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What to Wear When You’re Meeting the Parents

Maybe your eyes met across the frat house dance floor or he lived in the suite across the hall. He probably asked to borrow your chemistry notes, or you were partnered up for a group assignment and you’ve been exclusively seeing each other ever since. Now it’s time to meet the parents! The upcoming holiday seasons and winter break are the perfect opportunities. The stress of finals will have lifted and everyone will be in high spirits anticipating the holidays.

Meeting the parents can seem daunting. Their approval is important and their acceptance is probably more important to your guy than he puts off. Impress them, charm them and make them laugh. You’ve got the personality, the brains and that killer smile, but what does your clothing say about you? Dress to impress doesn’t just apply to the job interview – it applies to meeting the parents too.

Whether you’re meeting them over a cup of coffee or at Thanksgiving dinner, be sure your clothing choice doesn’t elicit any unwanted first impressions.

When dressing for family introductions, pick pieces that show off your personality and not a lot of cleavage. Leave the flashy, glitzy body-con dresses at home – save them for your Friday night out. It’s okay to show off your sense of style with a funky necklace, some electric colored heels or a studded jacket, but make sure your outfit isn’t overwhelming. You don’t want the parents staring at what you’re wearing when they should be listening to what you have to say.

Your outfit should also be a sign of respect. You’re taking the time to meet the people who raised your significant other, so your clothing choice should reflect that. Clothes without tears, stains and wrinkles are a must. Also, dressing more conservatively isn’t lame or librarian-like – it’s knowing who’s in your company. Throw on some cute polka dot tights under your skirt, which shouldn’t be too short. And remember: The parents might not think those distressed jeans are as cute as your sorority sisters do.

Don’t let your clothes distract from what you bring to the table. Your new guy is head over heels for you, for more reasons than how you look in a mini skirt. Make sure his parents can see that too. Let your jokes, insights and manners be the highlight of your meeting.

Below are ditch-and-keep lists as a reference for what you should wear, and what you should probably keep in your closet. Good luck!


  • Mini skirt/ body cons
  • Stilettos, flip flops
  • Sweatshirts, yoga pants, sweatpants
  • Distressed denim (anything with intentional rips and tears), stains
  • Deep V’s, crop tops, sheer blouses
  • Shirts with pop culture references
  • Loads of makeup


  • Dark wash denim
  • Sweaters
  • Basics for layering
  • Accent pieces for a little pizazz
  • Nice-smelling perfume
  • Some unique pieces (leather, bejeweled etc.)
  • Flats, Boots, Heels
  • Simple makeup
  • A hostess gift if you’re headed to their house for any occasion


I can be found in different corners around campus with my nose in a book, a cup of coffee in my hand and a thousand thoughts in my head. I'm an advertising major who has a passion for travel, politics, food, black & white movies, yoga and cats.
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