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Our style columnist Esther Walker makes the case for Valentine’s Day, and reveals her ultimate date-night outfits


I love Valentine’s Day, OK? And I reject all your dismissals of it, I just do. Your arguments are simply not valid. You will say, “But Esther, it’s just commercialism.” Or, “But Esther, we ought to show our love for each other all year round, not only on this arbitrary day.” And, “But Esther, Valentine’s Day is so terrible if you are single.”

In response I will say this: it’s not just commercialism. Yes, all shops everywhere like to take Valentine’s

Day seriously – but this is not a crime! We live in a free market (or we do for the moment, anyway).

Yes, I agree that we ought to show our love for each other every day of the year and not only on this day – but the fact is we don’t. And, moreover, what if you’re not very good at expressing affection?

What if you are one of those people who sits across from their partner at the breakfast table thinking “I really love you” but somehow the words

never quite make it out of your mouth and into the ear of your beloved?

I am one of those people. I love my husband so much. He’s the best. Do I tell him? Erm, I just sort of forget to and assume that he can interpret my love from the thoughtful things I do like finding his phone and bringing him cups of tea.

This makes me sound like a golden retriever and I’m OK with that. Pets can’t verbalise their love either, so

they have to express themselves with gifts of old slippers and dead birds.

But then Valentine’s Day comes along and it’s sort of a free pass. I can buy a card and a mug and a teddy bear holding a plastic heart saying ‘I wuv you’ and I can remember not to forget to say it. The pressure is somehow off, because it’s on. Does that make sense? Don’t answer that.

[Continued below]


You can’t go wrong
with an elegant LBD
Keep it classic with
heart drop earrings
Our court shoes feature
ultra-comfy soles
If in doubt, a red lip
brightens every look


“Left to my own devices I would wear a cropped cardigan and some natty colourful shoes”


If only I had space and time to tell you about all the boyfriends I had in the past who refused to acknowledge Valentine’s Day on principle. I wasn’t asking for a proposal; I was just asking for some flowers. Or a card. Or a mug. Not even a teddy bear.

I knew that I wanted to marry my husband when, after my complaining that no one ever did anything for me for Valentine’s Day, he sent a bunch of flowers to my office that was so huge they made it hard for me to get to my keyboard. And everyone complained about them for the three weeks that I kept them on my desk.

Which leads me to the objection to Valentine’s Day on the grounds of gross unfairness to those not in a relationship. Listen closely: I have had more awful, lonely Valentine’s Days that you can imagine – rivalled only by my awful New Year’s Eves. I’m talking years spent looking out of the window at the rain while my ex cavorted with his new girlfriend, or years when I wasn’t even able to

muster up a crush on a movie star, let alone someone in real life.

And let me tell you, all that pain is entirely worth it when you eventually find the person who will send you the flipping flowers. So, this Valentine’s Day you will not find me at home eating scrambled eggs and doing the crossword. I will be out! With my husband!

Left to my own devices, I would wear a cropped cardigan and some natty colourful shoes. I am so into cute cropped cardigans at the moment: they make me feel very French despite being about as French as the Houses of Parliament.

But as a gracious deferral to my husband I will in fact be in a little black dress and some heels – as that is the only sort of outfit he understands – arriving at a restaurant as if it’s 10 years ago and I’m about to have dinner with the first guy who actually gets it. I may even bring the balloons with me.



Ooh la la – a stylish cropped cardi
Denim for a date? We say yes
A colour-pop bag for all your essentials
Dress up denim with flame-coloured heels

Photographer: Jonty Davies / Stylist: Chloe Forde / Make-up: Karina Constantine
Hair stylist: Bjorn Krischker / Manicurist: Emma Welsh

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