Dating on a Dime – Dressing for Comfort and Style at Affordable Prices

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The phone rings and “unknown number” flashes across your screen. Upon answering an unfamiliar voice on the other line nervously asks if you are available this Saturday evening for a night out on the town. Your mutual friend Susan has set on course the potential for love from the ancient art of match making. You find yourself hesitating as you mumble through the rest of the conversation confirming the date for Saturday. Upon pushing end, you google dating tips, and thankfully The Loft pops up in your search. We are here to provide dating advice on affordable trips out, stylish attire, and strategies for keeping your cool in a potentially stressful situation! Read on to gain confidence, ideas, and mojo that can only be found at The Loft in Ames, Iowa.

Where to go? 

If you are the initiator it may be up to you to plan and pay for the evening.  Sometimes our most prominent dating years come when resources are limited. Here are a few date ideas to keep the first meeting low stress and low cost.

Discover Local Landmarks: A lot of local activities can be found easily and for free. Some museums have minimal entrance fees or are even free to the public. Visiting sculpture parks or landmarks can be a fun way to explore your city and cost next to nothing.

Go Thrifting: Start at The Loft and continue on at other local consignment stores. This can be a great way to get to know someone. Play a game where you pick out something you think the other person would like. Keep on guessing until you get closer to knowing a bit more about them.

Dessert Date: Skip dinner and go straight for the sweets. This will help to alleviate unnecessary pressure as well as cut your bill in thirds. Want more time together? Extend your date with coffee.

Bike Ride: Even if you don’t own your own a bike, many cities are adopting a rent a bike program. Take a ride and be sure to pack snacks. A leisurely ride provides scenery, the chance to chat, and good exercise.

Volunteer: To really get to know someone, find an organization they care about and go volunteer together. You can discover a person’s good nature and it takes the focus off of you as a couple and puts it on others for your first date.

What to Wear? 

For the Fellas

Dress for the Occasion: Your attire can make all the difference in your first date. If you choose to go out to dinner, call the restaurant ahead of time and ask for their dress code. It is always best to be slightly overdressed than under in those situations. If you are going with an outdoor or activity date you have more freedom to express your individual style, especially if it is more causal in nature.


Experiment with Textures: To express yourself more fully and create visual interest, layer your clothing with different textures and muted color tones. This will give you a serious base, but expand to show some personality. You give sophistication to the typical t-shirt and jean combo by adding a jacket in one of these patterned textures. We have a great selection of affordable jackets at The Loft.


Show off your Personality: Use small accessories and shoes to show you are not like all of the other guys she’s dated before. A hat can show confidence and individuality. Choosing a brightly colored tie or unique shoes can also finish off the look. Comfort is key!


For the Females

Make a Statement but Beware of Comfort: The shoes shown below are the perfect eye catching accent to a sophisticated outfit. The pop of red is interesting and flirty. Beware if your date will require a lot of walking.   Your shoes should be comfortable as well as stylish. Adding orthotics can help transform any shoe into the perfect fit.


Don’t Overdress: Once you find out your date destination, plan accordingly. As bad as it is to be underdressed, going overkill on the first date can make you feel out of place. Choose a classic dress line and work with jewelry to either dress the outfit up or down. Make sure the material is flexible and breathable so that you physically feel comfortable.


Show off your Personality: This universal advice is your strongest ally when meeting someone for the first time. First impressions are the most important. If you are fun loving and enthusiastic, choose bright colors in bold shapes. If you are classic and well mannered, pearls will never fail you. If you are shy and quite tempered, delicate golds and small beads will express your sweet spirit.


Keep Your Cool

Manage Your Expectations: As much as possible keep your expectations at a reasonable level. You are just one human being, going out with another human being, all flaws included. Though you want to put your best foot forward, remember you are who you are and that shouldn’t change on account of a stranger. Focus on meeting your new friend and keeping a laid back perspective.

Relax the day of: Find an activity that you enjoy and that brings relaxation. Maybe you like to play racket ball or go shopping.  Either way carve time out before the big date to relax and to get in touch with who you are.

They are more scared of you then you are of them: If you at least think this, it will help you manage the extra energy. Be confident in who you are and what you want in your life and you will simply see if that matches up with your date over time. Unless they are super human, they are just as nervous, if not more than you are! You set the tone by your demeanor.

Stop into The Loft either before or while on your date. We have all of the styles featured here to give you your best foot forward. Good luck!

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