13 Cute Valentine’s Day Date Outfit Ideas That Aren't Sexy Red Dresses

Finding the perfect outfit for a Valentine's Day date night is always a bit of a conundrum. You can always default to a pink dress or a red skirt, but a) been there, done that and b) there are more subtle ways of interpreting the holiday's romantic palette. And for those of us who will still be seeing snow on the ground on February 14, a kicky mini dress is simply out of the question unless it's combined with two pairs of stockings and a parka. (You know, obviously the first thing that comes to mind when we say "Dress to feel like a bombshell.") We combed through our favorite celebrity trendsetters and found 13 ways to press "refresh" on the sexy outfit, and we think you'll be into these.

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Romantic Lace

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For a sweet twist on tradition, try a lace dress for your Valentine’s Day date night outfit. The look is a perfect blend of classic and subtly sultry for the holiday, especially when paired with a mussed updo and a beautiful burgundy lip like Jessica Alba.

Sleek and Architectural

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Instead of reaching for a crimson or blush-colored shift dress for Valentine’s Day, why not try a fitted, architectural dress in a neutral shade? The look will make you stand out in a sea of brightly colored ensembles, and allows you to make a bold statement with your makeup and accessories. Ashley Madekwe paired her sleek grey dress with crimson lips and nails, and a chic black clutch.

Petal Pink Dress

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If you’re going to go for pink, there’s a way to do it that doesn’t scream 5th grade. Try a subtler pastel shade like petal pink. The color is feminine without being quite so conspicuous, especially in a curve-hugging silhouette like Miranda Kerr’s Hervé Léger number.

Long-Sleeved Crimson Dress

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If statement-making ensembles are your thing, look no further than a long-sleeved red dress. The look is more elegant than a strappy minidress in the same shade, and has the added benefit of providing warmth on a wintry night. Lake Bell executes the look in matching suede pumps with a gold clutch.

Pop of Pink Coat

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It’s chilly outside in February, and if you’re feeling especially bold in the outerwear department, try throwing a bold pink coat over your Valentine’s ensemble. The statement coat will pack more of a punch if the rest of your outfit is composed of near-neutral shades, so try Olivia Palermo’s formula of a white silk blouse, patterned miniskirt, and pointy-toe pumps.

Floral-Patterned Dress

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For a fresh take on the traditional Valentine’s Day color palette, try a floral-patterned shift with a myriad of brights woven into the print. Hanneli Mustaparta’s ladylike dress is a lesson in understated grace.


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For insouciant date-night style, make like one of the boys and throw an oversized blazer on top of your dress or skirt. The look is flirty and unfussy perfect for the girl who wants a fresh take on Valentine’s Day style. Gwyneth Paltrow paired her white blazer with a peekaboo black mini dress for a striking effect.

Oxblood Accents

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There are other shades in the crimson family besides cardinal and vermilion, so why not try a sophisticated shade of oxblood in the form of a ladylike pencil skirt or an alluring blouse. The color is warm but not overwhelmingly bright, and will add a bit of trendy charm to any date night ensemble. Pair with a neutral shade such as grey like Emmanuelle Chriqui for a look.

Back-Baring Ensemble

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For an unconventionally seductive Valentine’s Day date look, try exposing a bit of your back. The silhouette is more unexpected than an ultra short mini or chest-bearing dress, and can easily be covered up by a jacket if necessary. Kate Bosworth’s look is demure in the front and coquettish in the back thanks to a cutout panel.

Ravishing in Ruffles

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If you love feminine frills, ruffles are a perfect accent to your date night style. For a slightly more refined look, try a ruffled dress with a sleek black blazer like Rachel Bilson.

Dark Denim with a Pop of Color

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If thinking about spending a day away from your jeans gives you separation anxiety, try a low key combo of dark skinny jeans and a brightly colored blouse or jacket for a relaxed Valentine’s ensemble. The look is low-key but incredibly chic, as Blake Lively demonstrates on the red carpet.


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For an extra-flirty Valentine’s look, take a cue from your favorite undergarments and try a lingerie-inspired outfit. A lacy slip dress with a jacket thrown over the top is an instant classic, or take a cue from Carey Mulligan and try a corset top with a classic pair of trousers. Just remember to balance out your more suggestive garments unless you plan to stay in for date night.

Strategic Slit

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Alluring doesn’t have to mean explicit, so if subtly slinky sounds more appealing than overtly provocative, a strategically placed slit is the way to go for date night. Kate Hudson’s skimming black dress with a thigh-high slit is covered up while still showing a hint of skin.