Sophie Watson, 26.09.2017

Cuffing season is real, and it's here - so try our autumn dating survival guide!

Our new members' survey of 1500 singles¹ has revealed once and for all that cuffing season is real - so we've put together a guide to help you make the most of it. From how to find a partner, to the top-five autumn date ideas, to tips on planning cute autumn outfits and cosy nights in, we've got romance covered this autumn season!

First things first: what is cuffing season?

Along with words like 'ghosting', 'cushioning', and 'breadcrumbing', 'cuffing season' is one of a hot new breed of dating terms that started as slang but are quickly becoming standard - you can find references to cuffing season on Twitter, in Vogue,2 even in the likes of The Guardian3. As dating lingo popularity goes, cuffing season's star is on the rise. But what is exactly is it?

Unlike many of the other modern dating terms (looking at you, cushioning), cuffing season can actually have quite a sweet definition. It refers to that time of year around October-November when the winds turn chilly, the leaves change colour, the air starts to smell a little like wood smoke – and singles' fancies strongly turn to thoughts of love.

The theory goes that, while the happy-go-lucky summer months are built for fun, the severe colder months are better with a steady partner (aka someone you're 'cuffed' to) by your side. Of course, if you want to be cuffed in time for winter, you really have to start looking in autumn. So, as the first frosts appear and everything becomes pumpkin-spice-flavoured, cuffing season begins.

Does cuffing season really exist?

Cuffing season's existence seems plausible: who wouldn't want to brighten cold-weather dreariness with the glow of love? But is it really something that has a life outside of Twitter hashtags? According to our latest survey of 1500 members, the answer is a categorical yes!

In fact, 70% of those surveyed said they think people are most inclined to look for a serious relationship in the colder months. Getting more specific, 38% said that they're personally more motivated to look for love in the autumn - making it a more popular season to seek romance than spring (32%), summer (17%), and winter (13%).

Further cementing autumn's amorous status, nearly half of people - 46% - say that autumn is the most romantic season of them all. That's more than double the percentage of any other season (21% choose spring, 19% champion summer, and 14% opt for winter). That also means a huge 60% of those surveyed find the cooler months more romantic than the warmer ones.

Finally, the top three words respondents used to describe autumn were 'romantic', 'cuddly,' and 'relaxing.' It seems that, for most, autumn is truly the season of love. Let cuffing season commence! 

cuffing season explained

The cuffing season survival guide

With cuffing season right around the corner, and with our survey revealing that the majority of singles think the coming months are the ideal time to look for love, there's no time like the present to get dating. But what's the best way to make the most of dating in the autumn? We've put together a handy cuffing season survival guide to help you find the perfect autumn outfit, the perfect autumn date idea and, hopefully, the perfect not-just-for-autumn partner!

1. Cute autumn outfits for women (and men!)

First up: the cute autumn outfit. For those who've spent the summer dreaming of thick socks and cosy sweaters, the moment when you can put away the flip-flops and dig out the winter boots is a magical one. But is such an outfit date appropriate?

Thankfully for autumn fanatics, the answer is yes! From adorable beanies to flattering flannels, here are the cute autumn outfits that make British singles swoon:

For women

Over a third of British singles (32%) say that the most attractive autumn date outfit for women is a long sleeved dress with thick tights. Warmth is also attractive: 20% would favour a tailored coat while 19% would opt for a cosy jumper. Very close behind is a warm scarf (12%), while those after a truly cute autumn outfit should round it off with a bobble hat (7%).

For men

Men wanting to impress should base their autumn outfit around a really great coat or jacket: 41% of singles say this is the single most attractive item of autumn clothing a man can wear. Next up is a cosy jumper, a hot favourite of 22% of singles. Men should complete the look with a warm scarf (the #1 choice of 10%), a plaid shirt (6%), and a pair of winter boots (6%).

2. The five best autumn date ideas

Now you have the cute autumn outfit all planned, where are you going to go? Picking a great activity is essential, so our survey asked people to choose their three favourite romantic things to do when it's cold and in the process revealed the UK’s top five autumn date ideas:

cuffing season real
  • Going for a country walk followed by a pub lunch
    Going for a bracing country walk followed by a pub lunch was a runaway hit, by far the most popular of the autumn date ideas. In fact, 71% would pick it as one of their top romantic things to do. Grab your date, grab your cosiest sweater, and find a park or hiking trail that will let you make the most of glorious autumnal air. 
     
  • Watching a movie by the fire with a bottle of wine
    Of course, not all autumn days have that crisp, clear quality that makes hiking so romantic. When the wind is howling and the rain is pouring, there nothing better than the second-most popular date idea - curling up by the fire with a romantic movie, a bottle of wine, and your sweetie. It's a top-three autumn date idea for 70% of British singles.
     
  • Watching the fireworks on Bonfire Night
    However, you can't keep UK couples inside for long! The third most-favoured date idea was attending a firework display together, with 47% of people looking forward to snuggling up together to watch the dazzling colours.
     
  • Going out to see all the autumn colours
    Good news if you’ve already invested in a pair of sturdy boots for the autumn season: 38% of singles think the ideal autumunal date is wandering together through nature, observing the colours of the leaves as they briefly burst into riotous colour. N’aww.
  • Sitting around a bonfire together
    23% of singles would pick going to a bonfiretogether as one of their top three date ideas. This made bonfire-watching a more romantic choice than some of the classic autumn date ideas like tasting seasonal drinks together (like apple cider and pumpkin spice latte) (16%) attending a harvest festival (8%), going apple picking (5%).

3. Staying and cuddling up: the reason for cuffing season

Along with cute autumn outfits and great autumn date ideas, out survey looked at what makes autumn dating so special. The answers were very much in line with the cuffing season theory: people want a steady partner in the autumn because they love having someone to cuddle up to.

Indeed, for 61% of people, the best thing about having a steady partner in the autumn is having someone to stay in with on stormy nights. Next is having someone to plan sunny mini-vacations with - that's the highlight of autumn dating for 16%. Finally, for 10% of singles, the absolute best thing about cuffing season is getting to try all the cute, cheesy autumn date ideas. 

So, if you're planning to make the most of autumn dating, a cosy night in should definitely be on the cards. Here are 10 great indoor autumn date ideas to get you started:

  • Spend an evening snuggled on the sofa devouring your favourite books
  • Try the romantic movie night idea above (bonus points for the wine and fire!) 
  • Host another couple for a board game night
  • Play each other your favourite romantic music and make a playlist
  • Have an indoor picnic (storm, what storm?)
  • Make each other your favourite childhood comfort food and hold a tasting session 
  • Find an old Bob Ross episode and get painting. You have to love those happy (autumn) trees!
  • Have a baking afternoon: apple cider donuts, cookies, and pumpkin pie = love sweet love
  • Take a bubble bath for two (perfect after a crisp walk through crunchy autumn leaves)
  • Start binging a new TV series together. But remember: no watching without your partner!

4. Finding your cuffing season sweetie

Of course, the most essential part of a cuffing season survival guide is the tips on how to find that partner in the first place. EliteSingles' in-house relationship psychologist, Zoe Coetzee, has the following tips for kick-starting your dating life this autumn:

Embrace an autumn-friendly hobby
As the temperatures drop, people tend to seek comfort indoors. In autumn, a good way to still get out there and meet people is to take up a new indoor hobby. Creativity boosts your energy and is a magnet for like-minded singles. Why not take up painting, pottery or even knitting – whatever gets your creativity flowing.

Love to learn and learn to love
Learning a new skill together forms a bond in the beginning stages of a relationship. As the sunlight hours diminish, discover a new skill to keep your days bright. For example, challenge yourself and take a language class or go on a cooking course. Learning boosts your confidence and puts you in a positive space to meet someone new.

Be proactive
In autumn it can be tempting to stay in rather than go out. The danger of this is that your confidence can slump as you feel you aren’t attracting the right kind of person. The reality is that you need to be proactive and put yourself out there. As summer winds down you have more free time to proactively take the steps and meet your match. Today, around one-in-three marriages start online4 so why not join a dating site, and begin your adventure today?

EliteSingles editorial September 2017

If you have autumn date ideas to suggest, or you'd like to know more about this cuffing season survey, then get in touch! You can comment below or email us at editorial@elitesingles.com

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