Love is in the air: time for chocolates, candlelit dinners, and a stolen kiss. Yes, that most romantic of days is on the horizon again—Valentine's Day. But if you are like most people, chances are that carpool drop-offs, client meetings, and that laundry list a mile long have left you feeling anything but romantic. New York-based image consultant Marla Tomazin says that's exactly why February 14th is the perfect chance to give your look, and your confidence, a little boost.

"We spend so much time being caught up in the everyday rat race that we often forget to take the time to make ourselves and our partners feel special," says Tomazin, who has been an image consultant for twenty years after earlier experience in the fashion industry. "That's why Valentine's Day is the perfect time to put a little extra effort into how you look. If you can create an outfit that makes you feel romantic and sexy, that will translate into how you feel as well."

Tomazin says that the trick to looking romantic for this special day is simple: Just shake things up a bit. She says that straying from your usual wardrobe, whether through vibrant new colors or special accessories and styling, will make you look and feel sexier.

  1. Get dressed from the inside out. Before celebrating Valentine's Day, take a few minutes to relax and focus on your inner beauty. After all, it's hard to feel sexy when you are frazzled from rushing around. Tomazin suggests planning ahead so that you can take your time getting ready and calming your inner self in order to enjoy pampering yourself before your big night out. Clear your calendar and send the kids off to the sitter a little early. Not only will you feel more confident, you'll look more refreshed and ready to enjoy your Valentine's Day, on the inside and out.
  2. Focus on the first layer. Before deciding on the perfect outfit, spend some extra time getting ready by layering on your favorite perfume and body lotion. Choose a fun new nail polish color, and finish off the "look" with a matching bra and pair of panties that you feel great in. Tomazin says that focusing on the details of your foundation will make you feel great and put together—and it will show.
  3. Opt for not-so-basic black. Many of us love to wear black: It's slimming, sophisticated, and sexy. Because of this, most people have a lot of black in their closets already. This Valentine's Day, try to opt for something a little different from what you would normally wear in your favorite shade: Try a shirt with a lower neckline, a pencil skirt with a ruffled hemline, or a tailored jacket in a sexy silk or satin. Wearing something out of the norm will make you feel beautiful, and as a bonus, you'll still be able to wear it for many other occasions.
  4. Wrap yourself in winter white. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to wear winter white. Whether you choose a dress, pantsuit, or a top and skirt combination, Tomazin says to choose your accessories carefully. Pearls or crystal jewelry make a great pairing with this wintry hue, as does a simple metallic or neutral color shoe and handbag. (And if you're wearing a skirt or dress, be sure to opt for nude stockings!) You will look glamorous and feel beautiful: Be prepared to get second looks!
  5. See red. Red is a bold, sexy color that is often admired, and yet few people dare to wear it. Try incorporating a little red into your Valentine's Day ensemble and tone down the accessories to balance its boldness. Wear a simple black strappy shoe, simple earrings, and choose a small black handbag. If red is not a color you feel comfortable in, Tomazin suggests trying something in a pink or purple hue. Play around with different combinations before your big night out—mixing a beautiful purple or pink top with a simple black skirt or a skinny black pant—to find the one that makes you feel beautiful.
  6. Shake things up a bit. Looking great and feeling special on Valentine's Day doesn't have to bust your budget. There are plenty of tricks to make your look extra special that can be done without spending a dime. For example, Tomazin says that styling your hair in soft curls or a sleek up-do creates a romantic look and costs you no more than a little extra time! Try a daring new shade of nail polish or a darker eye shadow to create a sexy, smoky look for your eye. Consider a trip to your favorite department store to visit a makeup artist—a service most stores offer for free! The trick is to just do something different. No matter what you do, getting out of your everyday routine will make you feel extra special, and that's all that matters!

"Looking great on Valentine's Day all comes down to how you feel," concludes Tomazin. "If you feel confident, relaxed, and happy, it will show—no matter what your outfit looks like. Take some time out of your busy schedule to pamper yourself when Valentine's Day rolls around this year. Your positive vibe and sexy attitude will be contagious. It just may be the best gift you give yourself, and your partner, this year."