As every man knows, first dates can be a minefield. From the choice of location and activity to end-of-evening etiquette, there are potential pitfalls everywhere.
And not the least of these is your choice of outfit. If your style is (as they say) the outward expression of your personality, getting it right can mean the difference between "are you free again tomorrow?" and, "don't call me, I'll call you...sometime"
"The cliché that you never get a second chance to make a first impression is true," says men's fashion expert Roger Martin, founder of www.stand-out.net. So, er, no pressure then.
But despite the fact that so many men get it wrong, making the right impression with your first date outfit isn't tricky, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Get the iron out
And the first is obvious, but all-too-often ignored. You really should make an effort. After all, there's every chance your date will have slaved for hours over every last detail of her look, leaving discarded outfits strewn across the bedroom floor.
So the least you can do is run an iron over your shirt and pick the jeans without holes in the knees. On top of that, everything you wear really should be straight-out-of-the-wash clean (rather than sniff-it-and-see clean).
You see, if you haven't thought to put your outfit through the washing machine in plenty of time, she's entitled to think that you haven't thought very much about the date at all.
If the cap/shirt/coat fits
On a first date steer clear of sartorial extremes. So don't wear your loudest label T-shirt, your baggiest (or most sprayed-on) jeans or your most buttoned-up business suit.
And whatever you do, don't do funny. "Anything themed or comedy is a total no no," says style expert and personal shopper Judy Berger, managing director of vintagefair.
"So leave the comedy socks you got in the secret Santa at home."
Crucially, make sure everything fits. Get it right and it should flatter your best features without drawing undue attention to anything less than trim and toned. If it screams, "get a load of this beer belly, baby", try something else.
"Don't wear overly baggy, because it says 'what are you hiding'," says Berger. "And too tight equals The Fonz from Happy Days. You might think he's cool. She won't."
Berger also suggests finding a close female friend and asking (in all seriousness), "does my bum look big in this?". Apparently, women 'always' look at a man's bum and judge accordingly. Who knew?
However appealing the idea might be, try not to dress like someone else. You might know for a fact that your date is a huge fan of David Beckham, but that doesn't mean you should invest in a sarong.
"Remember your clothes say something about you," says Martin. "Don't try and hide your personality or be someone different or you'll feel uncomfortable and may pass this on."
Feeling relaxed on a first date is difficult enough anyway, and sartorially speaking, you'll only feel truly comfortable in the sort of clothes you normally wear.
Go for simple and understated and you won't go far wrong (good jeans and a stylish, un-showy polo shirt are a classic first date combination). Leave the wild stuff till you know her a bit better.
Tone down the colour
A bright pink shirt over cream chinos? No, no, no. According to experts, your first date colour scheme should be quite conservative, but not at all cold.
"Mix warm colours - like red, brown and navy - together to make an impression," says Berger. "If you're scared of picking the wrong colours just take a look at a store mannequin and pick items along the same lines."
Oh, and don't wear lots of black. You don't want your date to mistake you for the waiter.
A shoe in
To you, feet are useful appendages that make both standing up and playing football a whole lot easier. To your date, they are windows to your soul.
Strange but true, women set a lot of store by the state of your footwear. So whether you're wearing winklepickers, brogues or trainers, they should be clean, correctly laced and accompanied by decent socks of a neutral colour.
Oh, and it's not just about the clothes. "Posture, posture, posture!" says Martin. "You could be wearing a $1,000 suit, but if you slouch you make the clothes look bad. Stand up straight, shoulders back and you'll see the clothes fit to your contours as designed, and you'll feel better too."
Quiz: Test your first date etiquette
What are your tips when dressing for a first date? Have your say below.