With Valentine’s Day coming up, I figured I’d throw together some fun date looks in case you’re celebrating the holiday with someone special. I put together a variety of looks ranging from casual to dressy, and Laura from Fleur de Lis Photography in Davenport, Iowa set me up in her studio for a fun photoshoot to showcase them.
Valentine’s Day Date Look 1: Casual Chic
Need a look that will take you from wandering the Chicago Auto Show to dinner in Chinatown, to maybe a movie if it’s not too late? This is it! With layers galore and a flirty, but casual vibe, this look can take you almost anywhere. Start with a basic buttondown shirt and top it with a brightly colored sweater. Add a thin puffy vest and top that with a blazer. On the bottom, go for a fun, distressed pair of skinny jeans and tuck ’em into a pair of fun socks. Add your favorite winter or combat boot (depending on the weather) and you’ve got a great look that will go from place to place and last all throughout the day. Accessorize with a pile of statement necklaces that add a load of fun to this look.
This is a great look to put your own spin on. If distressed jeans aren’t your thing, try a fun pattered pair. I went with bright, thinner socks, but a thick knit sock would look super-cozy. Vest too puffy to wear under your blazer? Add it on top instead. If you’re of the mindset that one statement necklace is statement enough, that’s ok too! This is the easiest look to get inspiration from if your day (or evening) is going to be full of running around, doing laid-back type things.
Valentine’s Day Date Look 2: Plaidly in Love
If you’re just as tired of winter as I am, but still want to stay warm, this semi-casual look might just be for you. I paired a cropped black turtleneck with a plaid maxi skirt and high heeled booties. Since the skirt is long, you can’t tell that I’m rocking a pair of sweater tights underneath for extra warmth. For a little sparkle, I added a long necklace and a collar necklace. To keep with the semi-casual vibe, I stayed in my glasses. This is a great look for virtually any kind of date, but might be better suited to something a little nicer than the first look, since it’s a little sexier than jeans and a sweater thanks to the sleek lines a nicely fitting maxi skirt creates.
While I went cropped here, a regular length turtleneck sweater would work just as nicely with a skirt like this. I’d still tuck it in though, to accentuate the long, sleek line this kind of skirt creates. If you don’t have a plaid maxi, a black maxi with a red sweater would work just as nicely. The key with this look is to both appear to be dressed nice, but put off a vibe that says “I’m comfortable and ready to have fun, looking this good is just a side-effect”.
Valentine’s Day Date Look 3: J’Taime
If you’re going somewhere a little dressier, but still want to be comfortable, a cotton pencil skirt is going to be your BFF. I paired my Je T’aime skirt from Forever21 with a short-sleeved plaid shirt and a necklace that’s, for lack of a better term, heirloom rhinestones on steroids. I added sparkly tights and a pair of lucite heels for a little extra glamour. This is a great look for going somewhere fun and romantic, like dinner at your favorite sushi place and a movie. It’s dressed up and says “tonight is special” without being too over-the-top. A red lip finishes the look off nicely.
This is a great example of how you can take a couple of everyday pieces–the plaid shirt and the pencil skirt–and really step them up a notch for a special night out. Sparkly tights and fun heels are what makes this look less weekday work wear and more flirty and fun. If you don’t have sparkly tights, try a textured pair of tights with a strappy metallic heel instead. If plaid isn’t your thing, you can get the same look with any other buttondown shirt, or even a fun graphic tee or a cute fitted sweater.
Valentine’s Day Date Look 4: Dance the Night Away
Sometimes, dinner and a movie just won’t cut it on Valentine’s Day, and if you’re the type to head out and dance till you drop, you’ll want something that moves. Put the little black dress down and pull out something jewel-toned instead for a fun twist on things. I’ve got just the dress in this shimmery, pleated piece that was a boring gold dress before I dyed it a deep cranberry hue. Now it’s got a ton of dimension and really moves to the beat! For this look, I added 3 stellar statement necklaces, including a long one made entirely of chains, and a pair of nude and black studded heels. I finished it all off with a sexy, glossy red lip that leaned a little towards fuschia.
I know we all want to turn to our trusty LBD for dates like this, but a colorful, fun dress adds an unexpected, flirty aspect to things instead. And if you’ll be moving around a bunch, a stuffy, fitted dress isn’t going to be comfortable. I chose a dress that had a little extra sparkle, because I like shiny things, and while I dyed the dress above, you don’t have to go all out like that to find something that suits you. And again, if layers of bod statement necklaces aren’t your thing, one is fine too. This is a look you have to have fun with, because when you have fun with what you wear, you’ll have more fun wearing it!
Valentine’s Day Date Look 5: Dress You Up
If you’ve really got something special planned, dressing up is the way to go. But don’t be afraid of layers, color and texture. It might still be winter in these parts, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be dead! I took a fitted black dress (ok, black with shimmer of gold–shiny things, remember?) and instead of plain black tights, I went with striped tights. They’re sexy while still covering everything. I wore studded heels and accessorized with a major arm party. My clutch features a romantic pattern, and for a little bit of warmth I added a pair of scarves that I twisted together (which also gave me a nice bit of color). I toned down my red lip a little, but not too much, and went with a darker, smoky eye. My “updo” is simply a slightly messy ponytail, which I tend to feel is a little more “fashion” and a little less “stuffy updo”, which is what I like about it.
If you have textured tights and a couple of scarves laying around, this is an easy look to recreate, even if you don’t have a sparkly dress. In fact, this is a great way to wear your favorite little black dress, and a way to do it that doesn’t have your other half rolling his eyes and thinking “that thing, again?”. This look would be smashing with lace tights, or a cable-knit pair. If you want to avoid the task of perfectly twisting together two scarves, you could wrap a thick knit infinity scarf around your neck and be just as chic. Here it’s all about creating interest with texture and playing with pieces you have, but never thought to pair together.
Valentine’s Day Date Look 6: Faux in Love
This is one of those looks that could go either way: super chic for a nice dinner out with your other half, or a tongue-in-cheek poke at the “glamour” of Valentine’s Day. It’s up to you… but Laura and I loved this look and couldn’t resist shooting it. I went against my usual plan and decided to dress up winter whites by adding a fur coat*, black heels, and a big black floppy hat. The top, peeking out from the jacket, is a simple white V-neck sweater that’s tucked into the wonderfully textured skirt. Since this outfit is so out there already, I opted to not accessorize at all, past a pair of simple earrings, though I did rock a bright red lip. Come on… with a big floppy had, I couldn’t not go for the old Hollywood glamour look!
If you don’t have all the pieces for a look in your closet, don’t be afraid to ring a girl friend! I borrowed this white fringy skirt from Laura to complete this winter white look, but it would also work with a lace skirt (which I do have–Laura’s skirt was just way more fun!). This is another look that you can easily make your own… a white chunky-knit sweater with a fur vest and light wash jeans would get you the same effect, but might be a little more winter-friendly. This look is purely one for inspiration, so if you dig it, have fun with it!
*The fur jacket in the shot above is actually real, and while I’m not a big fan of fur, this one was a whopping $6 at Salvation Army. So while it’s fur, it was pre-owned fur, and I feel a little better about that. A faux fur jacket, if nicely made, would work just as well with this look. But, if you’ve been looking for an excuse to hunt down some fur in your local thrift store, or you’ve been itching to borrow your grandma’s fur, this Valentine’s Day date look might be the perfect excuse!
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Head on over to Laura’s Facebook page and like Fleur de Lis Photography. Laura shoots everything from babies and family portraits to model portfolios and weddings. And she travels (she’s up here in Chicagoland often).