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Date night: Fashion options for Valentines

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CONFIDENT: Navy, oneshouldered jumpsuit, €135, Kaliko

CONFIDENT: Navy, oneshouldered jumpsuit, €135, Kaliko

FUNKY: NW3 trapeze top, €80; Howden bag, €205; crochet socks, €6; Wyldes hiking wooden sandals, €125, and flag tie skirt, €100, all Hobbs

FUNKY: NW3 trapeze top, €80; Howden bag, €205; crochet socks, €6; Wyldes hiking wooden sandals, €125, and flag tie skirt, €100, all Hobbs

COOL BLONDE: Kathleen cardigan, €80; Therese dress, €150, and open-bar shoes, €150, all Hobbs

COOL BLONDE: Kathleen cardigan, €80; Therese dress, €150, and open-bar shoes, €150, all Hobbs

DRESSING FROM THE INSIDE OUT: Bra, €76, and brief, €39, Simone Perele

DRESSING FROM THE INSIDE OUT: Bra, €76, and brief, €39, Simone Perele

BLUSH PINK: Coral, gold-beaded dress, €160, Kaliko

BLUSH PINK: Coral, gold-beaded dress, €160, Kaliko

SEXY: Love Me Tender bra, €39, and brief, €22, both La Senza

SEXY: Love Me Tender bra, €39, and brief, €22, both La Senza

LIP SERVICE: Bag, £69, Helen Rochfort (www.helenrochfort.com)

LIP SERVICE: Bag, £69, Helen Rochfort (www.helenrochfort.com)

DEMURE: Buttonfront lace shirt, €49.40, Lipsy

DEMURE: Buttonfront lace shirt, €49.40, Lipsy

ROCK CHICK: Angel gold, peeptoe shoes, €680, Alexander McQueen
at Brown Thomas

ROCK CHICK: Angel gold, peeptoe shoes, €680, Alexander McQueen at Brown Thomas

GREAT LEGS: Asymmetrichem dress, €84.50, Lipsy

GREAT LEGS: Asymmetrichem dress, €84.50, Lipsy

WIND-UP WEDGE: €80, Office

WIND-UP WEDGE: €80, Office

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CONFIDENT: Navy, oneshouldered jumpsuit, €135, Kaliko

The clue is in the wrinkles gently circling the ankles, a sure-fire sign that you are wearing stockings. Nylon or silk, wearing stockings has an aesthetic all of its own and makes women feel powerful in the art of seduction, an art form which comes into its own on Valentine's Day.

Stockings are a super-handy tool for achieving a sexy Valentine look in the shortest time. This year, the day falls on a Monday, but that's no excuse for not dressing up.

Adopt a smart desk-to-dinner strategy in easy moves by swapping tights and boots for sheer, seven-denier stockings with Cuban heels and a seam, €26 from Susan Hunter.

Men always notice your shoes, so why not adopt a gift-to-self strategy? Indulge in some footwear retail therapy at Nina Divito's new Pop Up Boutique at Kildare Village, which is offering 60pc discounts. Be quick -- it's only open until February 13. My tip is to call into the Kildare Village office first to get one of their 10pc discount cards for the day, and this will bring your discount up to 70pc.

Swap that white office shirt for a Victorian-style, button-up-the-front sheer blouse from Lipsy. Far from being prim, it has the makings of a Valentine success story.

Coco Chanel said you should always wear perfume where you want to be kissed. Ditto how you dress. The Ice Maiden, covered-up-look intrigues men because it exudes subtlety, and not everything is on view. The fluid lines of the Hobbs dress shout sophistication, but with a strong whiff of femininity.

The rock chick can soften her look courtesy of my latest fashion find, the new Irish label Clara Bella. Their Borget top has a great sense of movement, so it's perfect for a night out dancing, while their embroidered Lycra leggings move beyond the usual leather-look ones and are embellished with beading; they cost €160.

Clara, who comes from Naas, also makes one-off shoes (high-street ones individualised in metallic fabric). For more, call 087 6128555. While tangerine is huge this season, I suggest you err on the side of caution and opt for rich coral tones, which give you a healthy, so-in-love glow.

The coral dress, €160 from Kaliko, has attractive gold beading down the front, so it is glam without being in your face. If Valentine's Day is about love, then I've fallen hook, line and sinker for Alexander McQueen's new shoe collection at Brown Thomas.

As for dinner dates, the question often is: can I afford to eat in this dress? Don't ruin the night by squeezing yourself into some skinny, tight outfit. There are plenty of optical tricks you can resort to: the bodycon dress defines your silhouette while the all-in-one navy bodysuit lengthens your body, making you look taller.

After that, park the fashion and enjoy the romance.

W

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