You may have danced the night away on New Year's Eve, but now it's time to celebrate Valentine's Day with a whole new attitude. It's time to put a little romance into your wardrobe.
The good news is that with a few tips, you can look great and have a wonderful time whether you have a date with a friend you've just met or someone you've been married to for 30 years. Remember that romance never goes out of style.
"The best part of a date is getting ready for it," says Winona Dimeo-Ediger, one of my favorite style experts and the author of "Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way" (Sasquatch Books, 18.95). Dimeo-Ediger urges you to "Bask in the untainted anticipation while you primp and pamper yourself and really have fun with the process of getting ready."
Here are Dimeo-Ediger's top tips on dressing for first dates, last dates and every date in between:
— Do be comfortable. That's tip No. 1, according to this author and blogger. "You have to feel good in the clothes you're wearing" in order to be a "good date," she says. "Believe it or not you don't look your best while pulling down the hem of your dress every five minutes or trying to subtly nurse a monster blister between cocktails." And who hasn't been there, done that thanks to short, short dresses and high, high heels?
— Do be yourself. First-timers beware. "This is especially important for first dates," admits Dimeo-Ediger. "If you normally wear ripped jeans and plain T-shirts, don't squeeze yourself into a bouncy pink dress for a date. A nice pair of jeans and a pretty blouse will look just as gorgeous and most importantly, you'll look and feel like you." She adds: "When you're meeting with a potential lover, wear nicer versions of your normal clothes, and take a shower."
— Don't be afraid of color. Take a cue from celebrities who are wearing more and more color on the red carpet: Bold hues are becoming standout choices for dress-up occasions. "If black is truly your trademark, then rock the all-black outfit, but don't let it become your safe choice," suggests Dimeo-Ediger. "Black may be slimming, but blue and red and green and purple are beautiful and memorable." (Who was everyone talking about in the gorgeous blue Valentino dress at the Golden Globes? Lady Gaga, of course!) "Make a decision to stand out and see how it affects your mood and your date."
— Don't wait to buy a formal dress until you need a formal dress. How many of us find ourselves running from store to store on the day of the big date frantically searching for the perfect outfit? Dimeo-Ediger suggests making a habit of shopping the formalwear sale racks whenever you are buying "mundane" things like jeans. "You're sure to find an affordable gem that will have you itching for a formal invite to somewhere, anywhere!"
— Do have a go-to special occasion outfit. "Your go-to outfit doesn't need to be new or particularly flashy," Dimeo-Ediger says. It could be that cliche-but-fabulous little black dress or a sleek pantsuit, but it must be easy and versatile. "Don't forget the power of accessories here," she adds. "Throw on a simple, stylish base (like that LBD) for anything from a garden wedding to a presidential inauguration and add opera gloves or flip-flops accordingly."
And yes, you may have to wait on those flip-flops for a few months, too!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.