It should be common knowledge to you by now that first impressions are everything. This is not merely limited to job-affiliated introductions either. A smart man should always use this fact to his advantage in any and every situation, including, and even arguably most importantly, when he meets his girlfriend’s parents.
Your first impression on her parents can literally make or break your relationship. Never underestimate the power of the parents. Remember that (no matter her age) you’re dating daddy’s little princess, and the first impression you should make upon her parents is that you are her prince charming. Fortunantly for you, Everyguyed is here to help you become a tactical dresser for what could otherwise be a very nerve-wracking day.
Step 1: Hygiene
True, hygiene is not technically part of dressing to impress, but for all intents and purposes (especially this one) it really actually is. Make sure you choose articles of clothing you are 100% positive are completely clean. If you have to smell the armpits to tell if it’s fresh, then you probably shouldn’t wear it. Go the extra mile by doing your laundry, ironing, and dry-cleaning the night before, then fold or hang your clothes up to ensure maximum cleanliness and minimal disheveled-ness.
Picking out the right cologne or aftershave for the big day can also yield surprising effects as well. A smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence people’s moods and even affect their work performance, so picking the right scent can help her parents associate you with positive factors, and make you much more memorable in the long run. In contrast, if you don’t properly prepare yourself and forget deodorant, or wear a day-old shirt, then you may just end up being remembered as ‘the smelly boyfriend’. This is something you should avoid at all costs.
Just because you want to look nice for her parents doesn’t mean that you have to be completely devoid of all personality…display a little bit about yourself and set yourself apart
Step 2: Compiling an outfit
4 words: Dress for the occasion. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a Sunday brunch in a suit, only to find the rest of your party wearing t-shirts and jeans. The same applies for meeting her parents. If you wear something too formal, you could risk looking like a pretentious douche; if you wear something too casual, you could end up being labeled as a complete slob. There is always a certain amount of ambiguity in dressing for situations such as these, but the best way to figure out what to wear really does depend on your meeting location and time.
Fortunately for you, you also have the ultimate weapon: your girlfriend. She knows her parents better than anyone else, and she’ll know how to outfit you for the occasion. Yes, we know, having your girlfriend dress you is so high school, but just this once, curb your pride and seek her advice. Your girlfriend will be privy to information that can help you avoid unintentional faux pas’ like wearing fur in a family of vegans, or applying cologne when her mother’s allergic (yes, it is possible and it does happen).
Step 3: Details
So you’ve picked out a set of clothes appropriate for the occasion, and you’ve made sure that they’re clean, pressed, and ready to go- now it’s time to pay attention to the details.
This should be a no-brainer, but make sure your socks are matching, your shirt is neatly tucked in, you’ve buttoned the correct amount of buttons, and you’ve whatever other bases you think needs to be covered.
However, just because you want to look nice for her parents doesn’t mean that you have to be completely devoid of all personality. Display a little bit about yourself and set yourself apart by incorporating a favorite tie of yours, or a bright accessory to accent your overall look. Items like these can also double as conversation-starters if conversation begins to lag throughout the meeting, and things start to get awkward. If you’re have some trouble figuring out what details and accessories to wear, or how to wear them, Everyguyed (especially DefinitiveTouch) has extensive archives of information that can help you out.
Tips & Warnings
- When in doubt, err on the side of over-dressing rather than under-dressing
- Ask your girlfriend about her father’s favorite sports teams, hobbies, & anything you can wax intellectual on should the conversation begin to lag
- Clean your fingernails (seriously, it really does matter to her mother)
- Coordinate your outfit with your girlfriend’s
- Wear anything too outlandish or flamboyant
- Prominently display all of your piercings, tattoos, or body modifications
- Plan ahead: Pick out, clean, and prepare your clothes the night before
- Dress for the occasion: Take into account the meeting location and time of day to ensure you’ve chosen an appropriate outfit
- Incorporate your personality: Her parents don’t want to meet a robot, use accessories and other interesting pieces to express yourself in a stylish, respectable way.
- Details, details, details: None can be overlooked, and you’d probably benefit from asking your girlfriend for general assistance as well.
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Psychologists estimate that someone’s opinion of you is formed in the first 10-30 seconds of meeting. That doesn’t leave you with a lot of time to charm her parents, but fortunately, it does allow you to use your appearance in your favor. Being clean, well-dressed, and sharp not only makes you look like a confident, capable man, it will also make you feel and act like one.
This may seem like a lot of worrying over a meeting that (let’s be honest here) you probably aren’t too enthusiastic about, but if it’s important to your girlfriend (which is a pretty safe bet), it should be important to you as well. The time and effort you put into presenting yourself to her parents lets them know that you care about what they think, and even more importantly, that you care about their daughter.
Do you have any helpful tips or horrifying experiences that you’d like to share about meeting her parents? Help other men like you nail the boyfriend/parent interview by commenting below.