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What to wear to meet his parents

Kathryn Eisman is one of the world’s most sought after on-air social commentators and fashion experts. She is the leading authority and pioneer in the psychology of fashion and author of two international bestselling books, How To Tell A...

The dos and don'ts of style

So you’ve finally been asked to meet the future in-laws (Ahem, I mean, his parents). It’s only natural to want to make an extraordinary first impression, since their opinion could make or break the future of your relationship. The initial excitement of being asked to meet Mom and Dad can often be followed with apprehension and sheer terror, as you ask the inevitable question, “What should I wear?”
Black and white dress from Zara

The dos and don'ts of style

So you've finally been asked to meet the future in-laws (Ahem, I mean, his parents). It's only natural to want to make an extraordinary first impression, since their opinion could make or break the future of your relationship. The initial excitement of being asked to meet Mom and Dad can often be followed with apprehension and sheer terror, as you ask the inevitable question, "What should I wear?"

Well, fear not. Having successfully navigated a few meet-the-parents encounters of my own (and learned from plenty of mistakes), I've created a checklist that will ensure you always dress to convey just how wonderful you truly are. And while they will eventually get to know you and figure it out for themselves, it never hurts to dress the part to help them get there a little sooner…

Don't be trendy

His parents may not "get" that harem pants and 5-inch platforms are what all the girls are wearing in Paris. Instead, they're likely to think you escaped from a circus — or worse — are a giant who suffers from incontinence!

Instead of trying to be cutting edge, go for classic pieces like this timeless black and white dress by Zara that send a clear message that you (and what you wear) will stand the test of time.

Don't:

  • Harem pants — I've escaped from the circus — wearing a diaper.

Do:

  • Classic dress — I'll last more than a season. Hint, hint!

It's all about context

What time of day and where you meet his mom and dad set the tone for how you should dress. For example, if you're meeting for dinner at a nice restaurant, showing up in baggy jeans and an old tee sends the message that you haven't made an effort and don't really care. Conversely, if you're meeting for a casual breakfast and you show up in a sequin mini, you may not convey the taste level they are looking for in a future daughter-in-law.

Be yourself (your BEST self)

It's easy to get so caught up with trying to dress to impress that you forget that what your man really wants is to introduce his parents to YOU! There's no sense dressing like a Stepford Wife when they're bound to discover that you're actually a jeans and a T-shirt kind of girl. Not only is authenticity key, but it sends a message to your man that you're confident with who you are.

Instead of undergoing a complete fashion personality transplant, work with your existing style and just refine it a little. A good way of doing this is to find a celebrity that has a similar style to you. See how they dress up or down according to where they are. Then find your own way of doing the same so that his parents meet the real you (only the best version of her).

Orange dress from J. CrewBe a lady

You might have cleavage that drives their son wild or thighs that would make a young Jane Fonda envious, but you don't have to share these assets with his parents. Whatever you end up wearing, make sure that you never show too much skin or you'll risk misrepresenting yourself and alienating everyone (especially his mother!). Stick to the simple rule of dressing like a lady by asking yourself, "Would they allow this outfit on breakfast television?"

This means no super short skirts, nothing see-through, no breast-baring necklines and nothing two sizes too small. Remember, you want them to be focused on your natural charm and personality, not your cup size. Instead opt for a universally inoffensive look like this flattering dress by J. Crew ($170). And make sure your outfit is clean. Showing up with old stains and cat hair sends the message that you're a slob and won't make for a good wife or mother.

Don't:

  • Too short — I'm wild, not the marrying kind.
  • Cheap fabric — I won't represent the family well.

Date night fashion for every relationship stage >>

Do:

  • Burst of color — I'm happy and well-adjusted.
  • Ladylike neckline — You can take me anywhere.
  • Modest hemline — I'll make a good mother.
  • Delicate shoes — I am a well-bred gal.

More fashion insight

What do the stars' Oscars styles reveal about their personalities?
What do celebrity couples' outfits reveal about their relationship?
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