Valentine's Day is hard on the budget for many reasons, but there's no reason dressing for your date should be one of the stressers. Whether you're in a new relationship, an old relationship, or celebrating Galentine's Day with your closest friends, figuring out what to wear for Valentine's Day — especially if you have a nice evening out planned — always seems to be more difficult than if it were a regular date.
During the holidays, I scoured fashion blogs for many ideas of what to wear for Christmas Parties and New Years Eve. I recently graduated from college and am earning a living from freelancing, so my budget doesn't exactly scream haute couture, so I looked for articles that were meant for people in my financial situation — and was sorely disappointed. Even the "Broke Girls Guide to NYE Outfits" or "How to do the Holidays on a Budget" were beyond what I, a truly broke girl, could afford to spend for just one occasion.
Whether you deem Valentine's Day as just a silly Hallmark Card invention or an excuse to do something nice with your S.O., it's always fun to dress up a little bit. For the sake of myself, and hopefully many other girls in a similar situation to mine, I have put together a list of how to truly dress for a Valentine's Day date on a budget. Below are options for a $25 budget (yes, it's possible!) $50 budget (not as easy as it seems) and $100 budget (still difficult, actually), so you can spend exactly what you want on an outfit — and save the rest for tons and tons of chocolate.
Guys! Creating a Valentine's Day outfit under $25 is possible! I actually chose to tackle this option first, because I thought it would take the longest. It actually took the shortest amount of time! The key to dressing on a small budget is finding little details that make the main piece look elegantly expensive. I find it elegant when a dress with an open neck or scoop back is paired with barely any accessories. Let the collarbone be the necklace, rather than cluttering up your look with tons of layered jewels. But in order to pull the look together, statement earrings are a must. Finally, I chose a longer sleeved dress, so you can take your jacket off once you hit the restaurant.
I had a little bit more lee-way with my budget, and I wanted to take wise advantage of that. I still stuck with a long-sleeved dress, so I could cross a jacket and bracelet off my list. But the dress also has a tight neckline, which left room for a statement (and more expensive) necklace. Simple earrings are cheaper and easy to find. Finally, dark red tights add a pop of festive Valentine's Day color to the outfit without being obnoxiously on theme.
Believe it or not, this was the most difficult budget option to dress for — but maybe that's just because I'm not used to having $100 for a nice outfit. The dress, to me, screams Valentine's Day, even though it's neither red nor pink. It's still modest, but has a bit of fun with the low slits in the neck. Those neck details mean you don't need a necklace, so go big with your earrings instead. A higher budget also let us stack bracelets and rings for major arm that'll look amazing as you dip the artisan bread into the fancy oil and balsamic. Finally, the shoes. It's a holiday. Go for sequins. Your date is gonna love it.
Image: Ivanov Alexandr/Fotolia