What to Wear on Your Valentine's Date

Whatever your plans, Valentine's Day calls for extra care with your look.
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Each year, as winter hits its stride, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives and greeting-card writers start planning for love's big day. Night out? Make it romantic. Night in? Make it new and different. Putting together a new outfit? Make it suit the occasion.

You may have already chosen some Valentine's lingerie, but chances are you'll want to wear something over it during your date. Whatever your evening plans, you can make them even more special, even more "yay for love," with the perfect look.

Whether you're heading to the opera or to the couch, Valentine's Day calls for some extra care with your dress. This is not just any day. There are greeting cards about this day. There are chocolates shaped into hearts.

Here, some ideas on what to wear for your big night. While fashion doesn't typically favor sparkly pink hearts, rest assured there are ways to express your love of love without sacrificing style.

Boyfriend Jeans to Ball Gowns

Dressing for Valentine's Day doesn't have to entail wearing red and pink and hearts -- although it could, with an eye to minimalism. No, Valentine's Day style comes in many forms, and which suits you best depends on your style -- or at least on the style you decide to go with for this night.

Want to channel a romantic look? Lace, ruffles, girlie prints and flowing, bohemian styles work perfectly to create a romantic Valentine's look. To make it holiday-specific, throw in some red and pink accents, and maybe even a heart-shaped accessory for good measure. We would not at all object to a crystal-covered, heart-shaped clutch. Some ideas:

  • Casual -- Jersey palazzos, lacey tank, cropped wrap cardigan, charm necklace, ballet flats
  • Cocktail -- party dress, Mary Jane heels, lace gloves, fringed silk wrap
  • Formal -- layered silk gown, satin elbow-length gloves, heart-shaped crystal drop earrings, lace-detail pumps

Valentine's Day does seem to cry out for romantic looks, but classic is always appropriate, as suited to Feb. 14 as to any other day. Accessories are the key with the understated look. Think Audrey Hepburn with a tiny, red velvet rose pinned in her hair. It says "Be my Valentine" quietly, in tailored, body-grazing cuts and one or two statement pieces selected for the day. A few options:

  • Casual -- bootcut jeans, printed shell, shrunken blazer, leather boots
  • Cocktail -- LBD, pointy-toe pumps, layered necklace, cashmere wrap
  • Formal -- black column gown, silk wrap, statement cuff, strappy red heels

Of course, even if classic is your favorite style, you may be looking for something a little different for this particular date. Sexy is, for many women, synonymous with Valentine's Day. There's no better time to let your inner seductress out, and not just in your lingerie. Cleavage-baring, curve-hugging looks in sexy red or black, propped on sky-high heels or over-the-knee boots pair perfectly with candlelight. Some possibilities:

  • Casual -- skinny jeans, low-cut wrap top, over-the-knee boots, fedora
  • Cocktail -- strapless mini-dress, bold lips, platform heels, shoulder-duster earrings
  • Formal -- slit-leg gown, strappy stilettos, cleavage-grazing pendant necklace

Whatever the style, you're going to want to make sure it still works for you when you're well into your date. Next, a few tips for loving your look in the long-run.

Valentine's Day Dressing Tips

What's sadder than a candlelit evening spent wishing you'd worn something else? Well, lots of things, actually, but it's still an unfortunate spot to be in on a Valentine's date. So, a few tips to help you love what you end up in, no matter which way you go:

  • Be yourself -- If it's not "you" on Feb. 13, it's not going to be you on Feb. 14. By all means, take risks -- fashion is all about it -- but make sure what you wear suits your overall style, lest you end up feeling like you're in a costume.
  • Be subtle -- If you choose to don some Valentine-specific accents, be selective and err on the side of caution. If you're carrying a heart-shaped clutch, leave the heart-shaped earrings at home. Please.
  • Be comfortable -- It can be tempting to throw comfort to the wind when dressing for a special night, but beware: Discomfort can ruin the mood. At the very least, make sure you've got room in your dress to enjoy a truffle or two and that you can walk in your shoes. You never know where the evening might take you (a romantic stroll, my love?).
  • Be versatile -- If your date location is a surprise, wear something you can dress up or down and carry different shoe, accessory and makeup options along on the date.

Romantic night out or special night in, what you wear can make or break your date as much as where you go and whom you go with -- or not, but it can definitely make you happier with the pictures after the fact. Valentine's memories are forever. Just ask the greeting card.

For more information on Valentine's Day and holiday style, check out the links on the next page.

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More Great Links


  • Fashion Trends Archive. Vogue. (Feb. 4, 2012) http://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/trends/archive
  • Got a Valentine's Day date? Here's what to wear. Today Style. MSNBC. Feb. 14, 2007. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/17117714/ns/today-style/t/got-valentines-day-date-heres-what-wear/#.TycHU_lWpm4
  • You Have a Romantic Clothing Personality! The Chic Fashionista. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://www.thechicfashionista.com/romantic-clothing-personality.html
  • Metz, Lauren. "Rachel Zoe Selects Her Valentine's Day Fashion Faves." Bravo TV. Feb. 8, 2011. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/the-dish/rachel-zoe-selects-her-valentines-day-fashion-faves