25 Fashion Rules You Should Be Breaking
Some rules were meant to be broken, especially when it comes to personal style.
Pastels are only for the spring
Sure, the pastel palette does lend itself to the spring season, thanks to the like-colored flowers blooming everywhere, but they can also be worn year-round, according to Elizabeth Jones, of Elizabeth Jones Personal Styling. “You see ballet pink, lilac, and mint green popping up more than just at Easter—sometimes even in home decor,” she says. “You can wear these light precious colors even in the fall, which is why more brands are carrying them all year long.”
You should always dress for your age
While Nicole Russo, stylist and founder of Let’s Get You, never encourages mature women to dress like college students, she feels very strongly that no person for that matter should face ageism when it comes to how they choose to dress. “Anyone who tells you that women of a certain age can’t wear certain things probably isn’t comfortable with how they are aging,” she says. Fashionistas of all ages just need to be sure to avoid these 50 things that are making you look older.
Gold and silver jewelry don’t match
While bold jewelry in these colors might clash, more subtle pieces in gold and silver actually go quite well together. “That crystal or diamond that may be on your gold bracelet brings out the silver in your ring making everything match,” says Jones. “And you can throw some rose gold in as a perfect in-between.”
You have to have a certain body type to wear certain clothes
Confidence is key when it comes to how you dress, so if you’re not comfortable in a certain piece of clothing, you shouldn’t wear it. “Our body shapes are unique and learning how to dress them confidently is one key to an excellent personal style,” says Russo. “You have to have an understanding of what works for you and what you feel great in.” In other words, if you feel good in something, you should wear it—and rock it! Here are science-backed tricks for boosting your self-confidence.
Exposed collarbones and shoulders are unprofessional
Following your company’s dress code is important, but most don’t dictate that you dress like someone from the colonial days. “Experimenting with new styles at work extends the life of our investments and helps break new ground in the workplace,” says Russo. Just steer clear of these 16 things your boss wishes you would stop wearing to work.
Being a mom means you have to dress like one
Stylists agree that, while having children might change how you choose to dress, it doesn’t have to. If you want to keep some of the wardrobe staples you rocked in your pre-mom days, by all means, you should. “You created life, you didn’t lose yours!” says Russo. “While having children brings more practicality into your wardrobe, you don’t lose the right to be sexy, confident, and well-dressed because someone calls you ‘Mom.'”
Don’t shop the men’s department
Women and men shouldn’t limit themselves to the department associated with their gender. “If you’re a woman, shopping the men’s department will give you so many more options—it’s one of my favorite style secrets,” says Jenny Applegate, a Chicago-based stylist. “Mixing men’s hats, jewelry, bags, and clothing in with feminine pieces creates fun looks.”
Brown and black do not match
Dark colors can go together—and even complement each other, according to Jones. And black and brown are certainly no exception. “You can wear your brown trench coat with your black jeans or your black jeans with your brown boots,” she says. “You may even pair your brown scarf with your black dress.” These are more simple fashion upgrades will make your outfit look expensive.
Never wear socks with sandals
Not only is wearing socks with sandals sometimes more convenient (i.e. when it’s chilly out!), but it doesn’t always look silly either. “Socks can actually make your look, especially when they feature fun prints,” says Jones.
You should never wear sunglasses at night
They might not be the most practical evening accessory, but as long as you can see with them on, stylist and designer Mickey Freeman believes you can totally wear sunglasses at night. “Sometimes shades can complement your whole ensemble, highlight your cheekbones, and add a bit of mystique,” he says. “Sunglasses can also act an essential add on to any look for those who do not feel like being bothered.” These are the best sunglasses for your face shape.
Every item of clothing should match
The concept of matching every single piece of clothing that you’re wearing is outdated, according to Ali Levine, celebrity stylist, fashion expert, and TV personality. “If you want to wear maroon pants with a green shirt go for it, but you don’t need to wear maroon or green shoes to match it!” she says. “Contrast is key and the over-matching is honestly too much!”
Mixing prints is a major no-no
Sometimes the best looks come from mixing stripes with polka dots or florals. “You can grab that graphic tee and put on a cheetah-print jacket and some bright, geometric pants and actually look amazing,” says Jones. “These mixed prints complement each other so well as soon as they are paired.”
Don’t wear clothes you’re swimming in
Baggy clothes are very in, especially for men, notes Levine. “An oversized tee, cool sweatshirt, or oversized blazer done right looks fresh,” she says. “As long as you can fit in it and you love it, then wear what speaks to you.” Score more fashion secrets personal stylists won’t tell you for free.
Take off one accessory before leaving the house
“Of course, I admire Coco Chanel, but I find her advice, ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,’ didn’t stand the test of time,” Veronica Black, fashion director at DAILYLOOK. “Even as a minimalist, I’m known to rock a few layers of dainty gold necklaces and rings at the same time.” She recommends stacking on the bangles, wearing your biggest pair of earrings, layering those necklaces, and filling up your fingers with all the bits and bobbles your heart desires. “Life is too short to edit your shine!”
Kitten heels make you look older
Kitten heels have made a major comeback—and they’re not exclusive to any age range, according to Freeman. “Paired with skinny jeans, a vintage tee, and Jackie O-style sunglasses, kitten heels are the perfect way to add a sense of demure without compromising your cool,” he says. Learn Kate Middleton’s secret to wearing heels all day.
Sneakers are only for the gym
In modern society, sneakers are a fashion statement in their own right. “This type of shoe is now an everyday essential in your wardrobe,” says Jones. Find out what your shoes say about your personality.
Silk scarves should be saved for special occasions
In fact, unless that occasion is your wedding, there’s no reason to hold back wearing something you love because you don’t think the day calls for it. “Everyday is an occasion, so enjoy and wear the pieces you have, silk scarves included,” says Applegate. “They’re a perfect way to elevate any look, whether you’re wearing it as a headband, around your neck, as a belt, tied around your wrist, or on a bag.” Just watch out for these 11 ways your clothes could be killing you.
You can’t wear volume on the top and the bottom
With today’s shape-shifting fashions, balancing your top and bottoms according to volume is an old school standard, according to Russo. Instead, she recommends pairing a boxy top with a wide-leg culotte or maxi skirt that enhances your waist, but still explores the oversized trend. Only women will understand these 15 annoying fashion problems.
Denim on denim doesn’t go
In the latest fashion trends, this is not true, according to Jones. “Everyone is pairing their denim jeans, from pants to shorts, with a denim jacket,” she says. “It is not just a cowboy look or a Candian tuxedo anymore—you can mix and match your light wash and dark wash denim together and for a cute look.”
Wide-leg pants require a high heel
While it’s true that wide-leg pants might make you appear shorter, you most certainly do not have to wear them with heels. In fact, Russo believes they look exceptionally chic with flats and sneakers. “Hem them to lay as close to the ground as possible and balance the proportion with a shorter top to show off your waist,” she says.
Price doesn’t matter
In today’s era of throw-away fashion, price matters more than ever, explains Russo. Instead of buying multiple shoddy, fast-fashion pieces, she recommends opting for fewer, higher-quality styles that you’ll adore for years. Start by splurging on these classic dresses every woman should own.
Sequins are for evenings only
Sequins make a statement, but should by no means be reserved for evening-only entertainment. In fact, Freeman believes that sequins are the perfect way to make a day just a bit more festive.
Your belt and shoes should match
When it comes to wearing a belt, you don’t always have to consider whether or not they match well with your shoes. In fact, Applegate thinks that mixing accessories makes for a fun way to create an effortlessly chic outfit. “Often that over-matching look can feel antiquated and not as fresh,” she says.
Denim is for Casual Fridays only
Of course, there are appropriate times for power suits, but denim is making its way into the working force one chic pair of skinny jeans at a time, Black says. “I’m a firm believer that tailoring, cut, and wash will make any pair of jeans look polished. And when a dark wash skinny jean is paired with a well-fitted blazer, well, you can’t go wrong.”
If you haven’t worn something in 6 months, get rid of it
Keeping clothing that you love should not be something you’re ashamed of—no matter how long it’s been in your closet. However, if something has irreparable wear, fits terribly, makes you feel bad about yourself, or you haven’t worn it in years (and can’t imagine you ever will), Russo recommends tossing it out—then organize your closet, once and for all.