We’re all being constantly told not to judge a book by it’s cover.
And yet, deep down, most of us know if we fancy someone within a few minutes. It’s not just looks – it’s the way he carries himself, his voice, his mannerisms, and his manners. Chemistry can’t be identified just from photos, or even from conversing before the date – it’s only palpable and real when you’re face to face. My dealings with The Skype Date made me realise that even being virtually face-to-face is no substitute for the real thing. But the reality of dating is the looks do play a big part – because there’s nothing better than dating someone whose clothes you can’t wait to rip off!
The thing about looks is it’s genuinely quite hard to work out what it is that makes someone attractive to you. For all the ticklists, on all the dating websites, I challenge anyone to pinpoint a formula which could be applied to any man’s face. I can flick through Tinder in milliseconds, and tell you whether I find a face attractive or not … and yet if you were to ask me the qualities which make one man’s face attractive to me, and another man’s not attractive, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Very few people are as shallow as ‘only fancying blondes’ or ‘fancying all brunettes.’
But there IS one element of the ‘book cover’ which is easier to describe.
And that’s the way we package ourselves in clothing!
When I flick through Tinder photos, I KNOW I look at more than the guy’s face. I’m swiping left or right to a lot of different information. I’m looking at the guy’s hair, the clothes he’s wearing, where the picture was taken, how the picture was taken, and anyone else in the photo. In the absence of his voice, character, and any information about him, I’ll make assumptions about his social standing, his background and his personality, based on what I can see in the photo.
And I know I’m not the only one who does that – which means clothing is actually a really important feature of dating.
The thing is, dating and being single isn’t just reserved for Tinder. As a single person, you could meet the man or woman of your dreams at any point in your day. Don’t pretend you don’t sit on the Tube and play a mental game of Tinder with fellow passengers!
In the same way that you look at people on Tinder and make assumptions, we all look at people throughout the day, and jump to conclusions based on where they are, what they’re doing, and what they’re wearing.
Which is why I find ‘fashion’ so interesting.
I’ve never subscribed much to fashions. As someone who always felt large compared to my petite, waif-like friends, I always opted for clothes which flattered me … or more realistically disguised me, as opposed to religiously following trends.
Even now, as a more confident adult, I have a carefully chosen wardrobe to highlight the parts of my body which I see as assets, and disguise the parts I’d rather keep tucked away. And yet in spite of avoiding mainstream fashion trends, there are definitely looks which I find attractive. Messages I’m happy to give about myself to the casual passer by.
Don’t be misled – if you ever spot me on the Tube, I’ll have probably left the house without any make-up on, or with my glasses on and long hair pulled back in a functional bun. But for the most part, my wardrobe a comfortable selection of pretty things which I find appealing on the eye, and which I think flatter my figure.
I’ve joked before that I have a dating uniform – but I think most of us do. Not just for dating, but for life. A selection of clothes which tell a great deal about our personalities. My selection of high necked, fifties style dresses, covered in florals or polkadots, and worn with colourful blazers, tell a story. As does the long cut of my hair, and the expensive highlights I spend my money on. I think together they tell you that I’m feminine, but that I’m also quite fun. That I’m relatively formal, and not overly fashionable or ‘cool’. My wardrobe of ballet pumps are functional – I’m a tall girl – but they’re also a very middle-class accessory. And my jewellery, watch and choices of handbag will tell you something about my salary, and the things I value as important.
Whether wittingly or not, our clothing is our social packaging. Something which people will make assumptions from, whether on Tinder, or just in the real world. Which is why, in spite of having a regular First Date Fashion slot on the blog, I would always suggest only ever wearing clothes you like. Clothes that are YOU.
Whilst I couldn’t describe to you the face of my ideal man … I could describe his wardrobe. My ideal guy wears faded jeans, blue and white check dress shirts, and cashmere jumpers. He wears polo shirts, navy blazers, and owns Hunter wellies and a tweed blazer. My ideal guy wears brown loafers, but no beige chinos. And he wouldn’t be caught dead in a pink shirt! But he’s not always formal, and he wouldn’t have an issue leaving the house in sports gear, or wellies.
I could describe the features of my ideal man’s wardrobe for hours! I know the character traits which accompany the particular wardrobe items, and the reasons I find them attractive. However, I couldn’t begin to describe the features of an attractive man’s face to you. Because whilst I know them when I see them, very few will be linked to aspects of his personality, in the same way that his wardrobe is.
So no … you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. But you can by the checking out the writing on the back … and often a person’s wardrobe can give you a reasonable synopsis of the person beneath the clothes! So make sure the impression you’re giving yourself is an accurate one.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx