For those among us with significant others of the masculine variety, Valentine's Day provides the opportunity to wiggle a bit of style on our man-toy's bod. Stylish dude duds are often neglected in sartorial spreads, so we're here to spice things up. Some lads and ladies skip gift-giving for a date and dinner. Insert yawn here. Here's a two-birds-with-one-stone solution: Romantic Date and Style De Jour.
Style: The Hundreds Phoenix Matte Black Sunglasses from Black Sheep
Combine it with: North Carolina state road map
Date: Sate your wanderlust. Pick one of N.C.'s National Forests (the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie, and Croatan) and frolic. Be bums and hit the sand at Kure, Sunset or Carolina Beach.
Bonus Homemade Craft: The perfect mixed CD. (Not just Adele's music.) Chances are you've made one for him already, so make this one road-worthy. It's cliché, but if you can't be mushy and cliché at Valentine's, when can you be? Own it and rock it.========================================
Style: Secondhand fitted blazer from Buffalo Exchange
Combine it with: NoDa nightlife
Date: Gallery Crawl! A printable map of hot spots is available at Noda.org, but best just to see where the night takes you. Promptly steal said blazer from him when cold.
Bonus Homemade Craft: One deck of cards and a Sharpie. Turn each card into a love note; write a phrase, draw a weird smiley face, add a song lyric. Anything that connects you and your sweetie, in 52 examples or reasons for your gushy love. Take the deck to a cozy table at Amelie's French Bakery and play a round of (what else?) Hearts.========================================
Style: Vintage '50s button-up shirt from your favorite Goodwill location
Combine it with: Strike City at EpiCentre
Date: Bowling for two. Get competitive before you start petting. Perfect for those in the early stages of flirting; if the dude turns out to be a dullard, escape him in the crowds and pick up a spare date.
Bonus Homemade Craft: Handmade card of bad bowling related puns. ("Keep your mind out of the gutter!" "Hope you don't strike out tonight!") Avoid the 3-pin split. Save that kink for the weekend.========================================
Style: Goorin Brothers French Quarter Fedora + Happy Socks from Revolution
Combine it with: Your living room floor. For dancing, you pervs.
Date: Jazz Night, Casa You. A little wine, a little music, and a little one-two-three. Have a dance party for two in your best dress and suit. Skip the club, and play your own mixes. No one will spill booze on you unless you want them to. Have him bring the wine; you provide the floor.
Bonus Homemade Craft: None. The best thing you can give him with this is the gift of no-take-backs. Do not steal this hat from him no matter how much you want to. And you do. You know you do.========================================
Style: Silk boxer shorts from any Big Box Store
Combine it with: Trip to the playground/park, a bag of Hershey Kisses and a pink carnation.
Date: Party like it's 1999 (or your appropriate year of choice) and make out like you're high school sweethearts. Push each other on the swings, pig out on chocolate, awkwardly hold hands, duck behind trees for a quick kiss before someone sees. High-fives if the boxers have cartoons on them. Nothing says tru luv like Homer Simpson's face staring at you from your beau's nether regions.
Bonus Homemade Craft: Handwritten love note on notebook paper, with your 5th period geometry homework assignment written at the top. Dot all the letter i's with hearts. Your love will last forever. (Or at least until summer break.)