There’s something special about pulling on a red dress or going bold with your lip color… It’s as if the hue conjures power, leaving you feeling a bit fiery. It’s elegance with a side of sass. And of course, it couldn’t be more perfect for Valentine’s Day! This post will be short and to-the-point. We’ll dive right into the best red dresses for Valentine’s Day in 2023. However, I’ll also be offering some styling tips and tricks to help you feel more confident rocking this bold color if it’s not in your regular closet rotation.
As a University of Wisconsin cheerleader, (Let’s go Badgers!) I spent a lot of time wearing red in college. In fact, half my closet was red. Although it was part of my required uniform, I quickly grew to appreciate the glow red can add to your complexion. While some people shy away from red, perhaps afraid it is too bold, I believe red is universally flattering.
I’m not the only one. Celebrity style and trend-focused website Who What Wear agrees, including red on its list of 4 Colors That Look Good on Everyone. Simply put, red is a closet classic. True red (see Pantone hue here) works on every skin tone and really pops in photos. There are also many shades, tints and tones of true red to experiment with. Let’s unpack the power of red a bit more…
As someone who teaches journalism, I like to turn to the research. While there’s no hard or fast answer to this question, research studies have found something called the “red dress effect” which finds men seemingly more attracted to women clothed in red than muted shades like beige or white. Here’s the kicker – The red outfit doesn’t have to be a sultry dress to have impact! A red T-shirt works the same way. In most of those research studies, “attractiveness” is linked to biological desires and attraction. However, I’d argue the appeal of red goes well beyond that.
Why? Most women are dressing for themselves, not for men. They’re choosing outfits that make them feel powerful, or perhaps dressing to impress other women, who actually understand and appreciate what went into styling that killer outfit.
When talking about red and the best red dresses for Valentine’s Day, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address color theory. During my TV news days, I met with several image consultants, who regularly talked about the messages COLOR can convey. We don’t always realize it’s happening, but color influences us. Red is generally associated with confidence, energy, independence, and in some cases competence. It’s also associated with Valentine’s Day!
Of course! In fact, I’d argue it’s the perfect excuse to pull on the romantic hue. Although this post focuses on the best red dresses for Valentine’s Day, red accessories are a great way for neutral-lovers to ease into the bold shade. I’d recommend starting with a red shoe or purse if the color is a bit out of your comfort zone. Now, let’s dive into the styles I’m wearing.
Since I live in Indiana, February is cold – really cold. That means, as much as I love the dresses above, I need something warmer. Red sweater dresses are a wonderful addition to any closet. Practical and feminine, they also serve to boost the mood by adding a dose of color to an otherwise dreary day.
My dress is a Chicwish find. It’s under $70 with a self-tie mesh sash you can wrap behind you (as I did) or tie in front. The midi length gives it a vintage feel that is both office appropriate or party-ready depending on how you style it. One important note, this is a one-size garment (S/M). It should fit bust measurements between 26-37.5″ and waist sizes 23.5-31.5″. For compar
Now, I didn’t forget about you ladies who live in warmer locales… In fact, I recently did some Amazon shopping and uncovered several stunning red dress options. These are also ideal for vacation or you can save them for summer. They also photograph really well. For instance, this maxi would be excellent in a family photo session or ideal to pack for those dramatic getaway photos.
The dress photographed below is a fun one because you can wear it off shoulder or on. This provides maximum versatility. It’s under $40 and available on Amazon Prime with free shipping and returns. The shade I am wearing is called Watermelon. I ordered it in size small. The fit is TTS, but stretchy and roomy enough for you to feel comfortable sizing down.
Another red dress I can’t get enough of is from LA-based brand Current Air. It’s higher end, but the detailing and fabrication make it worth the splurge. The long-sleeve mini dress is very petite-friendly and the type of style you can’t help but twirl in. I snagged mine for Christmas, but have already found many other uses for the dress. It’s a current closet favorite.
I am wearing the XS. The dress also comes in black.
Have I sold you on red yet? If you’re asking yourself what color dress should I wear on Valentine’s Day, take this as your sign to go bold. Red is always a smart choice for elegance-focused women. It’s a way to command a room and demonstrate your confidence. It also makes it super easy to look amazing!