fashion

ROAD TEST: Solo date days that every woman should try.

Bras N Things
Thanks to our brand partner, Bras N Things

I’ve had a personal goal as of late to master the art of dating myself.  

Regardless of my happily coupled-up relationship status, there’s something to be said about taking yourself on solo dates. 

Not only are you curating the life you want by doing exactly as you please – but you’re also building confidence and empowering yourself.

Sitting with the initial discomfort helped me realise there shouldn’t be any discomfort in the first place. 

There’s a certain outdated stigma about being alone; that you have no friends, partner, or loved ones to go anywhere with. 

Once you try it though, you can reclaim this narrative and turn it into whatever you want it to be. It becomes an active and liberating choice.

No longer will you be beholden to the ebbs and flows of your friends' social calendars; no longer will you have to vet potential candidates for their suitability to a particular activity. 

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

In some societies like Japan, dining out alone isn’t just a socially acceptable thing to do: it’s the norm.

There are even 'solo-only' bars and a growing hashtag on Instagram, #ohitorisama, which loosely translates to ‘party of one.'

So while as humans we might not be naturals at being alone, it’s definitely a growing phenomenon we can be embracing.

It's also a skill that once learnt, can foster a deeper connection to self and that’s something we all should aim for.

How did I go about these, ‘solo dates’? Well, first of all, I didn’t make a big deal of them. They weren’t extravagant dates. They were just the kind of dates that I would normally do with someone else, but challenged myself to do alone.

I realised how easy it is to romanticise my everyday life. Call anything a ‘date’ and it’s a date to you.

Here are 5 solo date ideas I took for a spin.

Going to an art gallery

Art galleries are essentially designed for solo dates. Meandering around rooms with another person can be… stressful. 

Like do you have to look at the same painting at the SAME time? Or do you divide and conquer and then find your way back together once you finish each room (in which case, you might as well go alone). 

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Then there’s the added pressure to provide insightful commentary throughout to show your accompanying gallery-goer that you really get it.

We don’t have time for these niceties and logistical considerations.

That’s why I decided to go to the Art Gallery of NSW alone.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales. Image: Supplied.

It wasn’t that daunting at all, as it’s pretty silent in there anyway and everyone’s just doing their own thing and minding their own business. I loved that I could go at my own pace and get lost in my own thoughts.

Top tip: head in early to avoid the crowds and really soak up that solitude. 

Self-timer is your friend on solo dates. Image: Supplied.

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Take yourself shopping

It’s best to go it alone.

If I want anyone else’s opinion, I’ll just snap a photo to them accompanied by a lot of question marks. I don’t need them waiting impatiently outside my change room telling me to come out when I’m ready.

Communal shopping is one of those things that is better in theory than in practice. When I’m at the shops, I need to be on my own schedule. I've got a list of shops I want to go to in my head and I want to take my time perusing anything my heart desires. 

For this date day, I took myself lingerie shopping which was a complete act of self-love. Any day that you’re trying on bras and undies for the pleasure of it, is a good day in my book.

As a bigger chested girl (hello 10E), I’ve had my fair share of disappointing shopping experiences for lingerie. Trust me, it’s difficult to find elegant lingerie that fits us larger busted gals. Some create an overspill around my back, some create a bulge at the top and others dig in at the shoulders. 

That’s why I’ve always headed to Bras N Things because I have a 100% hit rate there. 

As soon as I walk in the door, there are so many options and they have my size in everything. I’ve been wearing Bras N Things for years, because as you know, once you find a bra you love, you never want to shop anywhere else. 

This day I headed to Bras N Things in Bondi Junction, my favourite store, and was immediately excited by all the new colours of sets they had.

I want them... all. Image: Supplied.

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I picked up some things I liked and headed into their change rooms where I was welcomed by one of their fit experts (they really know what's up). 

They were so helpful and also were so lovely in complementing me which was a much-welcomed addition to my solo shopping trip. Always love a women-supporting-women moment.

Selfie mode is the way to go. Image: Supplied.

I tried on a gorgeous black balconette bra, a black slip and robe, as well as a hot pink bodysuit. The latter was not something I might usually go for, but I was really feeling myself this day and wanted to try something new. 

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I loved the laced-up detail. Image: Supplied.

It fit perfectly. There’s something so powerful about a woman admiring herself in a mirror in lingerie. I felt like I had so much confidence and I was doing it all for me. I was also reminded of that luxurious feeling you get when you put on a matching set. It just makes you feel as if you have your life together, no matter who sees it.

All black everything. Image: Supplied.

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It was so fun to play dress-ups this day and I left with this beautiful underwire, balconette bra that will be perfect for those days where I want to feel a bit special, while still having full coverage and support for the girls. 

The winner. A black lacey bra is an absolute staple. Image: Supplied.

It’s the type of bra you’d wear with the straps sticking out under a singlet and it would be alluring and mysterious, you know?

Going to a new gym class

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t a date per se, but you’ll still end up hot and happy you went by the end of it.

I’d had this bootcamp on my fitness bucket list for so long but had been putting it off because apparently it’s one of the most high-intensity workouts, ever (that's what I kept hearing at work anyway). Definitely not something you want to be doing with a friend in tow.

Their "Red Room." Image: Supplied.

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So I took myself along to this Surry Hills studio one day after work and got assigned a treadmill and a ‘floor’ number. It was daunting at first but then the lights switched off and we were just a bunch of silhouettes sweating in the dark together and it was great.

Oh.. I made it. Image: Supplied.

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By the time class finished, I was running on so much adrenaline I just started chatting to people afterward which is definitely something I wouldn’t have done if I had gone with a friend. I even connected Apple Watch activity trackers with someone so we could get competitive with each other next time!

Going to a cafe or book shop

Bonus points if you combine the two. Yes, I’ve gone to cafes by myself before, and yes I’ve gone to book shops as well, but making a day out of the two is really something else. 

I went to Ampersand Book Cafe in Paddington, Sydney and with its three stories of secondhand books, it’s easy to while away the best part of a day there.

I made it a progressive date, so starting on the bottom floor, me and my date (myself) got cosy on a couch and started reading.

Then I made my way up to the second floor where I grabbed a bite to eat in a little nook while reading cooking books.

Cute lunch spot. Image: Supplied.

Then I went up to the top level and settled in for the afternoon with my laptop and a coffee.

I'm not leaving. Image: Supplied.

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The best thing about going on a solo date to a bookshop cafe is that the staff are more than happy for you to stay as long as you want, it’s even facilitated. With free Wi-Fi and powerpoints, they’re great places to set up for the day. 

Head to a concert

No, I don’t mean those mosh pit, dancing type ones. But if you want to go them alone too, more power to you.

I mean the type of concerts where you sit and you listen. Nothing is required of you. You’re just a passive absorber of culture.

Luckily for me, I snagged some complimentary tickets from my friend who was performing in a candlelight Cello recital last week so it was the perfect opportunity to trial the solo date.

This is so romantic... for me. Image: Supplied.

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I dressed up for myself and headed into the city where I was seated pretty much in the front row. I swear I didn’t take my eyes off the performance the whole time. I was completely captivated. I had no distractions and no one next to me to glance at to check that they too, were having a good time.

So magical. Image: Supplied.

I felt a weird sense of achievement on my way home like I had finally put myself in the driver's seat of my life and had just experienced something purely for the purpose of my own happiness.

Are you a fan of taking yourself on solo dates? Where do you go and what do you do? Tell us in a comment below.

Be the author of your own story, and find new things to explore on your solo dates in the new Bras N Things collection. Here's to feeling and being all that we are and all that we can be.

Feature Image: Getty/Supplied.

Bras N Things
Women aren't one-dimensional. So why should our stories be? We believe it's time we took control of the narrative. Owned our fantasies. Our desires. Our bodies. For all they are. And all they could be. There's always more to explore. More to express. More to be. Explore your Things.