What to wear – and where – this February and March

With some key events looming on the social and sporting calendars, here’s our guide on how to make the most of them and always put your best foot forward.

Valentine’s Day

February 14

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday. Should you fall into the trap of forgetting to post your Valentine’s Card on the Friday, redeem yourself by turning up on the doorstep with a romantic treat either in hand or in mind.

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Option 1 – arrive with champagne, chocolates (we’re talking fine truffles, not Quality Street) and a bouquet big enough to hide behind (it doesn’t have to be the obvious red roses btw).

Option 2 – do all the above but also offer to cook breakfast/lunch/dinner (Scottish smoked salmon and scrambled eggs never fail).

Option 3 – can’t cook? Then, hopefully, you secured a table at your partner’s favourite restaurant weeks ago??

Option 4 – can’t cook and forgot to make a reservation? Ooops. Hastily get together a picnic, warm blanket and drive off to the seaside or deep into the countryside.

Whichever option you go for, the trick is to look dapper and in your Sunday best – as if you were always perfectly prepared and ready. Alternatively, it’s a leap year so maybe your other half will surprise you!

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The Oscars

February 28

At this time of year, the focus is very much on nailing that red carpet look. Even if you’re not Hollywood bound for the 88th Academy Awards, it’s a good time to dig out your smartest pair of shoes and see if they’ve turned into the saddest. Treat yourself to a new shiny black pair so that, when you’ve a formal occasion looming, you’ll look like a winner and never a loser.

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Although we always associate dinner jackets with the Academy Awards, the very first one in 1929 was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks in cream trousers and a double breasted blazer. These days, almost anything goes but there’s a fine line between getting it right and getting it wrong.

A white bow tie with a black tux just looks odd. As does a neck tie – even though a skinny one has been a top hit with young, up and coming stars. A white jacket could have you mistaken for a waiter – steer clear! Robert Downey Jr once not only wore a blue bow tie but also sneakers. Please – no, no, NO.

For a difference with elegance, consider a satin shawl collar or add a traditional waistcoat. Midnight blue has become a popular choice for tuexdos over the years and a velvet dinner jacket is a perfect way to add stand-out flare.

Above all, great tailoring and a great fit are key. Just keep everything simple, classic and groomed (face and shoes).

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Six Nations 

February 6 – March 19

Will the Six Nations see three wins in a row for Ireland? Could Wales manage a fourth title, led by coach Warren Gatland? Can Scotland build on their World Cup performances? And how will England fare under new coach Eddie Jones?

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Lots of questions and plenty of speculations…but one thing you needn’t wonder about is the most suitable footwear to sport whether at one of the games or watching at your club or down the pub.

Boots are probably your best bet if heading off to the Millennium Stadium, Twickenham or Murrayfield, while leather sneakers tick the pub box. But don’t forget to check out slightly warmer weather options if you’re lucky enough to have tickets for Rome.

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Easter weekend

March 25 – 28

Two days off work equals a perfect break abroad, with a choice of packing light summer loafers, city smart brogues or sturdy leather boots.

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Looking for sun? The Mediterranean will offer you the chance of some early summer rays. Head south to Naples or a Greek Island. Easter marks the end of the peak season in the Caribbean so the weather is fine yet prices are dropping.

Looking for a traditional Easter experience? Visit Prague with its hundreds of stalls in the Easter market. Or take in an Easter procession such as the robed and masked penitents and decorated floats with holy statues in Seville during Semana Santa. Trapani in Sicily holds an equally dramatic event in which locals carry life-size sculptures dating back to the 17th century.

Looking for snow? It’s not too late to catch some skiing but you’ll need to pick a high altitude resort, ideally with a glacier (such as Val Thorens that confidently offers a snow guarantee), or somewhere northerly such as Finland or Norway. Or, go further afield to Canada and the USA for big snowfalls and bright blue skies.

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The Boat Race

March 27

A boat race on a fine spring day calls for nothing less than….boat shoes, of course!

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If you’re planning to catch some Oxford v Cambridge sporting action, then pick your spot carefully along the four-and-a-quarter mile course from Putney to Mortlake.

The women’s boat race will start at 4.50pm, with the men’s race an hour later. Although the action is over in around 17 minutes, you can make a whole afternoon of it at the pub beforehand. There are several fine watering holes along the route: The Old Ship at Ravenscourt Park, which is holding a boat race festival with live music, The Black Lion at Fulham, which is offering a bookable sunday roast, or else grab a window seat for a late lunch/early supper at The Depot Riverside Brasserie in Mortlake to see the finish in style.

Feel like braving it? The towpath along Putney embankment is popular with excellent views of the race but wrap up warm as you’ll need to nab your viewing position early.

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