Looking for the perfect ensemble for your night out on the town with that special someone? Seasoned stylist and image consultant George Brescia, mastermind behind George B Style and author of the revolutionary fashion guide Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life, shares some tips on how to choose the clothes that will make you look and feel your best. Read below to discover your perfect Date Night attire, and don’t forget to check out the exclusive excerpt that follows. If you love what you read you’re in luck…Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life is available in stores and online now!

I was having lunch with a friend when my phone rang. Recognizing the caller, and not wanting to be rude, I apologized to her, and took the call—an emergency style-out.

“Red silk strapless, gold statement dangles, and the 4-inch Ruthie Davis sling-backs,” I said into the phone. The caller thanked me (tearfully!), and I hung up. My friend asked, “What was that?” I replied, “This happens all the time…and I LOVE IT!”

After I’ve worked with a client a few times, the phone calls begin, whether it’s a special occasion, a public event, or most important, a Date Night, the stakes are high, and you want to leave your guy breathless.

So let’s get down to it…what do you wear on a Date Night? The first three questions I ask my clients are: (1) Where are you going? (2) What date number is it? and (3) What do you want to say?….Because your look speaks volumes!

1)     Where are you going? Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the place. “Location! Location! Location!” may be a hard and fast rule in searching for a home, but it’s also a great rule for searching through your closet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to talk a girl out of wearing a clingy top and a mini-skirt to her boyfriend’s business dinner. My solution? “S. B. S”…“Sexy But Sophisticated!” Think Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair, or Melanie Griffith in Working Girl after she “rethinks her accessories!”

2)     What date number is this? My rule for the first date is: you have to be exciting! For the tenth date: you have to be more exciting! Did cousin Sally arrange a blind date for you with a guy in the cubicle next to hers? Or is it your tenth date with that special someone, and he’s getting more special by the minute? When it comes to romance, remember, there are no unspecial occasions. You always have to be luminescent. Choose colors that set off your eyes, hair, and skin tone, and make sure your make-up palette is flattering and never overdone.

3)     What do you want to say? Your clothes and your whole appearance from head-to-toe tells the world who you are…so make sure you’re telling the world and your date exactly what you want them to know. A black, one-shoulder matte-jersey Donna Karan with gold accessories can say “city girl.” A floral fit ‘n’ flair from J. Crew can say soft and feminine “girly girl.” And a Ralph Lauren pantsuit with tons of pearls can say chic, sophisticated “career girl.” It’s all up to you.

When the door opens and your date sees you, it’s your story to tell! Remember that you’re the leading lady and all your clothes and accessories are your supporting players. Whether you’re heading out for a night on Broadway or a barbecue on the beach, make it magic…

Keep reading to check out this exclusive excerpt from George Brescia’s Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life!


How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

The story your clothing is telling is only the beginning. Cultivating awareness and learning to pay attention matter not just because of the material results they enable, but also because of what these habits of mind signify in the larger scheme of our lives. What else are you ignoring? Your finances? Your friendships? Your health? I don’t know about you, but I tend to ignore those things I fear, those parts of my life that fill me with uncertainty, anxiety, and dread. Bad idea. When we let fear rule our actions (or lack thereof ), the results are never pretty. A pattern of inattention can be just as impactful, in the negative sense, as calculated intention can be in the positive.

This is obviously true for your wardrobe—a wardrobe built out of fear and inattention will almost certainly be subpar. But because one black hole creates another, you cannot simply close the door to that hot mess of a closet of yours and dwell in the rest of your life without consequences. Or, to put it another way: How you do anything is how you do everything. Think of the care with which a traditional Japanese tea is served, the ceremony with which a kimono is slipped on. Why do the Japanese take such care with their rituals? To cultivate an unbroken sense of grace that extends out from the action to every area of life. Similarly, you can use fashion to become present in your life.

Soon, you will be making conscious decisions about everything you put on your body, and the way in which every piece comes together into a whole picture, every single day. That care will affect the perceptions of every single person with whom you interact, thus shaping your fate in incalculable ways.


Life Is Not a Series of Events

If you’re thinking, Enough already with this awareness / consciousness jibber-jabber, I thought I was reading a book about fashion!, let me put it to you in yet another way: For most of us, real life is not a series of events calling for cocktail dresses, “day-to-night” outfits, or impeccably pressed suits. The average day is generally, well, average, sometimes containing no more exotic a medley than running errands, ferrying children to and fro, making dinner, doing the dishes, tidying up, and, at some point, collapsing in an exhausted heap. But that doesn’t mean there ’s no room for a harmonious and flattering outfit that helps you make the best of your day.

Beyond that, when you dress only for the events you know about, you are missing out on the chance to seize the opportunities you didn’t know were there. Wouldn’t you rather start from a place that has you treating every day as an unknown quantity, full of potential surprises?

Here’s the mind-set from which I operate: I believe that the world is essentially a small town in which you never know who you’re going to run into, and what role that person may come to play in your life. The fact that I live in New York, the biggest small town on this side of Paris, may have something to do with that—our sidewalks boast a heady mix of opportunity, pedestrian traffic, and high fashion. But I’d live by this rule in Tulsa, Dubuque, and Wichita, too. I don’t want to exist in a world in which I wake up and expect that nothing exciting is going to come out of my day! So I always dress as if I might turn a corner and run into my next client, my next best friend, my next big adventure.

What does that mean for a day comprising a session at the gym, a trip to the grocery store, a stop at the dry cleaners? For me, probably a stellar pair of dark jeans, a clean and fresh (that is, not faded or holey) tee, and my cherry-red, twenty-dollar zip-up hoodie. Sounds like a stylist’s dream, right? I’m the first to admit it’s nothing special. But it’s all about that bright red hoodie. I could have worn a gray hoodie—but with a pair of jeans and a tee, what does that outfit say? Don’t look at me, or, expect nothing out of this day. A pop of color changes all of that. Not just any color, of course, but a color that happens to look great on me, that works with and not against my hair color, my skin tone, and my eyes. All of a sudden, I’m noticeable. I’m playful. I’m cheerful. And I’m brave. That twenty-dollar sweatshirt changes everything. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of forethought. Because my closet is filled with clothing that flatters me and that projects a range of positive statements from the casually cheerful to the powerfully tailored, even when I’m rushed and grabbing for something easy and last minute, I’m never in danger of dressing for a drab, fruitless day.

By the end of this book, you’ll be able to say the same. But somewhere along the way, you’re going to have to examine your mind-set and make sure that you’re open to a shift that’s more profound than a superficial makeover. Are you ready to dress for possibility? To prepare yourself, every day, to encounter a matrix of hidden opportunities you don’t know about in advance? It’s a bit scary, to be sure, in the way that the unknown is always scary. But it’s also so exciting.

We want to know what trend is hottest in your city right now. Tell us in a comment below (and don’t forget to mention where you’re from!) to enter for your chance to a 2-hour shopping consultation with George Brescia in New York City! There will be 1 lucky shopping consultation winner and 3 lucky winners who will receive a copy of Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life.

Contest begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday, August 22nd and ends at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 3rd. Sorry, contest open to U.S. residents only. Please click here for complete contest rules.

*Please note, shopping consultation is only held in New York City. XOXO After Dark is not responsible for the winner’s travel, accommodations, and purchases made during shopping consultation. Consultation must be scheduled between September 15th, 2014 and February 15th, 2015.