The Tryout: Tinder Test

We test 4 Tinder aesthetics in the name of love, research and fashion

By Zoya Pon

I've had Tinder before, just FYI – until I was banned for catfishing. My introduction to the dating app was cut short when a friend nicked my phone and swiped right with abandonment.

Anyway, in the name of love, in the name of research and, of course, fashion I appealed my Tinder ban (up until now I've done alright meeting men in person). Once I'd got it back I thought long and hard about the four main style archetypes I find myself fitting more or less into (most of the time) and styled myself as close as I could to each, creating four different profile 'personas' and swiping an average amount per day, for a set amount of days (leaving my bio the same of course and keeping it as simple as possible). 

LOOK 1: The Girl Next Door



Show me a guy who says they like women who dress casually, with natural makeup and I'll show you another guy who agrees. We get it, y'all like it natural. But the word 'natural' among women, in regards to makeup, is an exaggeration (or understatement? whatever). Alas, the natural look was sure to be a winner. "Style was a big thing, you looked interesting," says Mpumi. "The look of a comfortable t-shirt and jeans [is] sometimes the sexiest," agrees Neels. "Your style said that you like taking care of yourself and you like to make an impression on someone."

Furthermore, my girl next door look was the most successful in conversation. I didn't begin any conversations because I was curious which look was more approachable or most likely to inspire a DM. Therefore, this look was most likely to elicit a first message. Men were a lot more interested in what I did for a living here. "The fact you're a writer and fashionable suggests you're creative, which I find stimulating," said Joseph. "You're dressed very well in your first photo [and] I'm sure that contributed slightly."

LOOK 2: Classy



We all know that how you dress speaks volumes about you, but how much does this affect your love life? A lot, apparently. This more 'classy', structured, simple and mature look (as compared to my usual style) affected the amount I was swiped right in comparison to the first, and how I was spoken to. Men were less concerned with how I looked and super simple with their icebreakers, mostly starting with a generic "Hi, how are you?"

The men who swiped right were also more concerned with connection. "For me style isn't a big influence – it's a nice to have if you know what I mean," said Tagara. "Style would only play a role for me if I was to get into a serious relationship with the girl." While Oliver says, "Your look and style is what made me swipe right" – he mentions my second photo as a fave – "I think physical attraction is the initial connection, then personality makes you stay or not."

Over and above how it affected my match success, this look proved another point to me: your style really does influence how you see yourself and act. Not surprisingly, my sophisticated, neat look didn't perform the best, but if I were looking for a deeper connection, this is what I'd go for.

LOOK 3: Street



This one's for my trendy, streetstyle kweens. I decided to add one professional photo here. Men opened with more original lines, and mentioned my hair a lot. That may be because it ties in with the look and therefore stands out more, but it may also be because matches seemed to equate this look more with interesting and original qualities. Robert says what struck him first was my "originality", saying my look told him I'd be "someone funny and interesting".

The men I matched with on this look were definitely more style-conscious, and liked a girl who was too. "Your style influenced [the decision to swipe right] quite a lot," says Keenan. "It gave me a bit more info as to what kind of person you were… I think your style says a lot about you." Even though another match, Nathan, was pretty stylish himself he pointed out that while style is a factor, "I don't think one thing (like style for instance) is enough to sway anyone on its own."

LOOK 4: Glam



For this glamorous look I chose to use photos from my modeling portfolio where my makeup had been professionally done and my styling curated. Personally I thought that it might be intimidating therefore lead to less conversations. I wondered how much 'natural' really mattered in matters of the heart. While the most successful in terms of matches, less men struck up conversations (though still more than looks 2 and 3).

When they did though, their opening lines were the most creative and to the point where one charming man said, "Let's just assume we're already infatuated with each other and plan our first date?" 

What I found out was quite unexpected: 

1) There are a lot of dogs on Tinder, to my glee (surely a tactic, and a good one too – I see you!) 

2) The way you present yourself (from style to bio) can depend on, and heavily influence your success in, what you're looking for.

3) people are willing to answer questions most of the time if you ask nicely.

4) I might have underestimated men. Style is very, very important in attracting them (and people in general). 

Feel free to take notes – or not, because duh, the only person that needs to like how you dress is, well, you!

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