I loved dating. Yes it was difficult at times and there was a lot of kissing frogs but ultimately in retrospect it was full of important life lessons. What I didn’t love was the build up to a date.

My first few dates as a newbie singleton without much previous dating experience relied a lot on advice from friends and the internet. I’d been in a relationship for six years.

Times had changed, splitting a bill didn’t make men recoil anymore and the usual “date locations” of my once 18 year old self were no longer suitable, because let’s face it who can get to know another human being whilst sat in a dark cinema surrounded by the aroma of popcorn?

When it came to getting dressed for the date, much like every single time I have to dress for an occasion, I’d have a wardrobe induced breakdown.

Everyone had their own take on the best first date outfits and thankfully, the general overall consensus was to wear whatever makes you happy and what you feel comfortable in, hurrah! But of course there were the “first date rules”.

These are the ones you should ignore…

Rule  #1 – Buy a new outfit

There’s no greater satisfaction than snipping the tags off of a new dress that’s for sure, but there’s also no other feeling like the new shoes you bought, rubbing your heels to shreds until you’re walking with a limp, or realising that the dress you snipped the tags off, is super static and rides up when you walk.

I’ve found myself cursing my choice to wear a new item of clothing on a date only to find that it looked better on the hanger. There’s enough awkwardness and nerves on a first date, so wearing your staple skirt that goes with everything or fail safe boots is a safe bet.

After all, the last thing you want is to be worrying about whether them skinny jeans are more camel toe, than Olivia Newton John in Grease or having to readjust an over enthusiastic wrap top.

Rule  #2 – Dress to Impress

Let me hear it from the women at the back “I dress for myself and no-one else”.  I get that when you’re dating, first impressions count and that begins before you even open your mouth, so of course, you want to make the right one but to the detriment of your own personality and sense of style.

If you look in the mirror and you like what you see before your date and you feel comfortable, that is all that should matter. Don’t try to fit the image you think they would be impressed by.

Rule  #3 – Break Away from all Black

“Men like colour” say E-Harmony, so we’re told to drop the all black ensemble and ignite some colour into our first date outfits as it signifies a happy, energetic and warm individual, attributes most single people are looking for in a partner. Colour is in my mind just that, a colour.

I gravitate towards colourful clothes naturally, but I’m equally as comfortable in black skinnies and black roll neck jumper dependent on my mood.

If your feel-good outfit comes in 50 Shades of Black (grey or navy) don’t feel the pressure to overload on colour just to show that you’re fun or playful.

Rule  #4 – Show off your Figure (but not all at once)

Don’t over advertise the goods you’ve got to give.  Stick to either your chest, arms, legs or back as the main focus only, so as not to come off too sexy or trashy. But don’t swamp your body in fabric so that you have no shape.

We don’t always need to look to flatter our figures or show off our best assets, I promise you. In fact, it’s perfectly okay to go oversized or non form fitting and still look good. If you want to wear the baggy culottes, over sized slogan tee or a cosy cardigan, that’s absolutely fine.

Rule #5 – Don’t Overdo the Makeup

Is wearing too much makeup on a date “false advertising”? Am I meant to look fresh and dewy and natural?

Should I leave a smokey eye and a bold lip at home just incase my date thinks that my lips are naturally as red as the blood of my ex dates?

I always thought the test of how much a guy is into you is if he ghosts you the first time you cleanse, tone and moisturise in his presence and he realises that your eyebrows aren’t actually that perfect and nope, your eyelids ain’t shimmery and feline shaped.

I personally feel killer confident with a red lip (1975 by Charlotte Tilbury, if you want specifics) and is my go to in any situation that I need to feel like the best version of “me”, so if a nice strong lip or smouldering eye is your bag then wear it.

You can find Charl on her Blog gingergirlsays.com