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    Valentine's Day is fast approaching (four days, everyone!). And while it would be a tad dismal to be loveless on February 14th-- you really don't want to be giflt-less or outfit-less either.

    Danielle Rudy Davis of the fashion blog Lou What Wear is here to help by addressing all my Cupid Day concerns. 

    So, what are some good ways to dress in theme with Valentine’s Day—without looking too incredibly kitschy (or like you decorated yourself with Hallmark Store merchandise)?

    For Valentine's Day, I love incorporating a little of the holiday and its girly colors into my look. You definitely don't want to look like you walked off the pages of a Hallmark card though, so keep it sweet and simple. 

    For a simple look (or office appropriate look), add a red scarf, sweater or better yet – pair of heels in your favorite Valentine's Day hue. I'm really loving pale pink right now but if you love red, it's your chance to break out your favorite item or two. I also love adding a pop of pink with jewelry – a statement necklace or fun pair of earrings is an easy way to give your look a little Valentine's Day touch. 

    When it comes to having a little more fun with your look, I like adding something with a touch of hearts. I just snagged a great sweater on ASOS that is all black, with red heart elbow patches. Simple, but a lot of fun. Or you can layer a printed heart blouse – I've seen ones at Gap and LOFT in the past – under a sweater. Just stick with a simple sweater and the look will be chic and not costume-y. 

    For dinner out, try a silk blouse in a holiday hue with a simple pencil skirt or sleek skinny black pants or throw on a red or pink coat over your favorite little black dress. 

    Davis covers this whole topic really well (with really pretty pictures!) in her blog post, “Outfit Post: Valentine’s Day to Night.”

    “Galentine’s Day” is an important holiday too—what are some stylish gifts that are appropriate for your best female friends?

    My favorite part of Valentine's Day is using it as an excuse to show my best gals a little love. At our office we do a Secret Cupid gift exchange between the girls. It works just like Secret Santa but we do just the girls and pick out fun gifts for one another. I love a sparkly pair of stud earrings, a great candle or a gift card for a manicure with a bottle of pink nail polish (essie makes some great pinks).

    Some other fun options are a cute pair of casual PJ's (nothing racy or lacy), a printed scarf or a travel size of a great perfume.

    Guys—they’re always difficult to buy clothing and accessories for. Any suggestions for a gift that he can actually wear this holiday?

    Guys can be really tough to buy for. I recently got my guy a subscription to BirchBox for Men and he loves it. The guy's monthly box is a little swankier than the girl's version (it's $20 instead vs. $10 for the ladies version) and comes with more than just product samples (think barware, socks and accessories). It's delivered straight to your door and if they like a product, they can order it online directly from BirchBox which keeps them from having to do a stealth trip to Sephora or Ulta. 

    For guys, I think it's great to give a gift they can use so a nice shave kit, some cool barware or a subscription to a beer of the month club (may sound cheesy but I'm betting a lot of guy's would love it) are more fun. Since your guy probably trusts your style, you can also hit up the big sales right now and find a nice button-down shirt that you guy can wear now and later. 

    Now, let’s flip it. You’re a guy reading this article. What are some fun accessories of clothing items that make for good Valentine’s gifts?

    Guys, when it comes to picking out a gift for your lady my first tip would be to take a minute and think about what she likes. Does your girlfriend wear a different statement necklace every day or layer on the jewelry? Hit up one of the local boutiques (Dandelion or Work the Metal) and pick out something that compliments her collection. Does she throw on a scarf without fail before tackling the day? Pick out one in a color you think would look great on her. Is she a make-up junkie? Get her a gift card for Sephora or Macy's. And if she's been crushing it at work lately and could use a little me time, book her a massage pedicure. She'll appreciate that you took the extra time to schedule the appointment. For most girls, it's not about going over the top but just being thoughtful. 

    Even if it's last minute, avoid the cheesy drugstore teddy bears and instead opt for a thoughtful card with flowers or her favorite candy. 

    Photography by Dandelion Boutique

    A friend of mine is actually having a first date on Valentine's Day (high pressure, I know). Any suggestions for first-date outfits?

    First off, I have to give it to you friend (and the guy) for doing a Valentine's Day first date. Since the holiday puts enough pressure on the situation, I'd go for something a little more relaxed and casual for the date. And just because I said relaxed, I don't mean sloppy. I'd wear a pair of dark skinny jeans, throw a cozy sweater and heeled boots or swap out the sweater and boots for a blazer, blouse and wedge heels. I'd avoid a dress or something too romantic looking and instead go for chic and simple. 

    Ashlie Danielle Stevens's picture

    About Ashlie Danielle Stevens

    I am a freelance food, arts and culture writer. Among other publications, my work has appeared at The Atlantic’s CityLab, Eater, Slate, Salon, The Guardian, Hyperallergic and National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate.

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