What kind of dates do you usually plan? Dinner, drinks, maybe coffee? Those are all tried and true options (for good reason), but there’s something to be said for suggesting an activity that’s more active–and interactive–than sitting down and eating together.
That’s why we like going to a farmer’s market. It’s not exactly an expected date activity, but it’s not so unusual that your date will feel out of their depth. It’s a great way to spend a beautiful morning, and the casual setting naturally lends itself to conversation. You can relax, be yourself, sample homemade jams, and snicker together at oddly suggestive root vegetables–all without feeling the pressure to come up with funny and interesting topics to discuss. Sitting across the table from someone feels a bit like an interview. Strolling past stalls of fruit, flowers, and baked goods and debating the comparative merits of beets vs. okra gives you a chance to show the other person who you are, rather than telling them.
Whether it’s your first time going out or your forty-first, it’s always good to show your date that you put some thought and effort into creating a fun experience for the two of you.
Of course, if you love to eat (and potentially cook), there’s room to do that, too. You can get coffee and some fresh pastries and find a place to sit, or round up some ingredients before heading home to make brunch.
A frittata is a great choice because it’s so easily adaptable—pick up some vegetables that are in season, a bunch of fresh herbs, and some farm-fresh eggs (maybe some local cheese, if you want to get fancy) and you’re good to go. This is a pretty foolproof recipe that looks and tastes like it’s much harder to make than it actually is. Pair with a fresh-baked loaf of bread, maybe a simple salad and some berries if they’re in season.
With that settled, on to the next question: what are you wearing? Here’s where it can get a little tricky. A farmer’s market is a pretty casual setting. And you’re getting together around mid- to late morning, which isn’t as formal a time as the evening. But it’s still a date, and you still want to look pulled-together and make a good impression.
This is a job for: smart casual.
Shawl collar cardigan
- Similar: Banana Republic, $77 (Shown: Banana Republic previous season)
- On clearance now: A&F, $35.20
- Alts: Old Navy / Target
There’s something about a sweater that just looks sophisticated–although a cozy cardigan is secretly just as comfortable as your favorite hoodie. The style leans a little professorial, but is nowhere near as stuffy as a tweed jacket with elbow patches.
Pima Curved Hem Henley
Leave the plain T-shirts in your drawer and try a soft cotton Henley instead. The jersey knit is slimmer and smoother than the traditional waffle weave, so it looks a little more polished without being as dressy as a collared shirt, and a lot less business casual than a pique polo.
Slim Charcoal Jeans
Dark gray denim is another style trick: not too tight and not too loose, this pair has a rinse that helps them almost resemble a pair of chinos, but with the style and comfort of your favorite pair of jeans.
White Leather Sneakers
Few things look as fresh as a pair of clean white kicks (make sure you give yours a quick touch-up if they’re looking dingy). Boots would be a natural choice here, but the sneakers are a little more modern and urban. The brilliant white really stands out against the neutral outfit, and helps lighten the overall look.
Trying to figure out what to wear on the first date? We've got a Getup for that.
The same tan shawl collar sweater can easily be dressed up, as you can see in Update the Look: An Outfit from a 1931 Cagney Film Makes a Sharp Smart Casual Look for the Office.