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While we love any excuse to get dolled up, there's no better time to do it than Valentine's Day. Whether you're staying in or going out for a fancy dinner, putting in that extra effort to trade your favorite comfy bottoms for a dress or adding a little curl to your hair can make the holiday feel even more special.
But if you're running low on style ideas for the big day, don't worry. We consulted with fashion stylist Lucia Gulbransen and hairstylist Jasmine Burnside to help you master your look, no matter what your plans are.
How to dress for Valentine's Day
When it comes to your outfit, Gulbransen recommends leaning into the spirit of the day. Think plenty of reds and pinks. "That always makes it more fun to get dressed, to embrace the colors associated with the holiday," she said.
The next thing you have to consider is your venue. If you're going out to a nice dinner, a dress is a great choice. "Dresses are an easy way to show that you care about the holiday and you’re making a little more of an effort," Gulbransen said. She added that both sweater dresses and faux leather dresses are trending for the season and are perfect for your night out.
Valentine's Day dresses
Try this pick from Gulbransen, which comes in an on-theme bright red hue. The sweater dress is made with a metallic knit material and ties at the waist for a form-flattering fit.
This top-rated dress feels like a romantic and stylish choice thanks to the deep V-neck design and side slits. Reviewers say that it's "flattering" and "comfortable" and warm, so it's great for a chilly February night.
You'll make a statement in this faux leather dress from Alice and Olivia, which Gulbransen recommended. While you can dress it up with heels for your date night, you'll want to wear it for every occasion after — one reviewer even suggested pairing it with tennis shoes for a casual look.
Outfits for a casual Valentine's Day date night
If you're going out, but want to keep things more low-key, Gulbransen suggests pairing your favorite pants or jeans with a Valentine's Day-inspired blouse or sweater. Or, you can up the ante and try a fun pair of red trousers.
Whether you wear this brightly-colored sweater with jeans or wide-leg trousers, you're bound to rack up the compliments all night long.
If you prefer a looser fit, you can also try this other Zara pick from Gulbransen. It comes in multiple colors, and while the bright pink shade is a statement piece on its own, you can also dress up the white or black hues with some fun accessories.
You'll feel comfortable and look cute in this popular Old Navy sweater, which features chic cable knit details and is made from a stretchy cotton material.
These customer-favorite pants will look great when paired with your favorite white blouse or sweater. The pants feature front darts, which according to the brand, help prevent the material from gathering. And they're wrinkle-resistant so you can keep them in your bag in case you don't have time to go home and change after work.
Outfits for a Valentine's Day date night at home
A Valentine's Day celebration at home with your loved one can be just as exciting as a night out on the town. If you're having a movie night or are cooking a dinner for two, it's the perfect time to embrace a cozy aesthetic. "If you’re staying home or if you’re really playing it low-key, I love the idea of wearing a graphic tee shirt that has a heart on it paired with your favorite sweatpants," Gulbransen said.
Gulbransen suggests trying this graphic tee from Amazon. The design is so cute, we bet you'll be wearing it long after the holiday is over.
Cozy up in this cardigan, which also came recommended by Gulbransen. "There’s a reason why this cardigan keeps selling out," one reviewer wrote. "It is so cute and so soft! Perfect for Valentine’s Day ... or any day!"
Add a subtle touch of romance to any stay-at-home outfit with these Old Navy crew socks. You'll get three in a pack — so you can keep them all for yourself or share a pair with your Valentine or Galentine.
Valentine's Day accessories
If bold colors aren't really your thing, Gulbransen said that incorporating accessories with heart motifs into your look can be an inexpensive way to capture the spirit of the day. If you're wearing an open neckline, like a V-neck dress or a scoop-neck blouse, try adding a heart-shaped necklace to your look. If you have something with a higher neckline, like a crewneck sweater, bold earrings are a great option.
Last year, TikTok went crazy for Kate Spade's heart-shaped accessories, and Gulbransen likes this cute purse from the brand. It can be worn either as a handbag or as a crossbody bag.
These beaded earrings are currently the No. 1 bestselling women's drop and dangle earrings on Amazon — and they're the perfect choice for V-Day. According to the brand, they're both lightweight and nickel-free.
How to style your hair for Valentine's Day
Once you have your outfit nailed down, it's time to think about your 'do. What you're wearing has a big influence on how you should approach your hair, Burnside said, because "it gives you the opportunity to figure out if it’s going to look better up and off your neck or if it will read better down."
How to style romantic curls
If you're after more of a romantic look to complement a flowy dress or a floral blouse, Burnside said that a rich, luxurious curl is a good way to go. "A really user-friendly and fun way to create really rich and bouncy-looking curls or waves would be to utilize hot rollers," she said. It's an easy way to get the look without straining your arms while trying to use a wand.
To start, apply a hair oil (like the one above) and then add a medium-hold hairspray, which will give your hair some staying power and hold, Burnside said.
Then, put in your hot rollers and allow them to cool completely before taking them out. "That’s really going to set the style and the curl," Burnside said. While you wait for them to cool, she suggests doing your makeup or getting dressed. "Once you take them out, you can use a wide-tooth comb — or if you want a really rich ‘70s retro-glam look, you could use a smoothing brush to mold the shape of the hair — and just brush the curls out more for a more relaxed look," she said. Once you get it in the shape you want, add more hair spray to lock in the style and tame any flyaways.
Burnside recommends this set, which comes with 12 titanium ceramic jumbo rollers designed to heat evenly and give hair shine.
This popular set from Conair is more affordable and is a TikTok-favorite. It comes with 12 jumbo rollers in two sizes, and heats up in under two minutes, according to the brand.
How to style a sleek ponytail
"If you have a busier outfit or if you have something that’s a little bit more intricate, especially around the neckline or the shoulders where you want to showcase that, I definitely think wearing your hair up would be a better option," she said. If you're going for a sleek look, a ponytail is a great way to complement that.
Whether you want to try a low ponytail with a center part or a high ponytail, the process is the same. Burnside recommends starting with a heat protectant, like an oil or a spray (she likes the NatureLab Tokyo's Smoothing Hair Oil). "It’s lightweight and workable so it really absorbs into the hair and it doesn’t look or feel greasy, it just gives enough shine," she said. Then, she suggests using a flatiron to smooth and straighten hair — we suggest Remington's top-rated flat iron, which is a Shop TODAY favorite.
After you finish straightening your strands, use a smoothing brush to gather your hair where you want it on your head. "And then, one of my favorite tools to keep the ponytail really tight is a hair bungee," Burnside said. Unlike a typical hair tie, the bungee has two hooks on each end. To use it, you hook one side into your hair and then wrap it around to hold it in place. "That way, you can really feel and create enough tension instead of relying on the size of the ponytail holder itself," she said. "You’re able to get it as tight as you need it based on your hair texture and density."
To finish the look, take an edging brush or toothbrush with soft bristles and tame any flyaways or shape your baby hairs and then lock it in with hairspray.
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