Hopefully this summer you’ll be romancing a summer fling or a long-term partner. If so, you’ll need to know how to dress to impress. We asked Toronto-based stylist Luis Zulayhka for his expert tips to look picture-perfect for any hot date you may have this summer. “Fashion plays a very important role when it comes to dating,” he says. “It’s not the labels you wear or how much money you’ve spent on your outfit, it’s more about what you project.” Here’s our go-to summer fashion guide for five of the most common summer dates.

What to wear on a date tip #1: To a drive-in movie

Two words: comfortable and casual. Zulayhka recommends wearing “form-fitting and flattering clothing.”
Try a flirty dress or “if you prefer pants, skinny jeans are definitely here to stay.” Wear them with “a tank top or blouse and a cardigan over top. Add natural looking waves to your hair and you are set to enjoy a summer Wednesday night [in] a parking lot of hopeless romantics."

What to wear on a date tip #2: To an outdoor concert

Zulayhka suggests channeling the effortless natural beauty of newbie supermodel Karlie Kloss at Coachella this past spring or better yet Kate Moss at the 2009 Glastonbury Music Festival. Boho-chic is the way to go with “lightweight fabrics in soft or neutral colors that allow [the] body to breathe and look relaxed yet flirty and sexy.” When dressing like boho-chic queen Nicole Richie, the tendency is to over accessorize but as Zulayhka explains “keep the accessories somewhat minimal. You don’t want to lose any of your expensive arm candy or your favorite pair of earrings. You can still make it your own by keeping it unique. [Try] bangles, wrap around bracelets, cuffs or chain necklace with a single pendant.”

What to wear on a date tip
#3: To an amusement park

“Keep it simple and practical,” says Zulayhka. “ When dressing for the outdoors, the first factor to consider is comfort. I would definitely say no dresses [but] this doesn’t mean leaving the feminine touch out. You could totally do a great short jumpsuit, shorts or capri pants.” If you’re itching to
try this summer’s colour blocking trend, this would be the occasion to do it. “Make it playful and colorful with color blocking solids. […] Tie up your hair in a pony, wear simple makeup and you’re ready for a great day full of excitement!” Footwear is important as well and Zulayhka recommends wearing “closed toe slip-ons or sneakers. Avoid regular flats should you be riding roller coasters.”

Check out Luis’ summer fashion tips for two other date scenarios on the next page…

00-Date-dressing-pg-2.jpgWhat to wear on a date tip #4: To a picnic or BBQ
For a picnic in the park Zulayhka suggests wearing a comfortable dress that allows you to move freely. “You definitely want to wear a dress [and] make sure the dress sits three fingers above or under the knee; nothing shorter or longer. This is just to play it safe and under control.” For a backyard barbeque, try a flowing maxi dress. “Think about the ultimate L.A. look. Most women feel so comfortable in these kinds of dresses, because they are not tight and secondly, you can dress it up or down accordingly. Pair your maxi dress with a high bun, a great necklace and sunglasses, [and] you will definitely be invited again.”

What to wear on a date tip #5: To a formal dinner on a restaurant patio or rooftop restaurant
“I would see a cocktail dress or an ensemble for this setup. If your option is the dress, it has to be a cocktail dress, but nothing too extravagant. […] Lace, sequins or just a solid black or white dress are all on trend this season.” For an ensemble, try “a pencil skirt and a beautiful sheer blouse, perhaps a top with detail around the shoulders, or with subtle draping in the back to show a little skin. Button-up shirts with masculine accents is totally in trend, paired with cigarette pants and a jacket or a blazer are a total delight to look at.” In terms of shoes, “a night out is the perfect excuse to bring out your favorite pair of heels […] just make sure they are not too casual. For an evening date, the focus should be on the dress, your hair and makeup and […] shoes [should] compliment the outfit.”

Luis’ essential date dressing dos and don’ts:

DO: Dress like yourself.
“I would much rather see a girl feeling naturally beautiful, comfortable and acting with confidence, rather than being self conscious and not being herself because she is wearing something that is not her.”

DON’T: Shop for your outfit the day of the date.
“When shopping for a special date or function never do it the same day and make sure you try on the items before you leave the store. There is nothing worse than rushing and having to dig in your closet for options.”

DO: Treat yourself with a manicure and pedicure.
“People on dates usually look at each other’s hands during the date while sitting across from each other. Manicured hands on women and men both are definitely [something] to be considered.”

DON’T: Choose the wrong pair of shoes.

“Use common sense. […] Women usually end up pulling flats out of their purses when they get tired of wearing heels. Believe me that is not attractive on a date! It is better to make the right choice beforehand and save yourself the embarrassment.”

DO: Be comfortable and confident.
“The key to a successful and pleasant date is to feel comfortable and confident. Doesn’t matter if everyone else has an opinion. In the end it is you who will be wearing the outfit that day.”

Read more:
Makeup tips: The perfect summer date night looks
6 hot summer dresses under $100
Summer 2012 beach accessories: The season’s hottest straw hats
The best picnic-chic runway looks