Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day. Yesterday I saw a sign that read “fall in love with tea” – we’ve truly jumped the shark of commercialisation. However, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to do two things I love:
- Buy myself crap I don’t need and call it “self care”
- Dress up real pretty and eat something fancy AF
Since we canvassed option number one last year, this year I present to you five possible outfits to wear on Wednesday evening. I note these can be worn with a lover, or without. Personally, I’ll be wearing…something…and babysitting so that my friends can have a nice dinner together. Ah, spinster best mates, babysitting on 14 February since ages ago.
easy wrap dress
Wrap dresses are everywhere this year thanks to a brand called Reformation, and are great for one major reason – they look good on everyone. They are democracy in a dress – there is truly an option for all women (and any non-women) who want to wear one.
They’re excellent as a date option because if you have any kind of boobage they look v alluring. I can’t model that look for you, as I have what I once heard delightfully described as “fashion tits” (i.e. the figure of a pre-teen boy). Having said that, with the aid of a very padded push up bra, even I have the suggestion of a curve in this dress. Plus, terribly fun to whip off in the post-dinner gymnastics. (Although I always eat too much fancy dinner and then just want to lie around groaning. Why am I single again? *pondering emoji*)
Alternatively, this is a sensational “from work to cocktails with your work best mate” option. Chuck a cami under this for modesty purposes during the day (if you want – I wouldn’t bother as it sits flat against the skin and my bony bony sternum is not sexxxxy enough to be considered inappropriate for work). Then whip that cami off and sashay out of the office and into a local bar for an excellent and in depth discussion of every aspect of your non-work lives. Don’t talk about work on Valentine’s Day – you deserve a break.
Alternative title: seriously, it’s just like togs calm down. Now, do not wear this to work. I can tell you that your manager just wants a quiet life, and doesn’t want to be having a convo with you about why you’re wearing a red bra under a lace top on a Wednesday. BUT, definitely wear this on a date – especially if you usually keep your look pretty demure. Repeat after me: a bra is just a better breed of bikini top. You need not be afraid.
The key is to make sure that the bra looks like part of the outfit, that is, intentional. I know those nude Berlei bras are Maximum Comfortable, but wearing one of those under a thin white shirt that’s gone kinda grey because nobody has time to separate darks and lights in the washing machine is not what you’re going for here. Do you own a black bra and black trousers? Yes? Then you can pull this off with the simple addition of a lace top – keep it to black and it won’t seem too daunting.
Personally, I prefer this with these wide-legged Moschino trousers that have the air of 80s man-style dressing about them. It’s like boudoir on the top, boardroom on the bottom, and you know I love some juxtaposition in fashion. However, you could also wear this combination with a skirt (of whatever length takes your fancy) – perhaps you have great legs and want to give them a bit more spotlight. Steer clear of the mini skirt though, unless you’ve gone with a full length sleeve – anticipation is part of the allure.
short shorts and silk
Speaking of mini skirts, here’s another way to show a bit of leg: short shorts! I strongly recommend these if your boyfriend has said he’s taking you on a “mystery date” – the last time a boyfriend did that to me, we hiked up a hill in a strong gale for a picnic. I nearly died, but at least I wasn’t wearing a skirt while I tried to navigate the trails through the forest. They’re perfect for a beach outing, surprise picnic (nobody enjoys sitting on the ground in a butt-skimming skirt) and for a restaurant, courtesy of their high waist and cuffed leg.
I’m a major fan of the silk shirt for any and all date activity, but you’ve got to find one that unbuttons to just the right depth – there should be a button directly over the centre bit of your bra, for chest baring perfection. The bright pink of this number might be a little obvious for Valentine’s Day (or not! Go for it!).
If you’re not out and about with the person of your dreams this Wednesday, this outfit is also perfect for pizza and wine on the beach with your best mate, or your Mum, because while it can be sexy, that’s mostly contextual and when you’re eating one too many slices of cheesy goodness it will just look casual and cool. Don’t panic if you accidentally drop grease on it – silk is surprisingly easy to care for. Just think of it as cotton’s more delicate best mate.
There are lots of shorts in the world, but these look comfy as well as dressy enough. This is technically a pyjama shirt but I think it would look excellent out on the town. On the list of other things I want to be able to justify: this monkey shirt from Karen Walker.
the perfect skirt for dancing
You don’t need to show a lot of tits and ass just because it’s Valentine’s Day, and here is exhibit A: a maxi skirt and white tshirt combo. This skirt is still in stores and everyone should run to buy it now – I love a good princess skirt situation and this one makes me feel extremely grand (and yet very fun). Remember when Kate Middleton and Prince William split up and for a brief second she was a really fun party girl? This skirt is like that Kate and current boring Kate got together. Modest, but with a bit of something flirty going on.
I’ve worn this look to work before, so you can definitely do a “desk to date night” move in it if you work somewhere that isn’t too far up its own boring backside. In our steamy summer Valentine season, the blend of cotton and silk is breezy and delicious, and I can definitely imagine sitting under a large umbrella drinking a Negroni and being witty and charming. A red lip is the best option for the outfit, but I appreciate it is totally useless if you want to have a cheeky snog, so perhaps find a lip stain to cover your bases or opt for a more natural lip.
There’s only one thing to do in this skirt – have a bloody good boogie, and thanks to the powers of my friend Daniil, here is my stirling demonstration:
shoulders and statement earrings
Last but not least, the strapless option. Two things makes this a winning look: it’s great for those of us who don’t have many curves, and it’s great for us who have bought into the statement earring trend like it’s our job. I do not have the arms of Michelle Obama (please note all my poses involve having my arms away from my sides) but I do have short hair and a neck of reasonable length, plus [redacted] pairs of long earrings to enhance the lengthening effect. Long-haired ladies, lean into the recent revival of hair jewellery and pin that stuff up into a fetching style.
I will say this – even the evening sun will get you with a sick burn in February, so if you’re going to be outside in this you will want to wear sunblock. In addition, you probably have to wear a strapless bra, which is generally viewed as a pain in the butt for women everywhere. On the upside, this truly achieves my “newsreader rule” for date outfits, with all the interest above the waist (nudge nudge) (sorry) and it’s as easy as switching your work shirt for a new top and trotting off to dinner. You could even wear this intra-day under a blazer, if it’s not blazingly hot in your town/you have air-conditioning in your office that is actually effective.
If you’re off for a dinner party that could end in a trip to a bar or two, or you’re just not sure where the night will take you, you can wear this layered over a tshirt to take it down a notch and lose the tshirt (not literally, look after your clothes) when things get friskier/you get too hot on the dance floor. I’ve written about this option before: here
So there you have it, team – five looks for Valentine’s/Galentine’s/sitting on the couch eating popcorn and watching Brooklyn 99. Whatever you’re up to, and whatever you’re wearing, I hope it’s at least just another happy day for you. In any case, there’s always tea to fall in love with EYE ROLL
(Also I just realised that Valentine’s is on a Wednesday this year aka hump day, and that’s too perfect for words).
KISSES TO YOU ALL but especially to Daniil, for taking all these photos for me very patiently