“Based only on visual details, you associate the other person with one type character or another”

January 25th, 2018

The first date is important to us, especially when we think we might have found the right person. We spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, in front of our wardrobe and we overthink the outfits.

So I made an experiment. I wanted to find out whether three couples involved in long relationships still remember their first date in detail – their clothes, their attitude, their thoughts. Then, when they moved in together, whether they chose to wear pretty clothes around the house, or they were influenced by the other’s style.


Every year they would meet in the same place during summer. During the Ideo Ideis Theater Festival, Adi would take photos and Irina would be a participant.

From a distance, Adi saw an elegant girl in dark-gray and light-gray clothes, mostly light. Irina saw a cheerful, lively, happy guy, and she didn’t understand how anyone could be like that all the time. It was only during that summer of 2015 that something different was going on with him. He looked tired, absent, and she suddenly remembered she had something in her wallet.

“I have a friend, a film editor. I went over to him one day and caught him in the middle of a film editing session. On one side of the table he had a box that he used to toss out the leftovers. I browsed through them and asked if I could take some frames for myself. When I found a frame with Adi in the background, I held it in my hand, smiled and said, “I’m taking this too. A year had passed and, while at a party I noticed he wasn’t being himself. Then I remembered that I still had the film frame in my wallet. I gave it to him. ” Adi now says “She made me happy”.

Adi invited her to the movies, but they ended up going to the theater. They both say it wasn’t like a first date, but they are trying to remember what they were wearing.

Irina wore a pair of black pants she had long searched for in stores – masculine and minimalist in design. A green sweater, padded men’s shoes, a black coat, and she thinks she also had a green blue scarf. “I know I covered my head with the scarf, I remember it was raining.” Adi can’t clearly remember what he was wearing, so he goes by process of elimination. Maybe some pants, a shirt and a coat which he bought nine years ago when H&M had not  open in Romania yet.

Their dates became more frequent, as did the things they were finding out about each other.

“I was always noticing her elegance. One of the reasons I like her so much is the taste she has in clothes – minimalist, with a natural elegance and designs with straight lines.”

“I saw myself in his style. His whole wardrobe was like I would have dressed myself if I were a man. There was simplicity, many shades of blue, mostly dark blue, or just black.”

Since they’re in a relationship…

Adi has started wearing jeans. “He had no pairs of jeans when I met him. He had bought a denim jumpsuit from a Second Hand shop, but I didn’t really like it. “ Adi adds,” I wore it just once and then sat on something that was freshly painted by mistake. Now it has a big red spot on the bottom.”

The first pairs of jeans that Adi found for himself were from Barcelona, during sales season, when he and Irina were on a trip. She says he had more clothes than she did when they began their relationship, but things changed with time – “we probably have an equal amount of clothes now.”

Irina looks for men’s trousers, simple T-shirts without words or prints on them. She has all the Murmur bodysuits, simple ones, and a blue jumpsuit like those worn by workers. All her shoes are black. One exception is a pair of yellow shoes. She takes care of her clothes and feels attached to them, but that’s just because she doesn’t like shopping. She does not have the patience to be searching for things over and over again.

Adi doesn’t keep his clothes in order, only wearing what he spontaneously finds and through rotation. He also feels attached to his clothes, though he has made some cuts and gave away what he wasn’t wearing anymore. He says he finds it hard to give up things . He even kept all of his cameras in his  home. Perhaps they are not meant to be given away, since he usually uses them up to the point of highest degradation. Or so he likes to believe.

Since they’ve moved in together…

During winter, Irina wears a fluffy and soft rabbit suit from Oysho around the house. She’s surprised by how warm it is. In the summer she wears bodysuits or light clothes.

He wears two black silk robes from time to time. One has a dragon on its back. Adi says they are beautiful and they make him laugh. He found them at a flea market.


Irina is currently attending her first year of acting school. Adi has been a photographer for twelve years. When they manage photos sessions together, they also choose clothes together. Their decisions depend on the context. She usually picks up a bunch of clothes but few of them remain at the end of their process.  

“Irina inspires me, and so do Murmur’s clothes. For the first time I tough  of a story that includes both. Last year around this time we were on the train. We went through Sibiu, Timisoara, Arad, Mediaş. I found a cool train station, an old train, and the clothes fit in with the atmosphere, with the chrome. I have kept the photos in my computer for several months without sorting them, without rating them, because I enjoyed them so much. Then I had flashes, more like fantasies, and thought about taking Irina to the Herculane Baths. Andreea Badala gave us several pieces of clothing and we went there and shot from dusk till dawn.”

These kind of moments bring them closer, and they’re surprised about how much they complement each other. Adi says he’s glad he could bring Irina into his work, because he had actually lost his patience with photography before they met, and now he’s unstoppable. Irina hadn’t thought about what photography brought in their relationship, but she thinks there’s a lot going on between them during those moments.

Both of them believe that clothing is important in general, and even more so when two people have their first date. Based only on visual details, you associate the other person with one type character or another. You can tell for example their whereabouts in music, films, you can get a feel of their friends and the places they’ve traveled to. There’s also façade, but most of the time clothes show you how a person lives their life.

Photo credit: Adi Bulboacă & Irina Artenii