1 of 12 Corbis
How many times have you second guessed an outfit before you stepped out the door for a hot date? Ever lost sleep wondering what to wear to meet a former sweetie’s mother? Well, fret no more. ESSENCE.com has you covered with the ultimate “Love Lookbook” that answers all those questions and more.
We checked in with New York based fashion stylist Dorcia Kelley who has transformed the looks of notable ladies like top model Arlenis Sosa and philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock for an expert opinion on this topic. We also had top blogger Anslem Samuel of Naked With Socks On to add his two cents for a fresh male perspective.
2 of 12 shopstyle.com
“Get womanly on your first date. Too many women wear jeans on dates. Select something chic; nothing too sexy,” shares Kelley. She adds, “You don’t want to give too much away. You also don’t want to intimidate the guy or appear too high maintenance.”
Consider a chic basic like this cashmere-blend tank dress from Donna Karan, shopstyle.com.
3 of 12 victoriassecret.com
Fall is at our doorstep and that means it is officially “booed up” season. Throw those holey sweats you’ve had since college away and pick up a comfy cute pair for brisk Sunday afternoons at home with honey. Victoria’s Secret has the right idea with these lounge pants, victoriassecret.com.
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When a guy decides to introduce you to his “boys,” things are about to get serious. While you want to ensure he understands this, Kelly warns that you should also play it cool.
“Try a boho look; nothing too fitting. Don’t wear anything revealing around his friends since you want to make a good impression,” Kelley says.
This plush cotton-blend cardigan from Revolve Clothing, revolveclothing.com is a good option.
5 of 12 shopstyle.com
Kelley warns, “You don’t want to get too sexy in front of his mama, honey!” She suggests wearing something “Michelle Obama inspired” like a simple shift dress or a pencil skirt and a cardigan. This Diane von Furstenberg ‘Konya’ silk jersey wrap dress, shopstyle.com is an excellent option for the first time you meet his mom and dad. It’s a classic piece too so you’re sure to have it for years to come.
6 of 12 agentprovocateur.com
Ladies, many of us stop wearing our best lingerie once we think we’ve “hooked” the man. Kelley thinks this is a big mistake.
“Always wear nice lingerie. It makes women feel better about themselves even if they’re wearing a sweatsuit,” explains Kelley.
We like this number Agent Provocateur lace bra, agentprovocateur.com.
7 of 12 kennethcole.com
Samuel who often blogs about love and relationships thinks “woman strut differently when they’re wearing heels.” He adds, “There is even something sexy about the ‘clicking’ noise they make.”
Get to clicking with these sexy boots from Kenneth Cole, kennethcole.com. This style has a 3-inch heel and is appropriately called “Dream Date.”
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Your sweetie has to attend an important black tie event with his clients and has asked you to accompany him. Keep your ensemble simple and sophisticated in a dress like this Rachel Pally ‘Aphrodite’ one shoulder frock in stretch jersey, nordstrom.com
9 of 12 net-a-porter.com
You and your beau have decided to take a romantic holiday and you’re confused about what to pack. “Stay away from wack sneakers, fanny packs and matching short sets,” says Kelley with a laugh. “You want to be cute and girly so caftans and pretty summer dresses are nice for a tropical destination.” Kelley also thinks that at this stage of the relationship you can pick him up an item or two as well. “Many women just worry about themselves when it comes to clothes. Look out for him too when you’re shopping,” advises Kelley.
Pack a powerful punch of color into your vacay look with this T-Bags kaleidoscopic print jersey maxi dress, net-a-porter.com.
10 of 12 shopgoldyn.com
Going to the spot next weekend with your girls and hoping to leave with a number or two? Kelley says, “This is the time to wear jeans. Too many women overdue it at the club. Pair them with a trendy top and heels. You don’t want to look like you tried too hard.”
Stand out in the crowd wearing these Hollywould Allegra high-wasited jeans, shopgoldyn.com.
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Forget what you might have heard about Black men not checking for a woman without a relaxer or weave. Always remember to stay true to who you are whether you’re single or not.
“Natural hair is my weakness — locks, twists, afros…I love them all,” admits Samuel. “I also appreciate a woman with a short cut. There is a certain confidence that she evokes,” he adds.
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Whether your last date was years ago or you’re madly in love, self-image is always important. Your appearance in or out of love will often influence other areas of your life like your career. Remember confidence (whether that means being dressed to the nines or laidback cool) always equals sexy.
By: Bridgette Bartlett
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