February, the month of love. With Valentine's Day around the corner, it may be time to start dreaming up the perfect date for your significant other. Whether we’re talking about a new love or an old flame, it’s the perfect opportunity to remind someone how important they are to you. Tinder date, budding romance or 20 year marriage, all relationships need a bit of tender loving care.
While the internet is full of point-by-point guides that are over-prescriptive and doomed to failure, we do think it’s prudent to keep some things in mind; more of a philosophical guide to dating. Have some of these concepts in your thoughts, and your dates will usually exceed expectations, for both of you.
(Customer Ben in Georgia, USA, wearing our CLANCY cravat)
Confidence is a term that is much misused. When we speak about confidence, we don’t mean swagger, self-satisfaction or peacocking. Confidence as we see it means a quiet assurance, an acceptance of your good qualities and your limitations, and treating others as you would like to be treated. It’s an inner calm that rubs off on people around you. This is not about “tricks of the trade”, or trying to pretend you’re something you’re not. It’s about exuding the sort of presence that allows your real self to be seen in its best light. Being at ease with yourself is sexy, and furthermore no one likes to feel they’re being played.
Even in this day and age, manners count. Behaving with courtesy and respect most assuredly sets you apart from the rank and file. Nothing is going to be a bigger turn off than a snide remark to your date, or talking down to a waiter. Being kind and considerate takes work, but it has a powerful effect. Don’t mistake kindness for weakness, it’s anything but.
Having a sense of humour is a wonderful thing, but don’t make your date the butt of the joke or put them down. A bit of gentle teasing can only exist in a context where your counterpart feels secure. Compliment them, praise their intelligence or skill (not just their looks!), think of the things that make them special to you. Sincerity is the key component here - people can spot a flatterer a mile off. Speak from the heart; remind your date what they mean to you, and how they make you feel. Imagine the shoe on the other foot, and how good it would make you feel.
Look The Part, Be The Part
Apart from behaving like a gentleman, we can’t stress enough that looking the part is going to help. Looking like you rocked up straight from the Playstation probably isn’t the way to go! Be prepared to make an effort with your outfit and make a break from your everyday, and the extra effort is likely to be rewarded. Whether you’re looking to make a good first impression, or keep the lamp burning on a long-standing relationship, brushing up a bit shows that you’re paying the occasion enough respect.
It’s ok to practice; feeling comfortable in your attire is essential, so if you’ve bought something special, maybe wear it somewhere else first, or at least round the house. That way it will feel like you are the one wearing it, and not the other way around (remember, confidence!) Of course at Cravat Club we are exceptionally keen on gentlemen’s style, but it’s important to own it, to not try and dress up in an unnatural way. Even if you usually dress down or live in your work clothes, you can look incredible in your outfit, better than perhaps you even thought.
Use Your Imagination
Whilst it’s sometimes good to defer a decision to your date, to get everything started it’s good to show a bit of initiative. An interesting date idea can get things off to a good start; an unusual location, a bar or restaurant you wouldn’t normally frequent, or perhaps remembering a tidbit of information or a favourite can get you miles ahead in this regard.
We don’t want to trot out cliches about “taking a lead”, but showing you’re engaged and using your imagination are huge pluses, and show you care. A concert, a trip to the beach, a theme park, a class that stretches both of your comfort zones; all these would make great ways to get to know your date better, or to deepen an existing connection.
There’s that word again - confidence! Taking a lead shows that you have the power to think ahead and make decisions, and gives the impression that your date is safe in your hands.
Style IS Substance
It’s fair to say that your outfit speaks volumes about who you are. The choices you make are like smoke signals to your date about what this night means to you. Giving a little more thought and putting a little more time in can give you a boost in all kinds of unexpected ways. We don’t want to give the impression that valentine’s day is all that matters though; the right choices matter all month long, and all year round. Giving your date something to smile about and something to remember - that’s what really counts.
Exterior style is about giving expression to what is within - meet the occasion with flair and authority, let your style speak for you, and your Valentine’s night, and all other dates, will soar.