatshirt and be fine. Broomball is played on ice, but you wear sneakers, not skates. If I wore my Pumas I would be falling on my butt every ten seconds—they don't have very good traction. So I had to wear my Asics and look like I had dinosaur feet. To fix this, however, I wore a jean with a wider flare to cover up the wideness of the sneaker. Dinosaur feet hidden.

Next problem: what was I going to do with my hair? I hate wearing my hair up, but if I was going to be running around (quite a bit more than kite flying), then I wouldn't want my hair in my face. Genius that Kristen is, she suggested putting my hair half up (why didn't I think of that?!). The date went well and I came home and looked in the mirror and my hair held well, and I actually thought I wasn't looking too bad. As you know, this is all so silly looking back on it, because I ended up marrying Travis. I could tell you that it's because I strategically didn't wear my Pumas with skinny jeans (and thus avoiding submarine feet), but I can't say that's true. It could have helped. . . . maybe.

After that long story, here are some tips that I gathered from that experience for dressing for a semi-active date:
  1. If you still want to wear cute footwear on your date, opt for a "stylish" sneaker (like Pumas) or wear a cute, basic flat with a nice, strong sole. Aerosoles flats always have strong soles (with good traction too!). It all really depends on how active your activity is. They are almost always selling Aerosoles flats at TJ Maxx.
  2. Don't wear shoes that generally make your feet appear "longer" (Vans, Pumas, etc.) with skinny jeans. Your feet will look like submarines. Opt for a flared jean instead.
  3. Avoid wearing active sneakers (like cross-trainers) with jeans—especially skinny jeans. Your feet will look like dinosaur feet. If you must wear them, opt for a bigger flared jean.
  4. As far as tops go, wear a top that isn't too fancy (it could hinder your movement), but is basic instead. Don't wear a t-shirt (such as a BYU Athletics t-shirt you would wear to the gym). It looks sloppy and you still want to look nice on your date.
  5. If you're worried about how to wear your hair and hate wearing it all the way up (and you're going to be running around quite a bit), wear it half-up. If you feel comfortable wearing your hair up (unlike me) then wear it all up.
These aerosoles (available here) come in a wide variety of colors. They're not too fancy, but are still really cute!

If you've been dating this guy for a while, it shouldn't matter as much because chances are he's seen you in workout clothes or when you have dressed down. Those first few dates are especially important because you're establishing some first impressions. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't act like yourself, but that you don't look sloppy or like you don't care.

Next post, I have some photos of fashion no-nos that were submitted! Be excited.


  1. Dude I don't even remember those things I said. I just remember how hilarious/ridiculous you sounded.

  2. I love the dinosaur feet comment. So you. Also, still really excited to go shopping with you!