The first few weeks and months of a new relationship are always the best. Everything is easy, you’re learning exciting new things about each other, and you’re completely oblivious to anything going on outside your little bubble of blissful romance.
But as summer comes to an end, it’s time for things to get more real. You’ve already met his friends (and totally aced it, if you do say so yourself) and, now, it’s time for you to take that next big step in your relationship: Meeting his parents.
Nerve-wracking? Definitely. To make a good first impression, you need to think carefully about the answers to those difficult questions you know his mom will ask you ("Art school, eh? What career are you hoping to achieve with that?"), how to compliment his dad's extensive whiskey collection, and most importantly- wear when meeting his parents for the first time.
In short: You want to aim for classy and comfortable. With that in mind, here are some outfit ideas to help you dress to impress.
A Colorful Dress
As flattering as your favorite LBD may be, it’s a little too dark for meeting his parents for the first time, unless perhaps, you're meeting them for an evening play. Remember not to dress too dark; you aren’t attending a funeral—unless you insult his mom’s cooking, in which case, the funeral will be yours.
Instead, look for colorful dresses that will match that vibrant personality of yours. Choose a dress that errs on the side of modesty (i.e., no plunging necklines, super-short hemlines, body-hugging numbers, or see-through fabrics that show a little too much of that new lacey bralette) and consider interesting details and patterns, such as a striped t-shirt dress or a collared dress with roll-up sleeves so you can offer to give his parents a hand with the dishes after dinner (and win some brownie points!).
Don’t feel like wearing a dress? Or perhaps you didn't have time to shave your legs today (ok, for the past six days). No problem—just wear your most flattering pair of pants instead, and we don't mean the uber tight ones that make your butt look like the peach emoji. Pass on the khaki pants and the Leslie Knope-style pantsuits and reach for a pair of slim-fitting colored pants instead. This will help keep you from looking like you're there for an interview.
You can also get away with wearing a pair of high-quality skinny blue jeans and a cute top. But keep in mind that this isn't Fashion Week so stay away from the trendy ripped jeans or baggy boyfriend jeans. Save those for weekends with the girls.
A Modest (But Cute) Top
Remember that it’s always better to show up slightly overdressed than underdressed. When choosing a top, skip the casual graphic t-shirt you bought at the Jo Bros concert and pick a button-down shirt or a feminine blouse instead.
Again, you don’t want to look like you’re about to stroll into the office, so consider choosing a stylish blouse with a classic pattern to give it some flair. For instance, the pattern on Leslie Polka Dot Top is fun and playful without being overly busy or distracting.
When choosing a blouse, pick a style that shows little to no decolletage and zero of your midriff. We know you've been working hard on those abs but rocking a trendy crop is a no-no. You want his family to focus on you (and your *undeniable charisma*) - not be distracted by your fashion choices.
Don’t fool yourself: His parents will notice the scuffs and dirt on your shoes (his mom, especially). Although they’re probably too nice to say anything, your poor choice of footwear can negatively influence their opinion of you.
This is a great excuse to buy new shoes to go with your meet-the-parents outfit. If you want to wear heels, leave the sky-high stilettos for date night and choose a closed-toe pump or comfortable kitten heel—preferably, in a color that matches your skin tone to elongate your legs if you're wearing a dress.
Better yet, opt for a cute flat like a ballet slipper or mule, and if the occasion is more casual (a picnic per say) you can wear a pair of clean, classic sneakers. Yes, heels can give you some much-needed height (not to mention, make your backside look ah-maz-ing), but flat-soled shoes are easier to walk in and may help you feel more comfortable when meeting the parents.
A Chic Clutch
Before you lug your enormous tote over to his parents’ place, you may want to rethink your handbag. A huge bag could cause suspicion and make them think: What could she possibly be hiding in there? Wedding planning magazines? Student loan debt? Or even worse, a Gamecocks shirt? (JK, calm down Clemson fans.)
A better choice is a sophisticated clutch that is just large enough to hold the essentials—phone, wallet, keys, lip balm—without weighing you down. Consider opting for an oversized envelope clutch or—if you’re meeting them for a fancy dinner—a chic minaudière that is sure to get you tons of compliments.
Additional Style Tips and Considerations
Still not sure what to wear when meeting his parents? Here are a few more tips to help steer you in the right direction:
- Dress for the weather. Pit stains definitely won’t make a good first impression on his parents. If you’re a nervous sweater, wear a breezy seersucker dress or a women's performance dress that will keep you cool and dry no matter how frayed your nerves.
- Wear dainty jewelry. Avoid gaudy-looking jewelry and pick dainty pieces instead. A simple bar necklace or a pair of pearl earrings are a nice touch.
- Pick something that aligns with your style. If things go well, this won’t be the last time you see his parents. Choose an outfit that won’t make you seem like a totally different person the next time they see you.
Dress to Impress the Parents
Figuring out what to wear to meet his parents can be incredibly stressful. You want to choose an outfit that is uniquely “you” while still being modest and respectful.
These outfit ideas are all stylish, failsafe choices that are sure to convince them that you’re marriage material. Now, how can you start dropping hints about that ring…