Cuffing season is real, and it’s here – so try our fall 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 fall date ideas, to tips on planning cute fall outfits and cozy nights in, we’ve got romance covered this fall 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 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 fall. 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 fall – making it a more popular season to seek romance than spring (32%), summer (17%), and winter (13%).

Further cementing fall’s amorous status, nearly half of people – 46% – say that fall 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 fall were ‘romantic’, ‘cuddly,’ and ‘relaxing.’ It seems that, for most, fall is truly the season of love. Let cuffing season commence!

Cuffing season  - is it real? Infographic from EliteSingles

The cuffing season survival guide

In addition to the survey, we analyzed anonymous data from 30,000 of our 2016 members. We found that from October to November last year, female registrations in Canada increased by 9.1%, while male registrations increased by 13.4%. With this trend predicted to continue in 2017, singles will be in good company if looking for a partner this fall – especially if they want to be cuffed in time for the really cold weather to hit. But how can singles make the most of cuffing season?

With no time like the present to get dating, we’ve put together a handy cuffing season survival guide to help you find the perfect fall outfit, the perfect fall date idea, the perfect cozy fall night in and, hopefully, the perfect not-just-for-fall partner!

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

First up: the cute fall outfit. For those who spend the summer dreaming of thick socks and cozy 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 fall fanatics, the answer is yes! From adorable dresses to flattering flannels, here are the cute fall outfits that make Canadian singles swoon:

For women
More than a third of Canadian singles (35%) say that the most attractive fall date outfit for women is a cute dress with thick tights. Warmth is also attractive: 19% would favour a cozy sweater while 13% would opt for a tailored coat. Very close behind is a pair of warm leggings (12%), while those after a truly cute fall outfit should round it off with a warm scarf (9%).

For men
Men wanting to impress should base their fall outfit around a really great coat or jacket: 41% of singles say this is the single most attractive item of fall clothing a man can wear. Next up is a cozy sweater, a hot favourite of 25% of singles. Men should complete the look with a flannel shirt (the #1 choice of 13%), a warm scarf (7%), and a toasty toque (5%).

2. The five best fall date ideas

Now you have the cute fall 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 Canada’s top five fall date ideas:

The 5 best fall date ideas in Canada

  • Taking a walk to see the leaves changing colours
    Taking a walk to see the beautiful fall colours was a runaway hit, by far the most popular of the fall date ideas. In fact, 4/5 people – 80% – would pick it as one of their top romantic things to do. Grab your date, grab your coziest sweater, and find a park or hiking trail that will let you make the most of glorious Canadian fall in all its riotous colour.
  • Watching a movie by the fire with a bottle of wine
    Of course, not all fall days have that crisp, clear quality that makes hiking so romantic. When the wind is howling and the rain is pouring, there’s 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 fall date idea for 72% of Canadians.
  • Going to a cookout/bonfire together
    However, you can’t keep Canadian couples inside for long! The third top-three date idea was attending a bonfire or cookout together, with 35% of people looking forward to snuggling up together – ideally with the ingredients for some Nanaimo s’mores.
  • Co-hosting a Thanksgiving dinner
    If your idea of romantic cuisine is more intricate than marshmallows on sticks, you’ll love the next fall date on the list. 24% of people would choose hosting a Thanksgiving meal together as one of their top-three date ideas. Of course they’d better start planning soon as Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away (at least in this part of the world!).
  • Attending a hockey game together
    Just under a fifth of singles (18%) would pick going to a hockey game together as one of their top three date ideas. This made hockey a more romantic choice than some of the classic fall date ideas like going on a hay ride (16%), visiting a pumpkin patch (15%), and tasting seasonal drinks together (like apple cider and pumpkin spice latte) (14%).

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

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

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

So, if you’re planning to make the most of fall dating, a cozy night in should definitely be on the cards. Here are 10 great indoor fall 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 (fall) 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 fall 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 insight 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 fall:

Embrace a fall-friendly hobby
As the temperatures drop, people tend to seek comfort indoors. In fall, 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 fall 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 fall 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 [email protected]


1 All survey statistics from the EliteSingles ‘Cuffing Day’ survey. Sample size: 1500 members of EliteSingles.

2 Patricia Garcia, writing for Vogue. Does Cuffing Season Really Exist? Found at

3 Gavin Haynes, writing for The Guardian. Cushioning, breadcrumbing or benching: the ​language of modern dating. Found at

4 Larry Magid, writing for Forbes. A Third of Recently Married Couples Met Online and They’re More Satisfied and Less Likely To Split-Up. Found at

About the author: Sophie Watson

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