By elizabethcarmona2014
Updated February 09, 2015 05:00 PM

Welcome Allison McGevna, 31, of Inside Allie’s World, who is joining us as our resident curvy-girl style blogger. She was featured in the December/January issue of PEOPLE StyleWatch and contributes her thoughts on finding the perfect outfit to the site each week. This week, she gives us insight on choosing a Valentine’s Day look that’s sexy, but not over-the-top. (And if her items are sold out, we’ve linked to similar styles below — happy shopping!)

Allison McGevna dressing tips

Courtesy Allison McGevna

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I chose this dress for a flattering date night look (it’s also perfect for a night out with the girls!). It’s sexy without being showy, which is key. I was first drawn to the dress because of the cutout. As a curvy girl, cutouts have always scared me. Oftentimes, they hit me at a place where you can see my shapewear (when I’m wearing a body-con silhouette, I ALWAYS wear shapewear). But this dress is different. The designer is a former plus size model and she really understands how a plus woman’s body works. She designed this dress so that you can wear shapeweaar and a bra underneath, and neither of them shows. The cutout is also small, so, again, sexy without feeling over-the-top. The moment I put it on, I was sold. The color is gorgeous and feels polished. And the dress is made from a nice, thick stretch velvet. Because the material is so thick, it basically acts as an extra layer of shapewear!

The longer length of this dress is another feature I love. When I wear a body-con dress or skirt, I go for silhouettes that hit below my knee because I know the material is going to ride up my hips a bit. The longer length provides me with sort of a cushion, so if the dress rides up, it still won’t show anything I don’t want people to see. When it comes to more fitted styles, a higher neck and longer hem are also nice for balancing the silhouette. When you’re wearing a body-con anything, you don’t want to make it overly-showy by choosing a miniskirt style or something low cut. As I’ve said before, it’s easier for plus girls to look supersexy, so when you’re going out, always think about balance.

My blazer is from H&M (similar style). It has a menswear cut so it’s oversized and relaxed, which I love. Again, it balances the form-fitting dress. I got it in the straight-size section at H&M — because of the oversized fit, I was able to get away with wearing a size 12. I think some plus size women are scared to shop in straight size stores, which I totally understand. It can be stressful. My advice: get to know your body, what works for you and what doesn’t. Once you know that, I guarantee you’ll be able to find some gems in places you would have never thought to look before. Looking in straight size stores for certain things really opens up a whole new world.

My clutch is vintage — I bought it at a thrift store for about three dollars. I absolutely love thrifting for clothes and accessories. Great mainstream plus size stores are few and far between, so it’s not unrealistic to see another plus girl walking down the street wearing the same outfit you are. Thrift shopping is a great way to guarantee I won’t be wearing the same pieces as everybody else. You have to be patient, but there are some great pieces for plus girls out there. One of my favorite items to shop for is 1970’s house dresses. It seems like they were cut for curvier women. The 1960’s and 1970’s were definitely a time when the norm was for women to be curvier. I always have great luck at the Salvation Army in Jersey City and Antoinette in Brooklyn. Find out where your local vintage shops are and carve out an afternoon to hunt for great buys! Lastly, my Steve Madden shoes are some of my faves. Because this dress is midi-length, I chose super tall almond-toe heels to give my body a lengthened look. I kept the jewels minimal — just a pair of Nine West earrings (similar style). With a dress like this, you don’t need much else!

What’s your fave going-out look? How do you style it? Sound off below!