On the scale of “Women Who Are Obsessed With Shopping”,  I think I fall somewhere on the scale between Cher Horowitz and Daria Morgendorffer: I like the occasional trip to the mall, sure, but I count shopping pretty low on the list of my favorite weekend activities. The one exception? When I have a first date.

Something about making plans with a guy I find cute instantly renders everything in my closet unsuitable. Dresses that I’ve worn time and time again suddenly become “totally wrong” for the date I have planned. In theory, I believe in having a go-to First Date Outfit; in practice, I’ve never been able to find anything that versatile. Every guy, I believe, is worthy of a new ensemble. But it’s not really about impressing the guy: it’s about me.

I know that, upon greeting me, the guy isn’t going to stand back, look at me and say, “Hmm….new shirt? Love you in chartreuse!” Chances are, he won’t even notice what I’m wearing.

But what he will notice is my confidence, the way I carry myself, the way I’m projecting how I feel about myself. When I’m wearing something new, something I just picked out and am wearing for the first time, I always feel a little more confident, a little better about myself than usual.

On a first date, it’s really, really important to feel pretty. Because if you don’t feel good about yourself, you act differently, you start to feel self-conscious, and these feelings of self-doubt aren’t as imperceptible as you might think. Anyone who’s with you will subconsciously take in your energy — especially a date.

If it takes a new outfit to get that extra boost, then I’ll get a new outfit. Dates are important! So is feeling good about yourself. And when it’s time to pick out an outfit for the second date, I always have a closet full of once-first date outfits to choose from.

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