When preparing for a first date, one of the biggest questions a guy may have is “Can I wear jeans?” Jeans are a staple wardrobe item for many men and can feel like a comfortable and familiar option. However, are jeans too casual for a first date? The answer depends on several factors.
In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide a quick overview of the pros and cons of wearing jeans on a first date and things to consider. Then, we’ll dive deeper into an in-depth discussion to help guys decide if jeans are date-worthy attire.
Quick Pros and Cons of Wearing Jeans on a First Date
Here is a brief rundown of some potential pros and cons of wearing jeans on a first date:
- Jeans are casual, comfortable, and familiar
- Allow you to be yourself and feel confident
- Appropriate for casual date activities like movies or mini golf
- May seem too casual depending on date plans
- Don’t allow you to showcase your style or dress up
- Harder to make a strong first impression
As you can see, jeans can be a perfectly acceptable option in some dating scenarios and for certain types of guys. However, they do carry some risks in terms of appearing too relaxed or informal. Consider the date location and activity when deciding.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outfit
The most important factors to weigh when deciding if jeans are first date appropriate attire include:
- Where is the date taking place? Upscale restaurant vs casual coffee shop
- What activity is planned? Fine dining vs mini golf
- How dressed up is your date likely to be? Cocktail dress vs jeans and t-shirt
- What impression do you want to make? Polished vs casual
- What style and fit do you feel best in? Baggy vs tailored
Considering these factors will help guide your outfit choice. If you want to make a sharp first impression, are going somewhere elegant, or your date will likely dress up, steer clear of jeans. However, for a more laid-back scenario, dark fitted jeans can work just fine.
Types of Jeans to Evaluate
If you decide jeans may be suitable, keep in mind that not all denim is created equal. Certain styles and fits will be more date-worthy than others. Here are some types of jeans to consider:
Dark Wash Jeans
Dark indigo or black jeans appear dressier and sharper than light washes. A solid dark pair can potentially work for a casual dinner date. Stick to solid colors and avoid distressing or large fading.
A tailored fit flatters the body better than baggy. Make sure jeans aren’t too tight and allow you to move comfortably. A modern slim or straight leg pair looks more polished.
Jeans with strategic rips, holes, fraying, and fading read as ultra casual. Opt for a clean, crisp pair without distressing or whiskering for date night. Save destroyed denim for hanging with friends.
Higher Rise Jeans
A medium to high rise flatters most body types better than a low rise jean. Stay clear of anything sagging too low on your hips for a neater appearance.
Top Date Ideas Where Jeans May Work
Assuming you select an appropriate pair, here are some first date ideas where darker fitted jeans could potentially work:
- Casual lunch or coffee date
- Afternoon museum or art gallery visit
- Low-key bar for drinks and appetizers
- Movie theater screening
- Mini golf or bowling
- County fair or festival
- Arcade or amusement park
For daytime dates or activities requiring a lot of movement, jeans offer flexibility. Just dress them up a bit with shoes and a blazer.
Date Ideas Where Jeans Are Too Casual
On the flip side, here are some first date scenarios where men should opt for a more elevated look:
- Multi-course dinner at a nice restaurant
- Theater performance
- Concert or comedy show
- Museum gala or art event
- Trivia or game night at upscale lounge
- Dancing at a popular club
- Athletic event in luxury box seats
Anywhere with a formal dress code or that’s considered a “special occasion” venue calls for more tailored trousers or chinos. Save jeans for date two or three.
Dressing Up Jeans for a Date
If you decide jeans are the way to go, you can dress them up so they seem a bit sharper. Some tips:
- Add a blazer or nice sport coat on top for a polished look.
- Wear a button-down collared shirt rather than a t-shirt.
- Swap sneakers or flip flops for leather shoes, loafers, or nice boots.
- Sprritz on cologne or body spray to smell amazing.
- Style your hair and trim up facial hair for groomed flair.
- Put on a stylish watch and interesting accessories like a bracelet or necklace.
Well-fitting crisp dark jeans paired with dressier pieces like a sport coat, leather shoes, and button-down creates a more refined yet still accessible look perfect for a casual date.
When Jeans Definitely Don’t Work
Here are a few absolute no-go scenarios where you should never reach for the denim:
- Meeting your date at a 5-star luxury restaurant
- If you know your date will wear a cocktail dress
- Attending the theater for opening night
- Going to an upscale bar or nightclub with a strict dress code
- If jeans make you feel sloppy and underdressed
Any time the venue, your date’s attire, or the event formality implicitly call for elevated attire, jeans do not work. Change into chinos or dress pants.
Poll Data on Wearing Jeans for a First Date
According to polls, both men and women have mixed feelings about wearing denim for a first meetup. Some key survey data points:
|Hinge 2019||– 69% of users said jeans are never appropriate on a first date|
|YouGov 2016||– 57% of women said they judge dates negatively for wearing jeans|
|Match 2013||– 83% of women prefer men wear something other than jeans on a first date|
|Esquire 2012||– 63% of men said they would wear jeans on a casual first date|
The data shows jeans are controversial but men are still inclined to wear them, especially if the date activity is laid-back. Women appear to have a stronger negative reaction.
Expert Dating Advice About Jeans
Most mainstream dating experts and style consultants advise against wearing denim for first meetings if you want to impress your date and look sharp. Some wisdom:
- “Swap your everyday jeans for pants or chinos that feel special.” – Erika Ettin, dating coach
- “Leave the torn, tattered denim at home if you want a second date.” – Damona Hoffman, dating expert
- “Jeans can appear sloppy. Opt for fitted trousers that highlight your assets.” – Lori Gorshow, stylist
- “Denim doesn’t usually make the best impression unless you’re going bowling or to a movie.” – Andrea McGinty, matchmaker
The main takeaway is jeans are not viewed as date-worthy by most experts, unless the venue is uber casual. You’ll boost your odds if you wear non-denim pants.
Asking Your Date About Jeans
If you’re really unsure, simply ask your date ahead of time how they feel about jeans for your planned activity. Check if they’ll also be in jeans and casual attire. Open communication removes any second-guessing.
A quick text like “Hey, would jeans be cool for mini golf this weekend or should I dress up a bit more?” shows consideration. Just don’t ask at the last minute. Give your date time to respond so you can plan your outfit.
At the end of the day, jeans aren’t completely forbidden on first dates. The key is wearing the right style and pair for the occasion. Clean, fitted, dark wash denim with dressier pieces on top can certainly work for casual daytime activities where comfort is key. However, for nighttime events, upscale venues, and making an impressive first impression, opt for non-denim pants to be safe. Use your best judgment based on the date details and venue. With the right approach, you can pull off jeans on a first date with style and confidence.