It can be nerve-racking to meet the parents of your significant other. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. There are so many things to think about. What if you get too nervous? What if you have nothing in common? What if you run out of things to talk about? Most importantly, what should you wear? We can’t help you with all those answers, but we can help you decide what to wear—and what not to wear.
Making a good impression starts with wearing the right clothes. Besides that important job interview, the one time when what you wear can make a lasting impression with your outfit is when meeting “the parents.” It may help to first consider where you’re meeting them and what the occasion is. If you're meeting them at a fancy restaurant, a nice blouse or skirt will help elevate your look. Meanwhile, a casual meal at your significant other's home may warrant a comfy sweater and nice jeans.
While you may think that wearing a women’s dress would be the best way to impress your significant other’s parents, it can appear that you’re trying too hard. And if you’re trying too hard, they may wonder if you’re being true to yourself. But if you’re meeting them for the first time at a wedding or at another formal celebration, a dress is perfectly acceptable. Use your best judgment, and wear what makes you feel good. For instance, choosing a casual dress that isn't too flashy could be a great choice, but in general, you should save the fancy dress for formal occasions.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from dresses are jeans. While jeans are known for being casual, it can be perfectly fine to wear them. Examples of when jeans would be acceptable for meeting the parents would be if you’re having them over for dinner, or if you’re having coffee at their house. Any time you aren’t going somewhere where you want to dress to impress should be safe for wearing jeans. But make sure they’re your best jeans that complement your body shape and make you feel confident. Women’s black jeans tend to look dressier than light-colored jeans. Also, make sure your top is on the more formal side. It should be wrinkle-free and preferably a blouse instead of a T-shirt.
If you’re going out to meet your significant other’s parents, you’ll have more to think about than just your outfit; you’ll have outerwear to consider as well. If it’s winter, you’ll want to make sure your women’s coat isn’t too casual. Instead of a parka or down puffer jacket, you might opt for something like a long wool coat or peacoat. During spring and fall, trench coats are great for not only dressing to impress but also looking glamorous and smart. In contrast, if it is a casual event, you may be able to get away with a jean jacket if that’s what you typically tend to wear. Denim jackets can look quite stylish and are great as a lighter jacket option. If you wear yours, just be sure to balance it with something like khakis or a skirt so it doesn’t look too casual.
Since you can wear so many things when meeting the parents for the first time, it may help to instead talk about what not to wear. First on the list is trying to avoid anything that shows off too much skin. This means staying away from revealing crop tops, short skirts, or women’s shorts. While these options may be perfect for the summer or hanging out with friends, they should be saved for when you're closer to the parents.
Next on the list is distressed jeans. That means no holes and no areas that look worn or discolored, no matter how fashionable they may be. Although you don’t want the parents to think you tried too hard to impress them, you also don’t want them to think you didn’t care when you got dressed.
Lastly, avoid clothing that’s too tight. A tight dress or skirt may be a great option for a night out, but probably isn't the best choice for a first encounter with the parents. Even if it’s just a simple women’s T-shirt, opt for a looser blouse or sweater instead. Once you get to know them better, then you can be less strict about your clothing choices.
Meeting your significant other’s parents can be stressful, but by playing it safe while still feeling confident and comfortable in your body, you’ll have them wrapped around your finger in no time.