It doesn't matter whether you're being set up on a blind date, hitting the town with your boyfriend or celebrating your 20th wedding anniversary. Deciding what to wear for a Valentine's Day date equals major fashion pressure.
"I always think there's so much expectation," designer Diane von Furstenberg tells StyleList.
The Valentine's Day date is also a time when some women feel the need to shift into over-the-top holiday mode, opting for cutesy heart prints in shades of red and pink. Sorry, ladies, that's "definitely cliché," designer Rachel Roy tells StyleList.
To help show women what not to wear this Valentine's Day, Roy teamed up with Leandra Medine, of The Man Repeller blog, to produce a series of videos demonstrating looks that will have men calling for the check before dessert arrives -- and not to race back to your place.
"You could definitely show your personal style by adhering to your own rules instead of what you think you should be wearing," Roy says. "Happy, confident, chic and sexy."
StyleList wants your upcoming romantic evenings to be things of beauty -- and full of style -- so we turned to experts von Furstenberg, Roy and Zahir Babvani, vice president of design at OneStopPlus.com, an online plus-size fashion mall, for their best date-night advice.
What's a great dinner-date outfit?
"A little dress," von Furstenberg told us before a recent charity event in Denver. "Nothing is better than a little dress. I think you want to be seductive. But also, you don't want to scare the person."
"Feel free to wear your high heels, after all, you will be sitting," Roy says. "Focus on the top or blouse, as this will be the point of focus on your date, and maybe a statement necklace and a bright-red matte lip to remind those looking of your lips."
"When going to a romantic candlelight dinner, I would recommend a classic empire-waist dress that accentuates an hourglass figure," Babvani says. "The jersey material in evening dresses will give great curve appeal."
And what about a casual date?
"Go for Levi's 501s, Nike Airs and a chic cardie with a white tank -- chic and easy," Roy says.
"For a more casual affair, I would recommend dark jeans paired with a tiered top and heels," Babvani says. "While creating a slimming effect, dark denim offers a chic versatility. A tiered shirt is both flirty and feminine and can really polish off your look."
Any recommendations on accessories?
"Show off your style with your shoes," Roy says. "A great clutch is also important to me -- and a Manon von Gerkan body chain."
What's great lingerie for the plus-size set?
"To harness a coveted burlesque look, a corset with a matching panty will definitely heat up the moment," Babvani says. "For the classic romantic, I would recommend delicate lace chemises."
Can you paint the town red in red?
"Red has always been a trademark color of Valentine's Day, but I think it should be used in moderation," Babvani says. "Too much red can be distracting. Instead, use a pop of color to brighten up an outfit, like a black dress with a pair of red heels."
What should we steer clear of?
"Avoid anything you don't feel comfortable and confident in," Roy says. "A date is time to show your best self. Don't try and pull off that trend you saw in the magazine earlier in the day if it doesn't feel right. Stick with what you know."