You're headed to dinner for a first date—cue the excitement and nerves, but also the pressure about what to wear. You want to strike that perfect balance of looking cool and stylish with a hint of mystery, but don’t want it to seem like you tried too hard. When you're standing in front of a mirror on Friday night though, that can be a little more challenging than you’d think.
When we think of effortless style, Parisians and Londoners instantly come to mind—they've really got that cool "this old thing?" down. Curious to find out their go-to dinner date outfits, we went straight to the source. We tapped Parisians Sabina Socol and Anne-Laure Mais, as well as Brits Lindsey Holland and Johanna and Sarah Halpin to find out their favorite date-night outfit formulas. We learned more than a few things from the looks they wear and the tips they shared with us. There are certainly some distinct styles between British vs. French girls, but there's one common trend we can get behind: Feel confident in what you're wearing. Want to find out how stylish girls pull off effortless style for a date night?
Keep reading to see the go-to dinner-date outfits French and British girls wear, and then shop their looks.
"During summer I would wear a dress with a deep décolletage. I like to feel super feminine and sexy but not too much. I like to keep something mysterious, it's always better to not reveal everything! I would wear small heels just to feel more confident and elegant with a small bag and fine jewelry." — Anne-Laure Mais
French girls are all wearing a wrap dress this summer.
Layer a simple gold ring with other bands.
A small crossbody bag is essential for a dinner date.
Pair a heel with a minidress to show off your legs.
"As with many French girls (I believe), I don't have a go-to date-night outfit. What I do have, though, is one rule: Never, ever, overdress for a date. It's kind of a snobbish dating rule I think girls have in France. The guy should never believe you put on too much effort to seduce him; he should just find you naturally stunning. I'm in a relationship now, so I'm not dating anymore, but when I was, I used to always go simple but a little bit sexy. That means my favorite pair of jeans I feel comfortable in, not over-the-top heels (I always wear heels, so I'm always comfortable in them. But for those who don't, I would recommend a pair that's easy to walk in), a V-neck blouse, and almost zero makeup—just a red lip. That's it! And I'm almost positive that many French girls have the same rule. I did try to dress up once. I was wearing a black one-piece that was very tight and flattering but maybe a bit too small, and it cracked at the butt during my date!" — Sabina Socol
Pair the deep neck with a statement necklace.
Opt for a statement pair of jeans for date night.
A woven basket bag is a must-have summer bag.
Pair this timeless black heel with a chic black blouse and hoops.
"Sticking to our guns: trousers over a dress, flats over heels, at least one thing navy, fine details, and feminine lingerie (optional)—the usual Halpin style." — Joanna & Sarah Halpin of What She Said
Style a neutral sweater with chic trousers or a feminine skirt for dinner.
A high-waisted pant is flattering for all body types.
A chic shell jacket is good layering piece for a chilly night.
A black lace bralette looks chic under a sheer black top.
A black loafer is fashion-forward in the office and on the street.
"So my date-night looks are always super understated, and I always dress for me. I don't dress for them. If I don't feel good and confident in what I'm wearing, the date will be a flop. I feel like hair and minimal makeup work so well—nobody likes a full face of makeup, least of all your date. I stick to dark lashes, a neutral/copper tone around my eyes, and a nude lip with just a sprinkling of highlighter over my cheekbones and nose." — Lindsey Holland
Pair a blousy top with high-waisted denim.
Straight-leg denim is this summer's top denim cut.
These vintage-inspired bags are making a comeback.
A gold slide is both fashion-forward and comfortable.
Next, find out why this editor stopped paying more than $100 for jeans.