To see what we mean, click through four detailed examples and a handful of outfit ideas that you can stick in your back pocket, so next time your date tells you they’re inconveniently early, you can confidently breeze out the door in snap.
1. Balance Sweet & Tough
Crafting the perfect date night look boils down to one tenet: balance. Not too sexy, not too sweet; not too revealing, not too covered up. You get the point. At a TK Maxx store opening in London, Peaches Geldof demonstrated her grasp of the concept by pairing ladylike slingbacks and a print dress with an edgy moto jacket.
2. Show A Little (Unexpected) Skin
While there’s nothing wrong with highlighting your legs or décolletage, we’re fans of revealing skin in less predictable ways. Try baring your shoulders, wearing a low-back top, or showing a sliver of stomach like this stylish civilian did.
Image from Stockholm Street Style
3. Dress Up Your Jeans
At the Isabel Marant BBQ in Los Angeles, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley demonstrated a crucial date dressing rule: strike a balance between casual and dressy. Note how the model and actress tempered her sequin Isabel Marant Ecru Glowy Jacket ($4300) and pumps with relaxed denim (all by the designer).
4. Say Yes To Lace
Is there a more romantic fabric than lace? We think not, and are all for its appearance on date night. To pull it off, take note on how Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad’s Louis Vuitton frock she wore for a screening of Mademoiselle C is high-necked and long-sleeved. The more modest cut is still alluring, but leaves a little to the imagination.
5. Tried & True Combo: Sexy + Grungy
By itself, Fashion Vibe blogger Zina Charkoplia’s Zara slip dress might read lingerie-like, but when toughened up with a plaid button-down (also Zara), the effect is enticing, but not over the top. Tying a flannel around the waist is also strategic for adding shape to a loose-fitting frock.
6. Make The Most Of All Black
Black doesn’t have to be boring. Whitney Port gave her noir ensemble a date-appropriate spin with skinny leather pants and lace-up stilettos at the SHOW Beauty launch in New York City.
7. Pair Micro With Oversized
Forgive us for elaborating on the rule of balance, but the concept also applies to proportion. Want to wear a leather miniskirt like Irina Lakicevic of A Portable Package did? No problem, just pair it with an oversized piece, like the blogger’s vintage Valentino blazer.
8. Fail-Proof Pair: Moto Jacket & Mini Skirt
If you’re ever completely stumped on what to wear, fall back on the trusty combination of a motorcycle jacket and flirty mini skirt. The look is one part tough, one part alluring, and wholly perfect.
Image from Stockholm Street Style
9. Paneled Dresses Are Your Friend
We weren’t all blessed with hourglass figures, but thanks to side-paneled dresses we can at least fake it. Notice how Miroslava Duma’s printed frock creates the appearance of curves? A pair of Prada platform heels, like Duma’s, never hurt either.
10. Hit The Metallics
Try this: take one party-ready metallic piece, in this case, Aimee Song of Song of Style selected Zadig et Voltaire gold pants, and add a skin-baring basic, such as Song’s Helmut Lang wrap top. It’s an easy formula for looking subtly dressed up, and pairs well with the neutral staples you likely already own.
Topshop Boxy Leather Biker Jacket ($370)
For Love & Lemons Exclusive Pirouette Dress ($135)
A.L.C. Exclusive Rib Seam Detail Flare Skirt ($345) in Merlot
Rachel Zoe Angie Silk Blouse ($225)
Elizabeth & James Northern Star Lariat Necklace ($250)
Reformation Iceland Jacket ($288)
Smashbox MegaTint Long Wear Lip Color ($20) in Whirl
Blank Denim Slouchy Vegan Leather Trousers ($108)
Zara Fur Messenger Bag With Zips ($159)
Alexander Wang Lovisa Ankle Strap Pumps ($645)