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What to Wear on a Bowling Date

Bowling is hot! In fact, it has become so popular that, as of December 2021, it has climbed to be the number 1 fun activity in the United States. This translates to 67 million people who bowled in 2021, with 95 % of those bowled doing so for the social aspects of the sport – such as in drinking, eating, and general merriment. What this means is that bowling is a great option for dating. So, what to wear on a bowling date is what this article is all about.

Changes in Bowling

Serious bowling? You’ll be hard-pressed to enter that realm considering the serious decline in bowling for competition. Also, the great popularity of league bowling in the 1970s has dwindled considerably since the 1980s. Along with that is the closure of bowling centers from 11,000 in the early 1960s down to 4100 today. These closings are largely the result of the decline in leagues, which were the major money-makers for bowling alleys in the past.

However, interestingly, those 4100 actually represent growth as bowling remakes itself to be one aspect of activities in a “family center,” comprised of video games, go-carts, bumper cars, climbing walls, miniature golf, and more. If you think about it, these centers offer a super opportunity for dating. In this realm, what to wear on a bowling date has changed from the days of the league shirts.

A Bowling Date versus Other Date Options

That’s right. A bowling date is one of the coolest and most informative dates you can go on. Think about it. Dinner at a restaurant – sure, you can have a conversation, and that is one way to get to know someone, but essentially, it can be boring because your date will be on their best behavior. A movie? How can you get to know someone when you are both in the dark? But bowling? Read on!

What to wear on a bowling date
Jeans work well for bowling dates, but you have many options for your bottom clothing choice

Why Bowling?

When you are on a bowling date, you learn so much about the other person. Here are just a few things:

  1. How does your date handle competing with you?
  2. How does your date react when you carry on – loudly – about winning or losing?
  3. How does your date react – loudly? – about winning or losing?
  4. Is your date cool about wearing rented bowling shoes?
  5. What does your date have on their feet before putting on bowling shoes? A dirty bare foot can be a showstopper.
  6. How much and what type of food does your date eat while bowling?
  7. How many drinks of the alcoholic type does your date consume while bowling?
  8. Does your date care about trying to bowl well, or do they just throw the ball down the alley carelessly?

What to Wear on a Bowling Date

So now that you get all the reasons why a bowling date is so valuable, it’s time to check your wardrobe for the most appropriate what to wear on a bowling date outfit. Whatever you choose – comfort is key. Too tight, too short, or too loose – as in your pants will fall down — you want to avoid at all costs.

Outfits that bind affect your ease of movement, which will affect your bowling game by preventing your ability to flex, stretch, and properly let go of the ball.

Some viable possibilities for comfortable and functional clothing include:

  • Classic bowling shirt
  • T-shirt style bowling shirt
  • Polo-style bowling shirt
  • Loose jeans
  • Comfortable khakis

Classic Bowling Shirt

This retro style of shirt has been around for years. It usually is styled with color blocks, although today, there are a variety of funky prints available. These shirts are button-down, and in the old days, they had the name of the league and its logo imprinted on the back. In addition, the name of the player would be imprinted on the breast pocket. These shirts are loose, totally non-binding, and comfortable. The older shirts were made of an irritating material that caused the wearer to itch. However, today’s shirts are made of breathable material, such as polyester combinations. They are appropriate for both men and women.

T-Shirt Style Bowling Shirt

A modern take on the official bowling short, the T-shirt style has the team and logo imprinted on the back of the shirt, usually with nothing on the front. The T-shirt is as comfortable as its name implies. For non-leaguers, and the casual bowler, a T-shirt is a great option for what to wear on a bowling date.

Polo Style Bowling Shirts

Just as this style has become popular in general, so has it in the bowling alley. Made from cotton or a cotton blend, these shirts are comfortable and loose-fitting for league bowlers and would have the name of the league and team logo embroidered.

On the Bottom

Now that you have a good idea of what shirt to wear, what’s the best pant style to pair it with?

Classic Bowling Shirt: With this style of shirt, what to wear on a bowling date are comfortable jeans or khaki pants.

Polo Bowling Shirt: Also, your best match with this shirt are jeans and khakis.

T-shirt Style Bowling Shirt: Again, what to wear on a bowling date with this top option are also jeans and khakis, but what would also work are tights, leggings, and yoga style pants.

What to wear on a bowling date
Comfortable Clothes are a must on a bowling date

What to Wear on a Bowling Date: About Jeans

Jeans are a great option to wear on your bowling date, but with two caveats. First – you don’t want them to be too tight, so they restrict your range of motion, and you also don’t want to wear the low-rise style, which might require constant pulling up and resulting discomfort during the game.

Can You Wear Shorts?

When it’s hot, you want to dress as coolly as possible. However, the bowling alley may be air conditioned, and instead of dressing for the heat, you could end up being cold. Also, avoid wearing tight shorts for the same reason as avoiding tight pants. And short-shorts could end up being a source of embarrassment, or at least inappropriate, even if you think they’re the best option for what to wear on a bowling date.

Can You Wear a Skirt?

Short skirt? No. Tight skirt? Also, not a good idea. If you do decide to wear a skirt, opt for a knee or longer length. Just don’t wear a skirt so long that you’ll trip over it.

Now For Your Feet

For both men and women, there are three types of shoes to wear on the bowling alley. These are:

  1. Rented bowling shoes
  2. Performance bowling shoes
  3. Athletic bowling shoes

Rented Bowling Shoes

If you’ve ever bowled before, which you probably have since you are going on a bowling date, you know all about the unattractive, funky rental type bowling shoes. If you are not familiar with bowling, it works like this: you rent the shoes, play in them, and return them when you have finished playing. A very important fact about renting shoes: wear socks! And if you are not wearing socks, bring a pair. Wearing socks is a matter for both your, and anyone else who wears them, safety.

Performance Bowling Shoes

If you are a more serious bowler, then you know about performance bowling shoes. Each shoe is designed differently. One shoe is meant to brake and the other, to slide. Which is which depends on whether you are right or left-handed. If you decide to buy a pair of performance bowling shoes for yourself, do be prepared as they are on the expensive side.

Athletic Style Bowling Shoes

The athletic style shoe is designed to keep your feet comfortable when you are having a long night in the alley. These shoes are generally worn by serious and/or frequent bowlers.

Loose Bowling Shoes

No matter what type of bowling shoe you wear, make sure they are not too loose. Loose shoes will affect your balance which is not a good thing for your game. Make sure what you put on your feet is snug without being too tight.

Video: Bowling Makes A Great Date Night!

Bowling will allow you to learn so much more about your date than a typical movie and dinner! This video provides a great summary.

This short video will demonstrate just how revealing a night of bowling can be.

Remember: Comfort First!

As you ponder what to wear on a bowling date, keep in mind the necessity of wearing loose, comfortable clothing to play your best possible game while enjoying your date and having a good time!

Jenna Reign
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