When I was interning at a big fashion magazine, I showed up to work on the first day thinking I looked edgy. It didn’t take long for me to be schooled on what’s edgy — and what’s a definite no-no. A “Fashion Law”, if you will.
Years later I’m still left wondering: Do the industry’s so-called Fashion Laws still apply? This set of fashion commandments is an ever-changing code that governs the sense of style for many. The fashion-conscious among us grew up with these rules and obeyed them like a teacher with a multiple personality disorder. Let’s take a look at six fashion laws that we’ve commonly encountered and assess how they hold up in today’s climate.
Jewelry + Accessories: To match or not to match? That is the question!
This is one of the older rules in the book that jewelry designers themselves have begun to ignore. Sure, not mixing the elements gives a more conventional look, but in an industry as dynamic as fashion, it’s all about keeping up with the times. With the careful selection of pieces, you can always mix metals, gems, leather, diamonds, or rubber with other pieces. It’s pulling the look together through strategic planning that makes the combo work.
Stockings: Same hue as shoe? Should blend with skin?
Hello, fishnets! Hello, colored tights? Trends come and go and even resurrect a few years or decades later. While the funky and daring look many tights now take on make this rule immaterial, propriety should always be taken into account in certain venues. Know when to take a risk, but also be keen in knowing what effect you are trying to achieve by wearing a shocking-colored stocking when going to, say, a boardroom meeting. When in doubt, think sheer, not queer. Trying to look funky? Fishnets and colorful tights, can add a excitement to any outfit.
Suit: Menswear, do you dare?
This is one rule that will never expire. Most professional settings still endorse the suit; and while the rules are roomy in terms of what bottom to pair with that jacket, a suit is and always will be a great investment. Pants add a more modern feel to the traditional suit, but designers have attempted to update skirts with interesting detailing. Moderately priced suits are available from good designers (hello, Ann Taylor), or go for the luxury with a timeless piece from Armani. Pair it with a great button down shirt (white is always a safe bet) to create that clean silhouette.
Makeup: Less is more?
I grew up in the 80s when all girls wore heavy eyeliner to school. Then the 90s brought in the trend that the most important makeup item a girl should have is her matte lipstick. Now, we see celebrities come out and attend events with a bare (or seemingly bare) face. Whatever the makeup trends are, the basics still remain. Daytime makeup is still light and neutral whereas nighttime is when you can totally glam it out with the wildest colors you wish; however, you can add a bit of playfulness within the boundaries of this basic rule: for daywear, play up either your eyes or mouth, and in the evening feel free to do both.
White: Before Labor Day it must stay?
The last few years has seen the advent of winter white. The trend comes from Italy, which rarely has to vie with the weather that most in North America must deal with. Nonetheless, North Americans have taken to the trend like bees to honey, essentially debunking the rule in the midst, right? Not necessarily so. It still applies to shoes and bags (but really, how many of us wear white pumps anyway) and, as if you need to be told, keep that white linen in the closet until the warmer weather hits. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t embrace a pair of white wool pants and a white wool coat. Both are great winter items, but just remember, you wouldn’t want to turn those winter whites into winter blacks.
Belts: Fattening or Flattering?
A belts is the ultimate accessory; therefore, this is the most outdated rule. If belt loops are present, by all means wear a belt! Low slung jeans and naval bearing tops have made belt loops more visible, yet belts are still conspicuously absent. They pull an outfit together, and you can have fun with your them. Try wearing one over a dress or long top as well.
What fashion ultimately boils down to is personal style, and sometimes breaking the rules is what it takes to create that signature look. The most important rule to keep in mind–and one that will never expire– is to be comfortable with what you wear. Personality should never be compromised for trends.