Feel Great, Look Great, Have A Great Date

Try these confidence boosters—from makeup tips to mantras—that’ll get you psyched for a revved-up romantic life.

By Nina Malkin

hat’s the secret to a truly successful date? The assurance that you’re an amazing person who knows how to have a great time. Adopt that attitude and you will have fun. OK, while science has yet to develop confidence in caplet form, there are plenty of things you can do to pump yourself up, trounce pre-date anxiety and be the attractive, witty, wonderful woman you are. We’ve got the tips — from makeup tricks to mantras — that’ll get you there.

Create a lovability inventory. “Make a list of what makes you instantly attractive—things like your great smile, sexy legs, fabulous hair, etc.,” says dating coach Ronnie Ann
Small-talk tip: Practice telling a great, funny anecdote about yourself.
Ryan, author of MANifesting Mr. Right: It’s Never Too Late to Find the Love You Want. “Then list why you’re a great catch—qualities like sunny disposition, good listener, quick-witted.” Read these reminders daily and give ’em a scan before your meet your date. Most of all, remember that they’re so true!

Get fresh. It may seem obvious, but cleanliness is key to dateliness. “I bathe, brush my teeth, spray on perfume and I’m good to go,” says Adriana Williams, 36. So don’t dash straight from the office to a special date. Schedule it a little later in the day so you can go home and hit the showers. That little bit of primp time in your own zone will get you primed to feel glamorous and have a great time.

Gain the home-court advantage. Is there a place where everybody knows your name? Where the lighting, the seating, the menu makes you feel at home? Go there on your next date! “Nothing is nicer than having the support and approval of people who know and acknowledge you,” says Donna Spangler, author of How to Marry a Rich Man: The Princess Formula. A friendly hello from your favorite host, waitperson or barista can boost your confidence, big-time.

Give yourself a pep talk. “The greatest confidence booster for women in their forties is the conversation they have with themselves,” says relationship counselor Joyce Morley-Ball, Ed.D., author of Seeds for the Harvest of a Lifetime. “Embrace statements like ‘There is no one like me’ and ‘I am the best thing he will ever meet’ before your next date.” Say it, believe it, and kick your self-esteem up a notch.

Check in with your biggest fan. “Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel really good inside,” says dating coach Liz Kelly, author of Smart Man Hunting. “Call your best ally on the way to a date for a confidence boost.” You needn’t say you want a pre-date pick-me-up—you’ll get good vibes just hearing this person’s voice.

Treat yourself right. Schedule that spa appointment the night or afternoon before a big date. “If you consciously include extra me-time into your schedule, you’ll feel more powerful and in control of your life,” says makeup artist Suzie Galvez, author of The Thrifty Girls Guide To Glamour: Living the Beautiful Life on Little to No Money. The only caveat? Those who tend to break out after a facial might want to opt for the massage or mani-pedi instead.

Keep it real. You want to sizzle, but don’t try something totally new and different, fashion- and beauty-wise. To really feel on top of your game, you’re best off looking like you. “If downtown diva is your thing, don’t show up in Laura Ashley,” says Raya Premji, co-owner of Rodeo Drive Resale in Los Angeles. One easy way to reveal you personality through fashion, she adds, is to simply wear your favorite color.

Break out the sexy underwear. Go for silk or lace, black or red, skimpy or demure—whatever makes you feel special. “It’s not for anyone else to see—just for you!” says Ryan. “You can’t help but feel your allure amplified with nice lingerie on.”

Carry yourself—in your purse. That snapshot from your last vacation, with you looking so happy and healthy? The picture from the awards dinner in your honor, when you heard all that applause? Keep it handy.
You’ll feel more powerful and in control of your life.
Glancing at it will remind you of how amazing you are. And you might want to share it, if the opportunity presents itself. Giving your date a gander can spark discussion of how amazing you are. “Fun photos paint a picture of confidence that’s irresistible,” says Kelly. “Imagine you’re back on that beach when describing your last vacation photo with a big smile.”

Be comfortable, be confident. “No need to hold your breath in tight jeans; opt for something with a bit of stretch,” says Premji. Same strategy for shoes. “Your dogs will be barking in minutes if you go with too-high heels. Try leg-lengthening wedges instead or a sandal that laces at the ankle.” Finally, unless you’re totally at ease dressing like Lil’ Kim, be sexy while leaving something to the imagination. “Try peek-a-boo styles: sheer tops over a tank, slit skirts,” Premji says. And remember the rule to only wear one revealing item—for instance, if you’re wearing a short skirt, keep your top demure. Want to show off your shoulders in a pretty camisole? Then keep the skirt longer for more leg-coverage. Leaving something to the imagination is always more alluring than full disclosure on date number one.

Get your story straight. “Everyone has at least one great story from her real-life experience,” says relationship expert Wendy Allen, Ph.D., author of How to Survive the Crisis of an Affair. “Telling it — and telling it well — lets you express yourself in a poised, self-assured way.” Figure out what your story is, and practice telling it in the privacy of your own home. Self-deprecating stories can work well; just steer clear of anything too heavy. Lead in by saying, “Want to hear a great story?” and when you have his attention, begin. Make sure your tale has a beginning, middle and end, and don’t ramble. Bonus tip: If you know a funny (not dirty—at least not yet!) joke and can deliver it like Leno, go for it.

Wear a conversation piece. You’ll feel special sporting something you love, says Premji. Plus, even a fashion-challenged man will notice a unique treasure—like a family heirloom or that exotic necklace you found during your travels.

Clinch eye contact. Want your date to gaze into the windows of your soul? Place a dot of a gold or light-reflecting eye shadow on the center of your eyelid, then blend softly. “Humans beings are naturally attracted to light,” says Galvez. “When you blink, your date will notice and be drawn to the light area but won’t know why.”

Lip it good. The right lip color is an instant lift. Red is a classic choice for women forty-plus, says Galvez. It makes teeth look whiter, which helps encourage you to smile, which exudes confidence. Another option? “Slightly frosty, non-Eighties pink works for me!” says Jenny Sucov, 38. “It flatters every complexion and makes you look tan.”

See your success. “Visualize success on your date—this process forces your mind to create a plan of action,” says life coach Eric J. Aronson, founder of DASH Systems, LLC. “Imagine yourself enjoying yourself on the date; picture yourself as beautiful, sexy, fun and outgoing in the perfect atmosphere.”

Wear blinders. Nothing blows confidence like thinking every other woman in the joint is a supermodel. “Stand tall, and don’t compare your physical appearance to others,” says Aronson. Stay focused on your date and learning about him.

Get physical. Try to fit in a pre-date workout—you know how great kicking butt in tae-bo makes you feel! “A bit of physical exercise before a date increases blood flow and hormone levels to psych you up,” says Aronson.

Keep things in perspective. Unless you’re going to the Oscars or a coronation, a date is still just a date. “I have a calming ritual to clear my head of expectations,” says Robin Glenn, 48. “I tell myself, ‘This is not a big deal’ and ‘Don’t try too hard.’ I always have a better time when I don’t expect it to be mind-blowing.”

Revel in your sensuality. “Walk into a date with a big grin because you are a hot commodity in your sexual prime,” says Kelly suggests. “At this age, you know who you are and what you want, which is a huge turn-on.” So work it to your advantage!

Nina Malkin is the author of 6X: Loud, Fast, and Out of Control.
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