Fashion notes: how to dress up for Valentine's without looking tacky

If you’re single, in a messy relationship or simply fed up with all of the lovey-dovey do-dahs that Valentine’s Day brings with it each year, you may retch at seeing all the big heart and lip icons everywhere, before quickly turning the page to engross yourself with a less romantic story. However, if you have […]

If you’re single, in a messy relationship or simply fed up with all of the lovey-dovey do-dahs that Valentine’s Day brings with it each year, you may retch at seeing all the big heart and lip icons everywhere, before quickly turning the page to engross yourself with a less romantic story. However, if you have a big date to prepare an outfit for, reading on may prove to be very helpful.

To start with, ditch the idea of wearing a red body­con dress with matching heels. I’ll be blunt – you will look tacky, contrived and sad. Instead, amp up your outfit appeal by taking inspiration from the spring/summer runways. You can still wear reds, pinks and corals, but there are ways to dress in these shades without looking like a cartoon illustration from a Hallmark card. Three trends can be easily manipulated to serve your ­Valentine’s Day purposes: ­minimalism, heavy textures and eccentricity.

While I had hypothesised that the minimalist trend wouldn’t last long in the fashion world, it has done the opposite. It has also grown on me a little bit. If you’d like to pull off an easy and simple but still-flattering look on February 14, look for silhouettes that are loose, airy or boxy. Stick to solids, because prints can quickly take you out of the realm of minimalism, and don’t get sidetracked with embellishments or chunky jewels. Crisp tapered trousers, relaxed knits and silks, shift dresses and pencil skirts are garments to look for. Try pairing beige shades with light pinks for a pastel palette, or colour-block red with baby pink for a more dramatic appearance.

Either keep accessories basic, with a few gold bangles and pearl earrings, or pick one statement accessory to put the spotlight on: a geometric neck piece, or studded Valentino heels, if you must.

If you like the whole effortless vibe of the minimalist trend, but want to jazz it up a bit more, look at how a sequin-covered midi was paired with a slouchy off-shoulder top at the Tibi show. The deep shade of oxblood is also perfectly suited to a relaxed evening out at an upscale lounge. If you’re going to emulate this look, however, take care to replace the strappy flat sandals with a more elegant footwear choice.

For a different kind of look, seek out an interesting texture in a feminine colour. One of my favourite collections from spring/summer fashion weeks was Zimmermann’s. Flouncy ruffles, romantic laces and eyelets, high necks and floral prints were combined with ­Victorian influences. A rose pink dress from the Burberry Prorsum show also stood out, with its mixture of mesh and crochet textures.

If you feel like you channel sophisticated elegance in most of your daily looks, and are looking for an outfit with more peppiness for Valentine’s Day, consider mixing pink prints, like Diane von Furstenberg and Holly Fulton both did for their spring/summer runway shows. Pair a pretty blouse with a wrap skirt, or try out a more unexpected retro-pant-and-shirt combination.

If you ask me, it’s OK to be cheesy if you’re heading to a daytime date, particularly if it’s outdoors. If this is the case, heart icons and lip motifs can be acceptable – parks, roadside restaurants and cute cafes can handle a dose of pop prints and quirky bits. But if you’re off to a lavish restaurant or hotel, look the part. When the room is filled with glamorous women, you don’t want to be the one who looks like she mistakenly got dressed for a trip to ­Disneyworld.

hlodi@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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