There was once a time—long, long ago—when I half-way listened to what they’d say. They’d say, “Orange is the ‘it’ color for Spring,” and so I’d go through my drawers, hoping to find at least one stitch of the not-so-flattering hue to wear throughout the season. They’d say, “Don’t over accessorize,” so I’d feel a bit rebellious by stacking my twelve different bangles up one arm, topped with a big ‘ol cocktail ring on a finger of the same hand. They’d say, “Skirts are not appropriate in the wintertime,” so I’d leave the house in December with a little bit of leg showing, fully prepared for the silly “You’re making me cold” remarks. As if my legs being out could really make another human being feel less warm. Pshhh.

The fact of the matter is—fashion is meant to be fun! An art form open to one’s own interpretation and whim. And as far as I’m concerned—*cues Kanye*—“They can’t tell me nothing!” Hahaha!

But really, though. There will always be trends, rules, and regulations regarding what we should and should not wear. Not so much because people truly want to hinder our freedom to do as we please, but more so because it allows them to mold our spending habits accordingly. Whatever the case may be, I urge you to challenge what “they” say. For in fashion, some rules were just meant to be broken!

Don’t Wear White After Labor Day
This is probably the most common fashion faux-pas that we are reminded of. “Uh-oh! Labor Day is coming. Gotta get rid of all my white garments.” But, in actuality, the no-white rule applies more so to the fabric being worn. Sure, you won’t have a need for crisp white linen pants or canvas espadrilles after summer comes to an end. But you can swap these out for bulkier fabrics in a clean white color. A chunky white knit in the dead of winter works perfectly when paired with charcoal gray or even dark denim. And a white button-down shirt is a wardrobe staple year-round, so don’t be fooled.

Don’t Mix Metals
Hello, why not?! These days, you’re more likely to find statement accessories that are made with several different metals. A brushed silver cuff with gold accents. Bronze studded earrings with silver trim. I’m all for making this work. And in case you were still hesitant, let us not forget about the esteemed jewelry brands that are infamous for metal-mixing; David Yurman, anyone? I’ll take one of everything, please.

Don’t Wear Bags and Shoes That Don’t Match
This is one of those so-called rules that, to me, seems more of a fashion “don’t” when followed. Matching your shoes to your bag (and God forbid you set it off with the matching belt) reeks of over doing it—way too much sameness and order. Throw a bright clutch with black pumps. Or a brown monogram bag with red flats. Let go, and allow things to work in an unconventional way!

Don’t Mix Prints
As tricky as this one can be, mixing prints can be so fun and youthful when executed properly. Polka dots, stripes, geometrics, and florals can, in fact, work together for the greater good. To successfully achieve this look, I’d recommend picking one bolder print, and keeping the other very small and subtle. Balance them out with a solid-colored piece (jacket, pants, bag, etc.) that will make it all flow seamlessly without being too busy.

Don’t Wear Embellishments During the Daytime
Who says that you have to save the glitz and glam for after 5? As far as I’m concerned, sequins, beading, and bling deserve a little daytime action, too. Dress up a simple white shirt and jeans with a multi-colored beaded cardigan. Or set off a simple LBD with sparkling pumps. Granted, you don’t want to take on the nickname “Disco Ball” in the office, but “Plain Jane” is just as bad. Spice it up, just a bit.

Don’t Mix Neutrals
This rule is usually used in reference to combining either black and brown, or navy and black—the darker neutrals. And I understand how it can potentially result in a very drab, sullen look. But, again, when the right garments and fits are chosen, any of these colors can work well together. A navy blazer accompanied by a skintight black pencil skirt—how chic?!

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What other fashion rules do think were meant to be broken?

– Chelsea Smith

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  • Thanks for clarifying that these “fashion rules” aren’t hard and fast rules. I get tired of correcting people who emphatically stick to it without knowing why.

  • Rayna

    I often break these rules, typically without thinking much of it. I agree with the over matching being a fashion don’t. Personally, I cringe when I see someone who matched everything. It’s about complimenting, not matching.