Valentine’s Day Red Flags! Biggest Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid on First Dates

“Will you be my Valentine?” is a question asked all over the world come February 14. While half the world spends the holiday drenched in red and pink next to their better half, the rest are stuck without a date, wondering what went wrong in their search for love. According to fashion experts, you might be approaching dates all wrong, and it starts with what you wear.

Almost everyone has experienced a failed date. Afterward, you may spend hours racking your brain for where it all went downhill, but what you pull off the clothing rack may actually be the culprit. A global study conducted by surveyed 3,000 people to reveal the biggest fashion faux pas you should avoid to boost the likelihood of a successful date.

While you may not think style is a determining factor for compatibility, results show that one in three will actually turn down a second date due to clashes in fashion with their date. Similarly, one in nine consider bad fashion sense as a non-negotiable dealbreaker in a potential partner.

So, what exactly is considered to be bad fashion? Certain looks are immediate turnoffs when meeting a date for the first time. While we often hear “dress to impress” when it comes to making a great first impression, you can actually overdo it. Wearing a full designer outfit from head-to-toe rubs one in four respondents the wrong way on a first date.

Conversely, underdressing is a major faux pas as well. Thinking of showing up in your favorite tracksuit? Think again. One in four people find tracksuits to be a no-no on dates, with athletic wear, in general, reaching the highest disapproval rating at 28.3 percent.

Following luxury and athleisure as other fashion fails are Crocs (24.1%) and overly large sunglasses (23.4%). Other first-date offenders include large logos, shirts that are too tight, and high socks with low shoes. So, if any of these are in your wardrobe, you might want to consider something else to wow a potential suitor.

Two people on a first date
While overdressing can be a mistake, underdressing for a first date is a major faux pas as well. (Photo by Wiktor Karkocha on Unsplash)

The survey also looked at what fashion trends are considered an “ick,” or an instant turn-off that automatically changes how you view the person. The biggest style to avoid is maximalism, with 28.1 percent of respondents finding this ick-worthy. Streetwear (26.1%) and grunge (26%) styles follow suit.

If fashion isn’t your strong suit, don’t totally freak out! All hope is not lost as 30 percent of respondents say they don’t pay any attention to good or bad fashion sense in a current or potential partner. Unfortunately, trailing closely behind are those who find style fairly important at 24.8 percent. Just over 11 percent of respondents consider a lack of fashion sense to be an instant dealbreaker.

Even more surprising, 30.9 percent of those surveyed say your wardrobe alone has the power to make you immediately unattractive, even if you have a lot in common in other areas. They even would throw out the idea of a second date because of this.

Style preferences differ among generations, though. Most Gen Z respondents say they cannot tolerate opposing fashion habits, while millennials tend to be more laid back about how chic their partners are.

If you are going on a first date this Valentine’s Day, you are not alone. Thirty-five percent more dates are arranged on Valentine’s Day compared to any other day, according to dating app Hinge. Similarly, 11.4 million more messages are sent on Tinder than average from January leading up to the holiday.

However, if Cupid has shot you a chance at a first date on the day of love, make sure to do a once-over in the mirror before heading out. You don’t want your fashion faux pas to cloud the romance in the air.

Which of these items would you consider a fashion ‘ick’ on a first date? Count Percentage of respondents (%)
Full tracksuit/athleisure 836 28.30%
Full designer outfit, head-to-toe 730 24.70%
Crocs 711 24.10%
Very large sunglasses 691 23.40%
Large logos 671 22.70%
Too tight shirts/tops 659 22.30%
High socks with low trainers 609 20.60%
Ripped skinny jeans 582 19.70%
Roll neck tops 475 16.10%
Flared trousers 454 15.40%
Baggy/wide-leg trousers and jeans 429 14.50%
‘Man bags’ 406 13.70%
Fedoras 400 13.50%
High-waisted trousers or jeans 384 13.00%
Very skinny jeans 354 12.00%
Camouflage 319 10.80%
I do not consider any particular clothing to be a fashion ‘ick’ 320 10.80%
Overly creased and/or dirty shoes 307 10.40%
Vests with overly large arm holes 300 10.20%
Overly hemmed or rolled-up trousers and jeans 297 10.10%
Band merchandise 264 8.90%
Fake designer/branded watch 261 8.80%
Uggs 250 8.50%
Trousers which drag on the ground 210 7.10%
Wearing shoes without socks (including boat shoes) 211 7.10%
Low-waisted trousers or jeans 128 4.30%
Other 127 4.30%

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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