Ah, the minefield that is the first date. A concoction of excitement, nervousness and an excessive list of do’s and don’ts that give you way too much to think about! First dates can come in all sorts of varieties; whether it’s someone you’ve known for a while, a blind date set up by friends, or even via a mutual right swipe match on Tinder, that initial meet-up always brings about the same worries. With the average date reportedly giving you no more than twelve minutes in which to impress, making a great impression is key to increasing your chances of a second, so here are our best tips to help make your first date a success.

Look great

Meeting your date for the first time, your appearance will almost certainly be what they notice before anything else, so you certainly want to make sure you look good. Of course, a lot of what you wear will depend on what you’ve agreed to do for your date – there’s an ever-increasing trend of less traditional and quirky locations and activities for first dates –so practicality often takes hold. However, keeping it smart and sharp will rarely see you go wrong, but just remember a good balance. You want to be comfortable but your “lazing at home” clothes won’t cut the mustard while dressing to impress can go too far when the person it looks like you’re trying to impress is a job interviewer. Working a smart casual outfit, with some trousers that are a step up from jeans, like some classic Dickies work pants, coupled with a shirt or even a blazer-and-tee combo is a timelessly good look.

Smell great

While it might be hard to consider, getting on top of your personal hygiene before a date is something that a lot of people neglect to do! Now, we’re not expecting you to always shower right before you go out, but keeping the antiperspirant topped up is a start, especially if you’ve had an active day beforehand. Don’t be skimping on the aftershave too, and we mean something more than just a spray of Lynx from that unopened Christmas present set–a good scent sets the men from the boys and can leave a positive lasting memory on your date’s nose.

Sound great

As well as figuring out what to wear on a first date, there is also the dilemma of wondering what you’ll talk about and avoid those awkward silences as much as you can. Our best advice is to stick to what you know, otherwise claiming to be a massive Game of Thrones fan when you’re really not will come back to bite you when your date asks your favourite character. Stay away from any divisive topics as well, even if you mean well – as much as we all like the occasional political rant, a date is definitely not the place, and you should absolutely avoid any mentions of exes as well. Keep within your knowledge base and speak enthusiastically, and those first-date nerves will disappear to help you come across confident and impressive.