July 1, 2005

Dear Wendy,

How tight is too tight? I have a first date on Sunday and I’m wondering what to wear. Thanks very much—


Dear Sue,

First of all, congratulations on landing a real date! I'm impressed that you're not hooking up and that you've actually found someone to take you out. Now, if you can also manage to put on clothing for this date, you may make the Guinness Book of World Records.

Your query is a difficult one, and has stumped many a philosopher. Long before "to be, or not to be," the more desperate question—"too tight, or not too tight?"—echoed from grasshuts, marking the beginnings of civilization.

I would be lying if I told you I had a pat answer to this eternal disquisition. I do, however, have a general rule of thumb: if you would be totally embarrassed wearing an outfit to a job interview, then it's probably not the best thing to slip on for a date. I am operating on the assumption that your objective is to get your date to take you seriously as a person—one with emotions, opinions, and hopes for the future. In other words, as more than a body.

In my opinion, something is too tight when it draws attention away from you, and draws people to specific parts of your body. I'm sure you know which parts of your body I'm talking about. Those hats which emphasize your ears, for instance, and make you look like Arwen from The Lord of the Rings . . . .

But leaving elves aside for the moment, you truly can look attractive without presenting yourself as a sex object. In fact, I firmly believe that women are more attractive without super-tight clothing.

For example, there is a certain fashion nowadays which totally boggles my mind: girls wearing skin-tight polyester shirts. Typically sold in pale green, pink or blue, and a few sizes too small, these shirts have the overall effect of someone standing above the poor girl and dropping a bucket of paint on her. You go over to help wipe the paint off, only to realize that it's the material of her "fashionable" shirt! Ostensibly, the shirt is designed to emphasize the chest area, but it also emphasizes every other curve and indentation below the bra line. So girls of a perfectly normal weight end up looking like colorful Sumo wrestlers, and then they go on extreme diets to look normal in these inherently ugly shirts.

Of course, I would never dream of telling someone what to wear, but may I suggest that this might not be the most flattering choice?

Have a wonderful time on your date, and let me know how it goes!



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