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What to Wear to Meet the Parents

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Meeting your girlfriend (or boyfriend’s) parents is a big step in your relationship and it’s important to dress accordingly. It’s hard to shake a bad first impression and your clothing is arguably the first thing they’ll judge (assuming you don’t show up with a Mohawk having not showered for the last week).

While you want to dress comfortably and show your personality through style, there are a few tips and items to avoid. Unless you’re meeting them for a family picnic or at a carnival, it’s always better to show up dressed more formal than not. We don’t mean you need to don a tuxedo, or wear your new custom tailored suit with pocket square, tie pin and trendy new Gucci loafers but a nice pair of fitted pants, an nicely fitted shirt (that’s been ironed) and leather brogues will say a lot. This isn’t the time to show how fashion forward you are, it’s about showing your possible future parents in law some form of courtesy for welcoming you into their family.

It's probably not necessary to dress in a three-piece suit with all the bells and whistles. 

If you are meeting them for a dinner at home or at a casual restaurant and the vibe is very laid back, choose a pair of dark denim jeans, casual shirt that’s fitted to you and sweater or cardigan if the weather calls for it. If you’re meeting at a fancier restaurant, a nice pair of fitted chinos or wool pants and a custom fitted shirt in a classic whiteblue or even pale pink goes a long way. Your clothes don’t have to be fancy - the fact they they’re fitted to you goes a long way in presenting a simple, put-together look. The guideline here is “smart but casual” so you want them to know you care, but not dress so formally that they start to feel uncomfortable. Ask your significant other for tips if you’re uncertain about the occasion. We mentioned jeans before but it’s important to note that anything ripped or acid washed should definitely be avoided.

A well-put together man will make the future in-laws swoon and will make your life a lot easier along the way. Show respect by dressing appropriately and it’ll go a long way. We’ve got to touch on hygiene for this topic. Clean shaven, fingernails clipped and preferably showered is the best way to present yourself. Going for that crazy hairstyle you’ve been meaning to try is not the smartest move at this point in time. Finally, consult your girlfriend about any cultural traditions or parental expectations. It’s best to walk into the lion’s den with an idea of what they want for their daughter or son. Nail the smart casual dress code, stick to neutral topics (or talk about how much you love their child) and you’ll be good to go.

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