Of course you want to impress them, but it’s also important to let your real personality shine. But “just be yourself” only goes so far as advice in these situations. Elaine Turner, a Houston-based designer who also runs a styling program in 20 states, emphasized that “what you wear is another form of communication. It’s your visual language to the world.”
Don’t be controversial
Another thing to keep in mind is how you deal with exposing any tattoos you may have, which can also be controversial. Fashion expert Kari Cruz acknowledged that if your tattoos have a lot of personal significance to you, it can actually be a connecting point with the parents and a way to share some of your personality. “But,” she warned, “if the parents aren’t as progressive, [tattoos] tend to be received in an overwhelming fashion. Wear long sleeves for the first meeting and give them a chance to learn about your personality directly, versus reading bits of it off of your body.”
Never bring a skirt to a soccer game
Cruz pointed out that dressing appropriately for the occasion and location is important. “If you’re going to a midday brunch and you aren’t sure just how dressy the crowd will be, avoid that backless dress,” she suggested. She added, “If it’s a night on the town or a festive occasion then you’ll surely want to dress the part.” But she warned, “Avoid going overly sexy!”
Even if things are going to be very casual, there are still things Cruz recommends you avoid. “Go for pieces that aren’t flashy yet clue the parents into your sense of style,” she said. “Just keep it pulled together to show an awareness of how you care after yourself. No exposed bra straps, stained clothing, crop tops, chipped nails, tattered jeans, or scuffed boots — these visual cues may be perceived as being ‘careless,’ ‘sloppy,’ or ‘irresponsible.'”
Color says more than you realize
No neutrals, got it. So red, then? Nope. “Save your best shade of red for date night, as in this situation it may come off too aggressive or sexy,” Zyla added. So what’s a gal to do?
“Instead, opt for a color found in your iris,” Zyla said. “If eyes are the window to the soul, this energetic friendly shade will convey a warm and friendly ‘I am a really nice person’ vibe.”
Anything you’d wear clubbing is a no-go
Caitlin Bergstein, a Boston-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule, agreed. “This includes a low cut or revealing top and a short skirt, dress, or shorts. It can also include skin tight clothing,” she said. “This can create the impression that you’re insecure and looking for attention.” Even worse, Bergstein said wearing revealing or tight clothing can also make the parents question whether or not you’ll be faithful to their kid.
All parents want to protect their children, so don’t give them a reason to think they need to protect their kin from you. Personal stylist Rayne Parvis agreed and suggested wearing something that “exudes trust, femininity, and loyalty.”
Your treadmill best
Bergstein shared that gym pants, sweatpants, and hoodies may instead come across like you’re too laid back and don’t care about your appearance. “This could be seen as a sign that you are lazy and leave his parents wondering why you couldn’t take the time to put on jeans and a nice top to meet them,” she said.
DiMarco agreed and said that a t-shirt can be fine as long as it doesn’t look like one of the free ones you got at the end of a 5K. “You want to look like you care,” she said. “Wearing something too casual says that you don’t.”
Are leggings pants?
Turner agrees. She said, “It’s a classic debate, but when meeting the parents, leave this conundrum at home and opt for a pair of secure denim.” Noted. After all, do you really want to risk even the possibility that your underwear might be visible when you bend over? We’ve all seen it happen and it’s not the kind of first impression you want to leave with your possible future in-laws.
A fog of perfume
Not only can this irritate allergies or breathing problems the parents may have — which is definitely not a good first impression — it will make it nearly impossible to hug you hello or goodbye should they want to. Definitely not the way you want to start things. “Play it safe and tone down the extremes,” Sassoon advised. “Think balance.”
In fact, says Sassoon, balance is key when it comes to everything during this first meeting. “You definitely don’t want to wear anything too low cut, tight, short, or too anything to meet your guy’s parents,” she said. “You can’t go wrong with classy!”
Gaudy, flashy jewelry
Brittney Smiejek, a Chicago-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule, put it in no uncertain terms when she said, “No gaudy jewelry.” She further suggested keeping things classic, chic, and simple, adding, “I think it is important to remember that the best accessory you can wear in really any setting is a smile.”
Too much makeup
Bergstein shared that over-the-top makeup, along with clothes that are too fancy and heels that are too high, “can come across as you being high maintenance, high drama, or inauthentic.” If makeup is a must, opt for a more natural look instead of that dramatic smokey eye and bold red lip you rock with your girlfriends.
Source: The List
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues.
He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.