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"I feel like my dinner date outfits are in a bit of a rut, and I'd really like to step it up to impress my better half this Valentine's Day. Any suggestions for what to wear that isn't my standard button down and chinos?" - Andy via Instagram
Firstly, great work for wanting to step it up for Valentine’s Day. When most people think of ways to impress their date, they immediately think of chocolates and stuffed bears, but a considered outfit can also show your better half how much you care. So go ahead and prioritise roses and other such Saint Valentine-related fun. We've got your back where your wardrobe is concerned.
Firstly, we love a button-down and a pair of chinos – but you’re right for wanting to shake things up a bit. Swap your button-down for one of two things: a knitted polo (for a more casual setting) or a rollneck knit (for a swankier feel). With its structured collar, the knitted polo (especially a long-sleeved one) will offer the illusion of smartness while still being comfy. A rollneck knit, on the other hand, is inherently smart – especially in a darker shade. You could even go for a dark red, if you’re feeling extra amorous.
And now for your bottom half, choose a pair of jeans in lieu of your chinos, in either indigo or black, and wear them with some slick brown boots. The dark, moodier shade will let your date know that there’s a distinct difference between date-night jeans and pints-at-the-pub jeans. “You could even go a step further with a pair of textured formal trousers, and dress them down a bit with a pair of minimal trainers,” says Thread stylist Artemis Crowley.
On top of both the knitted polo or the rollneck knit, an unstructured blazer will polish off the smartness without being office-level stuffy. If you’re not keen on a blazer, a nice overcoat will also do the trick, and you can take it off when you’re indoors and ready for romancing. “If your outfit is looking fairly neutral, give it a lift with a colourful and/or patterned scarf,” says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. Talk about the look of love.
Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Illustration: Ryan Gillett