Rhetorical Analysis: How To Dress For A Date


via Man Repeller.

I had a date the other night. It went well, whatever, but we all know the most important point of interest regarding that sentence is what did I wear? 

Uhhhhhhhh, WHAT? Earth to Amelia but how do you not remember that one time you tweeted that we were getting married on top of a mountain with flutes playing? Now you’re just going on dates, all willy-nilly with dudes I don’t know? This was going to start off as just a traditional Sunday Non-Scary Read but now we are going full-on Rhetorical Analysis. Sometimes you gotta freestyle when life throws you curve balls. Per usual, original text in italics.

I had a date the other night. It went well, whatever, but we all know the most important point of interest regarding that sentence is what did I wear? 

Uh, no, Amelia. I have a few other questions. How about, “Why didn’t you give me a heads up that the mountain-top wedding was off?” or “Does the term ‘internet dating’ mean nothing to you because I thought we had something and we obviously don’t so where do we go from here?”

What I wore is the exact outfit a friend told me not to wear: a blue and white striped men’s button down shirt with the front tucked into a pair leather pants, and emerald satin open-toed Stella McCartney shoes with gems that look like Candy Buttons stamped on their heels. Oh, and they have ankle straps.

With all due respect, your friend was straight trippin’. Now I’m no Scott Schuman or anything but I know what I like. I wear blue button down shirts all the time so we definitely have that in common. Furthermore, I’ve been a fan of leather pants since I saw this Spice Girls photo when I was like 10. You know, that time in every 10 year old boy’s life where he wants to watch Spice World with his older sister because the Spice Girls were smokeshows but you didn’t actually want to admit you wanted to watch it?

Only knock against leather pants right now is that Taylor Swift wore them at the VS Fashion Show, but I won’t hold that against you.

“Why can’t I wear this?” I asked. I thought I looked pretty good. I was even planning on brushing my hair.

“Because you’re wearing a men’s shirt,” she retorted. “It’s huge. Wear a dress instead.”

Your friend that retorted is retarded. Big shirts are essentially dresses anyway. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this shit out. And I’m not trying to act like I’m up for a CFDA or anything but I’m like 99% sure “boyfriend”-fit shit is pretty hot these days. I don’t give a fuck if you’re wearing some Golden Goose Standard Styles or if you’re wearing your ex-boyfriend’s oversized Polo that he bought in high school, as long as you’re not grabbin’ out of my closet when you wake up in the morning, I’m on board with whatever you’re feelin’. Just don’t make me awkwardly text you a few days after the date and ask for my shit back.

Hahahahah. A dress. On a date. That’s so funny. But it actually is, because I had never before even considered wearing a skirt on a date, let alone a one-piece frock. Similarly to what Leandra mused earlier this week, I tend to underdress for occasions that might typically call for a more “dressed-up” wardrobe — especially when it comes to dating.

It’s probably some sort of defense mechanism. If I dress like I didn’t really try, then surely that sends a cavalier attitude to the world like, “Hey, look at me, I’m so cool, I’m wearing pants.” And didn’t Leandra mention in that anterior post that this attitude can often be traced back to some sort of primitive, poignant moment? Maybe in kindergarten I went on a playdate that I can’t seem to remember, and perhaps I showed up in some giant pink confection while my friend Donald Ducked-it in a diaper and tee.

If you promise not to show up looking like Jessa from Girls, then I’ll promise not to care that you’re not wearing a dress. Not that I’d care anyway. This isn’t a goddamn promenade.

(PS. You like that Girls reference, Amelia? Came up with that shit on my own because I’m sensitive to shit girls like. I bet the dude you went on a date with didn’t have any next-level references like this.)

More likely, however, at least in the case of me and my date, is that it boils down to comfort. Dates are awkward. You don’t know where to put your elbows or if your resting face looks too bitchy, and you want to touch your brow to see if it’s furrowing, but then what if he thinks you’re doing some secret signal to a friend in the back of the restaurant that means, “Get me out of here?” One time a guy made us share one burrito (one) and then took my half after I’d eaten two bites. If that doesn’t send a cautionary tale of wearing comfortable-enough clothes to hightail it the fuck out of there, then I don’t know what does.

Awkward dates? Not this guy. I straight MURDER first dates. I leave you wanting more. If anything, my first dates set you up for disaster. Hook, line, and sinker. From that point on, I’m only going to let you down. Not only am I going to keep you in stitches laughing, I’m going to mess with your head. Ya boy’s signature move is to eat slower than the girl I’m with so she’s all self-conscious about how quickly she’s scarfing down her salad while also thinking about how much chivalry, in fact, isn’t dead because this bro has the table manners of a fucking conquistador.

But dressing “lax” can also help you in the event of a good date. What if you walk through a park? Or if you decide to be all rom-com chic and go for a spin around the old skating rink? If your knees are locked together from a too-tight skirt or wobbly heels, or you can’t lift your arms for fear of a wardrobe malfunction, it’s possible that you’ll regret dressing up.

Did someone say “rom-com”? In my ode to hangover movies, I talked about how the greatest scene in any movie ever is the Painball Scene in This Means War. I’ll be your Tom Hardy if you’ll be my Reese Witherspoon, Amelia. Sounds like you’re already juggling me with another guy so we’re off to a good start.

So while all of that answers what I wore and why I wore it, it doesn’t really help get you dressed, so, let’s get dressed:

Start with pants. You can’t go wrong with leather or its faux counterpart, as no matter what’s happening up top they make your outfit look all the more cool.  I’m also partial to baggier denim, cuffed at the ankle with room for a serious pair of shoes.

1. You’re pretty much begging me to describe what I’m going to wear on this date, so I’ll take that bait and do this tango with you. On the bottom, I’m rocking some shorts with a 5” inseam because even though I’m clocking in at 6’ tall, I have a weird 30” inseam on pants. Anything I can do to make my legs look longer/jacked. Going to be a full-on quad-show over here. Only companies that make 5” shorts are Chubbies and Vineyard Vines, so I’ll also be channeling my inner-WASP.

2. Also, I’ll see your Madewell baggy denim and raise with some aforementioned Golden Goose Standard Style Jeans at 60% off. Yeah, I realize these are still more expensive but I’m reppin’ quality-over-quantity right now. Shit that lasts. Shit you can pass down to your kids. My friends call me selfish, but I’m looking out for you, girl. Tell the dude you went on a date with the other night to put that in his pipe and smoke it.

Shoes are next. You should really be able to walk. Try the coolest heels you own because you did buy them for a reason after all (though at the moment I can’t stop thinking about simple pumps), but do not pass Go unless you’re sure you can walk at least two blocks without crying and/or vomiting from pain. If you’re all about flats — great. You’ll be that much happier after two glasses of wine.

1) A little birdie told me that you like a dude in boat shoes, so allow me to dust off my favorite pair of top-siders and stroll into your life once more. I’m putting money on your date from the other night wearing some overly-hipster boots that aren’t treated well for nasty weather. Just sayin’.

2) On my first date with my ex-girlfriend, she wore heels that got stuck in a grate on a sidewalk and our date ended with me holding Kleenex on her face because she tripped and scuffed up her mouth and nose. Ever since then, I’m officially off the heel train. I’m not running an Obamacare clinic any time soon so don’t make me tend any wounds from the jump. (I only mentioned my ex to make you jealous, Amelia. How does that feel? Oh, not good? Welcome to my world.)

When it comes to tops I always look for a great oversized button down, regardless of what my friend said. They’re classic and sexy in a Lauren Hutton-esque way. Roll up your sleeves, add some necklaces, bracelets or a cuff and feel like a strong-ass woman.

1) I’m going to where the most nondescript button-down shirt you’ve ever seen. And if it’s cold, I’m bringing my frat-dude Patagonia pull-over that says, “I’m outdoorsy but not too heady” and I can also let you borrow it when we go ice-skating. I see you, girl. I see you.

2) If we’re channeling old broads right now, I’d prefer if you went with a Rene Russo Thomas Crowne turtleneck sweater situation so I can keep my pull-over to myself. As I said earlier, my friends call me selfish and sometimes I just can’t put things behind me. Gotta look out for #1.

If you still prefer to take the skirt route in these colder months, opt for an A-Line style, tights and a (maybe?) cropped sweater. The look is pretty but not saccharine and still emanates a vibe that you’ll want to channel when you get the OMG-I’m-nervous jitters.

And that’s that. If this guide seems mind-numbingly simple that’s simply because it should be. Don’t over-think. It’s supposed to be fun. Just be weary of your elbows and we’ll get through this.

As much as I love This Means War, Amelia, I never thought I’d find myself in this type of him-or-me situation but you’ve made it evident that internet dating you won’t be easy. At the end of the day, I still have great hair and first date charm of Matthew McConaughey in Failure to Launch, so I’ll be fine.

And yes, I do have Scaries over this romantic tug of war, so my offer still stands to have 3am work nightmares with you if you so shall choose.


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