Woman getting ready
It's all about creating the right impression

Making an impression

Making an impression is all about style and presentation.

Our resident dating coach Jo Hemmings explains ...

It's the overall package that we present to other people and as such, makes a bold and immediate statement about ourselves so it's critical to get it right from the outset.

From a dating point of view, these are my favourite style dos and don'ts.



  • Remember the cardinal rule – low-cut top or short skirt. Cleavage or legs. Never both. However great your body maybe you will always look like you're on the game.
  • Dress appropriately. That isn't meant to sound old-fashioned but wearing your clubbing gear, huge diamante earrings or your gym kit will look out of place at your local.
  • Accentuate the good bits. Great shoulders? Wear a halter neck. Fab legs? A pencil skirt or a pair of well-cut trousers would look good.
  • Disguise the bad bits. Too short? Wear one colour and don't break it up with a belt. On the larger side? Dress simply and accessorise well to draw attention away from your body.
  • Think about your age. Thank goodness we live in a time where we are not expected to hit the flatties and shapeless crimplene frocks when we turn forty, but if you're anywhere over twenty-five, the Britney look is not a good one…
  • Get a bra fitted professionally. Around 75% of British women wear the wrong size bra. A well-fitting bra can make all the difference to the way an outfit looks.
  • Avoid VPL. Thongs under trousers are a must. And if you're going to wear the Bridget Jones style ‘magic knickers' remember that they cover and squeeze in a multitude of sins, but that spare tyre needs to squidge out somewhere. If you wear something too clingy around the waist, the flesh overload will show!
  • Remember less is more. A hint of cleavage with a little scent is better than your cups spilling over while reeking of overpowering perfume.


  • Confuse sexy and slutty. Sexy is a low-cut top, if you've got the boobs for it, teamed with a pair of well-cut trousers. Slutty is the same low-cut top teamed with a teeny skirt. Sexy is sheer black tights or stockings, combined with a fabulous pair of killer heels. Slutty is coloured fishnets or bare legs and the same pair of killer heels. Sexy is bold eye-make up but barely there lip-gloss. Slutty is the same eye make up and bright, dense lipstick. You get the picture…
  • Don't go to extremes. Too much leather, satin or lycra and you'll look like you just stepped out of a fetish club. However, if it's pure sexual attention you're after, then this might be the look for you.
  • Spend a fortune to get the look that you're after. You can pick up the look in the high street. It's worth remembering that the plainer your outfit, the more sophisticated it will look. Dress it up with some striking jewellery.
  • Forget your hair and make-up. Having a new cut and colour can make you feel like a million dollars whatever you are wearing. If you're still wearing the same cosmetics from years ago or are unsure of how and what to apply, most beauty counters in department stores will give you a free makeover. And you're not obliged to buy the products afterwards.
  • Go to work without your bag of essentials – hairbrush, mascara, lipstick, scent and a travel toothbrush with toothpaste. You never know when an opportunity might arise. Everyone's essentials vary. I won't leave the house without my heated eyelash curlers and lip-gloss!
  • Wear what your best mate looks good in. Get to know what suits you, what makes you feel good and what attracts the right sort of attention.
  • Leave it to the last minute to decide what to wear when you're going on a date. Try a few combinations and wear what you feel best in. Last minute what-am-I-going-to-wear panics won't help you feel relaxed.
  • Wear bright red lipstick and matching nail varnish. It's tarty, cheap, scary and old-fashioned! And watch those over-long, squared up dragon talons. They are not a good look when dating.



  • Wear your shirt outside your trousers, not tucked in, if you are a bit on the bulky side. And leave the top button undone, if you are not wearing a tie.
  • Wear one co-ordinating colour, especially if you are a large bloke. Though dressing all in black will make you look like a bouncer, so beware!
  • Check out your rear view before you buy those jeans. Girls love a nice bum, so let the denim show it off or disguise it as necessary.
  • Wear a clean white t-shirt if you've got great upper arms.
  • Go for a black, fine wool polo neck if you're slight and slim. Push the arms up a bit and you'll look seriously sexy.
  • Keep jewellery light. No knuckle-dusters, signet rings, huge gold chains and heavy weight identity bracelets. You do not want to look like Mr T.
  • Wear jersey boxer pants in black or grey. They are sexy and emphasise your crotch.
  • Wear a cool leather belt. The right one can look very sexy.
  • Wear chinos or combats as an alternative to jeans.
  • Buy the best suit that you can afford. Good material and an expensive cut shows. Cheap suits always look cheap.
  • Keep your hands clean and your nails cut short. Those hands may well be wandering into our most intimate places and ragged or bitten nails and grubby hands are not what we want.
  • Avoid fake tan, bronzer and heavy after-shave.
  • Wear clothes that fit. Just like us, it's always a mistake to wear clothes a size or two small. It just makes you look silly.
  • Wear gorgeous shoes. Dark leather, square toed boots or well-polished black lace ups are good. Grey shoes are never acceptable.
  • Leave your sports strip in the wardrobe. It is not good style.


  • Wear your trousers over your stomach. It just makes a big belly look much worse.
  • Wear your shirt unbuttoned down to mid chest. And don't even think about a wearing a medallion.
  • Wear a jacket, shirt and tie with jeans. Not even if you think Jarvis Cocker/the retro scene is cool. It always looks horrible.
  • Wear white socks. Unless you're at the gym.
  • Buy a fabulous, accentuate-your-gorgeous-arse, pair of designer jeans and then stuff the front and back pockets with keys, fags, wallet, diary, phone and lighter. You might as well have bought your jeans off a market stall.
  • Mix patterns. Plain shirt/patterned tie. Or vice versa. Not together.
  • Wear sunglasses indoors or at night. Pointless and not cool.
  • Wear trainers on a date/night out. If this is too much to bear, at least have a good all white leather pair for going out only, and keep them clean. Such is our obsession with footwear that women often judge a guy on his shoes alone.
  • Wear shorts unless you are on the beach/hiking/running or have no intention of ever pulling a woman.
  • Wear a denim jacket and jeans combo. Shakin' Stevens has had his day.
  • Wear a football shirt. Unless you are playing footie at the time.
  • Wear cartoon ties or socks.
  • Wear slogans or novelty pants. Or anything with a Union Jack on it. Not sexy or funny.
  • Go near pants that describe themselves as ‘slips'. Or Y-fronts. Or any underwear that suggests that your mother bought them for you, that were last soap-powder white in the 70's or are big enough to double as NHS incontinence pants.
  • Ever consider wearing sandals, other than on the beach. Men's feet are usually pretty gross and sprouting hair and uneven toes, lumps, bumps and yellowing toenails are a major turn off.
  • Flash your tattoos. Girls are divided between love ‘em and loathe ‘em, so if in doubt wear clothes that cover them up until necessary.
  • Wear the baseball cap/hoodie combo. Unless you're sixteen and fancy yourself as a gangsta rap star.
  • Wear frayed denim cut-offs.
  • Think that you look good because your mother tells you that you look smart. We like clean too, but we also like funky, sexy and trendy.
  • Wear leather trousers if you are over thirty or have the hint of a stomach. You will look tacky and sad.
You can get Jo's books online:

"After reading this book I think I am beginning to see the light. I always blamed myself for relationships never lasting and can now see why. My confidence is increasing in leaps and bounds and I feel able to dip my toe into the dating game once again. Thank you Jo for this book, which I shall refer to again and again --- Watch this space."

This is a great book and I can't believe the previous reviewers didn't say how funny it was. Jo Hemmings writes as if she is one of your best friends, telling you stuff you know you don't really want to be told, but realising the truth of it. It is done with so much humour and knowledge that you can't possibly take it the wrong way."

"Smart, portable and sassy, The Little Black Book is a unique and personal dating diary for today's selective single woman.

© Midsummer's Eve 2007