Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

How to dress to get a date

Dear Dr Victoria, I recently read an article that said if you showed 60% flesh when out on the pull you’d attract more men compared to those women who were more covered up.

With this in mind I invested in an outfit, which was rather expensive, and conformed to the 60% flesh strategy. Usually I wear trousers and probably show about 10% flesh – my face, hands and a small amount of chest, certainly no cleavage and not my upper legs or arms. Now I wouldn’t say I was skinny nor fat, just a normal size 14, but when I went out in my new outfit it really didn’t have the desired effect I was hoping for. In fact it left me feeling confused, upset and lacking in confidence.

On my night out I was only approached by men who seemed interested in making inappropriate sexual innuendos. Worse still, when in the toilettes of a bar I heard three women talking and laughing at me behind my back.

I’m in my late 20’s and would really like a boyfriend who is caring and loving, not one after a casual fling. These dress extremes really don’t seem to be working; do you have any insights as to what I should be wearing to appear attractive to the opposite sex?

Dr Victoria replies:

Any article that tells you that “all you need to do” to attract a partner is likely to be an over-simplification. I suspect what you’ve done in this case is to look at the headline and then assume that baring the required 60% of flesh will result in you fighting the suitors off.

Clearly, there’s a lot more to attraction than how much flesh you show – what you look like, how tasteful your clothes are, how you wear your hair, how you carry yourself, how you dance, how you make eye contact, how you interact with your friends – to mention just a few. And that’s before you’ve even got talking to someone.

When you look at the research I think you’re talking about, it didn’t conclude that the surest way to get a man was to show 60% of your body. It was about observing women in one particular nightclub to see how much attention they got from the opposite sex, according to how much flesh their outfits exposed. You can’t just generalize this to all other situations, or even to all nightclubs.

You might also do well to remind yourself that having 10 men trying to chat you up in one evening doesn’t mean you’re on track to finding Mr Right. You say yourself that you’re looking for a relationship – not a series of one night stands. Yes, you want to look attractive, fun and approachable but you don’t want to look too easy or like you’re trying too hard either. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put effort into your appearance, just that the finished effect shouldn’t look like you’ve spent hours getting ready.

Instead of focusing on the skimpiness of your outfit when you go out, try to remember that it’s more important to dress tastefully, to wear something that’s flattering for your own body shape and to dress appropriately for the venue. So, for a nightclub this usually means evening wear, but it’s unlikely to mean hot pants unless you’re 18 and a size 8. For the remaining 98% of the female population, it’s more likely to be a dress or jeans with a nice top and high heels. If you’ve got the legs for it, a dress above the knee will look good but you still need to leave something to the imagination. If you’re in a bar, rather than a club, long sleeves or a jacket are fine but this would normally be too hot if you’re in a club.

In the UK and Ireland, it’s expected that you express your own taste and style in the way your dress rather than sticking rigidly to some sort of uniform so I can’t tell you exactly what to wear, but I’m sure you get the general idea. One final piece of advice would be not to forget the details including hair, make-up and accessories. If you’re looking for a relationship with a man who is refined and has good taste, he’ll know good shoes when he sees them. Stylish killer heels will make you stand out in a crowd and are much more likely to send out the right message than wearing a skirt that’s too short.

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