Smashing Fashion Rules

EMMA BOWELL takes a look at some of the most common rules of fashion and breaks them mercilessly.

fashion rules how to style

To follow or not to follow? That is the question when it comes to the rules of fashion. An allegiance of dedicated fashion editors and magazines constantly preaches truths about what goes with what, condemning those unfortunate enough to get it wrong. But this season, people are rebelling and breaking the rules to find that, shock horror, they still manage to look just as stylish when they ignore these so-called maxims. Here’s a look at some of the most common rules of fashion and how to smash them, without destroying your sense of style.

1. Blue and Green Should Never be Seen.

The Rule: Ah yes. Clashing colours. There are entire lists devoted to what colours look best with each other and which ones, under pain of death, should be avoided. I say, if you want to clash, just do it. Whilst there are some colours that I just wouldn’t do (the aforementioned blue and green brings back some traumatic school uniform related memories for me), some clashes look fantastic.
Break It: Try out pale yellow and bright pink if you’re trying to connect to your inner eighties persona. Or, if you’re feeling even more rebellious, why not try bright pink and red? Yes, they’re very similar and you might want to be a bit subtle about it but red peep-toes with bright pink nail polish can look great.

2. Clashing Prints makes you look like Great Aunt Alice’s Sitting Room.

The Rule: This debate rears its ugly head every time prints make a comeback on the catwalk. Whilst it is true that too many prints can leave you looking like you’ve worn your granny’s curtains, there are some ways to break this rule and still look phenomenal.

Break It: Stick to prints of a similar size (so no huge polka dots next to a delicate floral pattern) and try to stick to ones of a similar colour. There is something beautiful about a black and white printed blouse teamed with a (different) black and white printed skirt. Even if you don’t want to do monochrome, colours that are similar will keep the clashing prints more subtle, more sophisticated and above all, more stylish.

3. Pump Up the Volume.

The Rule: Voluminous clothing is a nightmare. Worn right, it can look both elegant and edgy, both comfortable and smart but get it wrong, and all you will look like is a giant sack. Not really the look you’re aiming for. Volume really suits some types of clothes over others so be a bit choosy about what you decide to wear.

Break It: The key to volume is to balance it out with the rest of your clothes. Wear a loose voluminous shirt with a pair of cigarette pants for maximum impact, or reverse the trend by wearing a slim-fitting shirt with a circle skirt. One final word – avoid the volume dress at all costs. Unless you really do like the sack look, that is.

4. Horizontal Stripes are the Devil.

The Rule: Horizontal stripes are a difficult one. Whilst they are a key feature on classic pieces such as Breton tops (which always look fabulous on the hanger), they have the power to distort even the best body shape. However, there are still ways to get that Parisian chic look without looking ridiculous.

Break It: Look for stripes that aren’t hugely obvious; this sounds strange but try to pick out a top with very thin stripes alternated with chunky ones. This keeps the look more classic and stops the stripes from being too obvious so there is no risk of looking like you have added a few inches to your waistline.

5. Bags and Shoes Must Match.

The Rule: The idea that your shoes and bag must match in colour is now thought to be a bit outdated but a large number of people still keep it as a style rule. There are some occasions when you may want to co-ordinate bag to shoe in order to look smart and ‘pulled-together’ (Two words: Job Interview) but for other times, it is perfectly acceptable to shake it up.

Break It: Even if you want your shoes and bags to match in colour, why not try experimenting with texture? Patent heels look great teamed with a suede clutch of the same colour. You could also try using a multi-coloured bag, and wearing shoes that pick out just one colour. This adds a brilliant effect to a boring outfit.

Now you have no reason to feel afraid of the rules of fashion. Be bold – don’t let the designers dictate what you have to wear. Mix it up and revel in the results.