If there’s an occasion that’s sure to inspire dread and excitement in equal measure, it’s Valentine’s Day. Neatly plugging the gap between Christmas and Easter, it’s now a major cultural phenomenon. If you’re in a relationship (or you aspire to enter one) then it’s particularly significant. Most of us look to mark the day itself with a one-on-one get-together with the objects of our affections – but such encounters require a little bit of nous in the wardrobe department.
If your Valentine’s Day date is to go off without a hitch, you’ll need to be sure that you’re dressed to impress. This means settling on an outfit and ensuring that it’s sparkling-clean and ready for the night in question. But this can be difficult for several reasons.
To begin with, every Valentine’s date is slightly different. If you’re just starting out on a relationship, then a different approach might be required than the one you’d take after years of co-habitation. Striking the right balance between novelty, class and sex-appeal can be tricky. As luck would have it, we’re on-hand to dispense a few Valentine’s date night outfit ideas. Let’s proceed!
Valentine’s Day Outfit Inspiration
So, you’re struggling for Valentine’s Day outfit inspiration. Let’s ponder a few of the variables. Valentine’s Day outfits are an opportunity to demonstrate your best qualities, while keeping things subtle.
Valentine’s Day Date-Night Outfit
When deciding on a date-night outfit, it’s best to pick a theme and stick to it. Lace detailing will work wonders in some situations, while others might call for bold colours. You’ll be able to get away with a little bit more on Valentine’s Day than you otherwise might; pair a bright-red dress with some bright-red high-heeled shoes if you feel like drawing attention.
Valentine’s Day Date Night Hair
Pouring lots of effort into your dress while neglecting your hair is a definite no-no. Go for something a little beyond the ordinary if you’d like to make an impact: wear your hair up if it’s normally down, and down if it’s normally up. A little extra visual flourish might also be warranted; a flower that’s matched with your outfit might work wonders!
Valentine’s Day Date Night Makeup
Makeup is another area of your Valentine’s Day look where it’s possible to go overboard. Ideally, you want your date’s first thought to be ‘she looks fantastic’ rather than ‘she looks like she’s applied a lot of make-up’. In most cases, less is more – but if your particular style demands otherwise, don’t be afraid to stay true to it.
Valentine’s Day Date Night Shoes
Your shoes form an integral part of your Valentine’s Day outfit. You’ll want to choose comfortable shoes that are appropriate to both the situation and the rest of your ensemble. If you’d like to wear something more formal but you’re worried about your feet aching toward the end of the night, then invest in a little padding around your heel – your date is not going to notice the difference, but your feet might!
Still looking for that perfect shoe for your date night? Browse our ladies’ shoes section for some more ideas…
What to Wear on Date Night
To get the best from your date, you’ll want to consider the activities you’ll be doing. Not only will the setting influence the amount of time your date spends looking at you, it’ll also play a key role in determining how comfortable you are!
Date Night Cinema Outfit
If you’re just going to see a movie and then head home, your outfit should be appropriately casual. Your date will arrive, you’ll engage in some chit-chat, and then you’ll spend an hour or two in a darkened room, saying very little to one another. It’s this former phase where you’ll make an impression, but you’ll also want to ensure that you’re comfortable for the latter, longer phase.
For this reason, a classic pair of ballet flats or trainers are exactly what to wear on a movie date night. They’re comfortable enough that you won’t be tempted to slip them off once the opening titles have rolled.
Date Night Bar Outfit
Heading out for a few drinks and a bit of dancing is slightly trickier to judge. There’s an opportunity to ruin things here, so it’s worth abiding by the classic rules. Don’t show too much skin or you’ll risk looking like you’re trying too hard. Wear something that’s comfortable enough that it won’t distract you from what you’re doing, and yet stylish enough to bolster your confidence. Valentine’s Day is an occasion for intimacy and privacy, and thus a sojourn to the dancefloor might not be on the cards. Nevertheless, it’s worth wearing shoes that you can easily (and gracefully) move around in. Your date probably won’t be impressed if you fall over while attempting the macarena.
Date Night Dinner Outfit
Most date nights will involve some amount of eating. Generally speaking, the amount you’ll be spending on your meal should dictate how elaborate your outfit should be. If the bill comes to more than a day’s wages, it’s time to pull out all the stops! If you’re barely spending an hour’s wages, on the other hand, opt for something more casual. You’ll be sitting down for most of the evening, so be sure that whatever you’re dressed in looks just as good while you’re sat. That little black dress is an obvious candidate for fancier restaurants; pair it with your favourite set of heels and you can’t go far wrong.
Valentine’s Day Date Night Outfit Ideas for Men
Thus far, we’ve spent much of our time dealing with this issue from a female perspective. But for most Valentine’s Day dates, men have a key role to play, too. If you’re a bloke, then it’s worth spending just a little bit of time thinking about what you’re going to wear before the day itself arrives. There’s no need to agonise, but with just a little bit of planning and forethought you can avoid some of the hazards that men tend to stumble into. Let’s cover some basic rules of thumb.
Don’t Dress Up
To begin with, bear in mind that you aren’t going for a job interview, and that this probably isn’t a formal occasion. If it’s a first or second date, then overdressing might easily backfire; you’ll simply look as though you’re trying too hard!
Unless you’ve agreed otherwise with your date, leave the ties in your wardrobe, and opt for some stylish and semi-casual. Place emphasis on looks above all other considerations and you might end up uncomfortable – and then you probably won’t make the best company. At the same time however, you’ll want the confidence that comes with looking your best – we all tend to feel better about ourselves when we’re suitably suited and booted.
Again, certain situations will demand a different tack. If you’ve booked a Michelin-star table, then take things up a notch; if, out of mutual ambivalence at the whole Valentine’s Day procedure, you’re popping down to your local Wetherspoons for a casual beer-and-burger combination, then the jeans-and-t-shirt combination might be better.
Don’t Neglect Grooming
While it might not technically count as part of your outfit, some basic hygiene will go a long way toward ensuring the success of your date (or at least, preventing its failure.) A new haircut will make a decided impact, as will some sparingly-applied fragrance. If you’re sporting a beard, then make sure that it’s suitably trim and luxuriant. Don’t neglect the nose or ear-hair, either; a few stray tufts are enough to ruin even the most carefully-planned date night outfit for men. If her overriding memory of your encounter concerns your hairy nostrils, then you can probably consider the mission failed!
Don’t Neglect Accessories
The right choice of belt, watch and jewellery will make a difference. Here’s where you’ll be able to express some of your personal taste, which she can either be intrigued or repelled by. But you’ll want to impose a few sensible limits on yourself. Display too much bling and you risk looking tacky. And that enormous, dial-covered wristwatch of yours is probably unlikely to impress; you’re conquering dinner, not the Antarctic.
Get the Shoes Right
However impressive a date night outfit for guys might be, it’s sure to be undermined by poorly-chosen shoes. Don’t make the fatal mistake of assuming that no-one is going to be looking at your feet! Don’t wear white socks, and don’t wear sandals. Whatever you do, don’t wear both of them together! Match your footwear with the rest of what you’re wearing, and be sure that they’re properly cleaned and polished. The right choice of men’s shoes for date-night will make the difference between an outfit that dazzles and one that disappoints.
Throwing together a Valentine’s Day ensemble needn’t be a source of stress. After all, it’s just like any other date – except with a little extra cultural baggage. Follow the basic rules of dating etiquette, and remember to be yourself. If you’re dressed appropriately, this should be enough to propel you toward dating success!